Tag Archives: Marine Biology

Starfish Anus, Sea-Star Butt

During a hectic visit to the California Academy Of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, I took this picture of my sister petting a starfish –excuse me, a sea star. (The Steinhart Aquarium –the aquatic section of the Academy– exhibits a tide pool where animals are available for gentle handling.)  Only later in the day did I inform my sister that she had been fondling the sea-star’s anus.  She asked my why I hadn’t informed her at the time.  I suppose I just assumed everyone knows basic sea-star anatomy –that the anus is dorsally located, at the center of the disc. She wasn’t too perturbed. No harm done.  But a good reason not to forget the hand sanitizer.  And it does go to show that invertebrates are not given their due.

Just an afterthought, but I think Starfish Anus would be an excellent name for a rock band.

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I’ve Been Tagged… Now Release Me Back Into Suburbia

2nd Place

2nd Place

I’ve just received a shot across my bow from InformalSkepticism aka NaonTiotami. In other words, he’s tagged me. I’ve always known America and Australia would one day go to war. The Aussies are warlike by nature. Being constantly surrounded by strange and poisonous animals like the Duckbill Platypus makes them nervous and unpredictable. But as an American, I formally surrender. I’ll talk.

But first the tagging rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are six random things about me:

  1. I recently came 2nd in a pumpkin carving contest (picture above). And I’m still bitter about the loss.
  2. I think about fish, a lot. They’re the perfect creatures, and they’re superior to humans. When the fish overlord seizes control, I’ll be by his side, laughing an evil laugh. Fine, call me a traitor to my species.
  3. I originally studied film-making, but later shifted to marine biology, evolutionary biology, and science writing.
  4. For years I collected movie t-shirts, but I never wore any of them because I didn’t want to be a walking billboard. But I did sell them on eBay for some sweet profit.
  5. I like raspberry yogurt, but I hate raspberry jam. Scientists are baffled by the paradox.
  6. I’m a first generation, UK American, which means I like Weetabix and Apple Pie, just not together.

Now I must gather allies by tagging six others:

  1. The Science Pundit
  2. Tiny Frog
  3. The Digital Cuttlefish
  4. Chimaera Comtemplations
  5. The Flying Trilobite
  6. The Invisible Pink Unicorn

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Deepest Living Fish Found

If you occasionally peruse the New Scientist in book stores or on newsstands, or just enjoy a dose of easy-to-digest science, check out the magazine’s YouTube channel. My favorite of their latest videos is about the deepest living fish ever found. These little buggers, called Snailfish, show all the characteristics of a deep sea existence. For one, their tail musculature is greatly reduced, and their oversized pectoral fins provide most of the locomotion. Living in the deep, these fish don’t have to deal with strong wave action or fast currents. And it’s not surprising that their shallower-water cousins have more powerful tails, and a lot more body pigmentation.

God, the creator, must be a real lazy bastard. He basically took the same fish and pawned it off as two separate creations. I feel cheated.

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Filed under Biology, Evolution, Science

Fish Fingers In Fish Farming

Fish farming has often been touted as the solution to our fishery problems. Proponents say that we can grow our own fish and give wild fish populations a break. It sounds good on paper. But as usual, reality doesn’t match expectations. Fish, even caged ones, need to be fed. Carnivorous fish require fish meal (ground up fish) in their diets. And humans are not overly enthusiastic about herbivorous fish as a food source. Fish markets sell Tilapia, a species which can be grown on a diet of algae, but humans still have a major hankering for Wild Salmon and Sea Bass.

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Top 15 Visitor Complaints Received By The Kentucky Creation Museum

Creation Museum

Creation Museum

15. Intelligent Design video game didn’t count toward college credit as promised

14. Line for Richard Dawkins piñata too long

13. Kirk Cameron wouldn’t stop hugging me, even after my wife complained

12. Social-Darwinism lecture hit too close to home

11. Animatronic Einstein sounded identical to animatronic Fred Flintstone. Or was it the other way round?

10. Snack bar ran out of the Ken Ham & Cheese Sub. Had to order the Duane Gish Knish. It was stale.

9. Ray Comfort’s banana demonstration was inappropriate for children

8. Gift shop charged extra for framing creation science degree. Signed, Chuck Norris, PhD.

7. Price of admission didn’t include ride on “Skippy: The Friendly Dinosaur”

6. Sciency DNA exhibit made my brain hurt

5. Sciency Noah’s Ark exhibit made my brain hurt

4. Kent Hovind was seen standing between Adam & Eve statues

3. My child didn’t receive free “God Hates Evilutionists” t-shirt

2. Charles Darwin look-alike complained when I hit him

1. Jesus-shaped bathroom soap gave me a Jesus-shaped rash





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The Montauk Monster Eats Human Brains For Lunch

It looks like the mystery of the Montauk Monster is solved. It’s a decomposing raccoon with missing teeth and missing fur. But what’s fascinating about the story of the monster is that it inspired such imaginative stories and outrageous speculation.

What is it in our human minds that makes us choose the unknown over the known. Why do some of us reject reasonable explanations for fantastical ones? For example, the media and the public automatically assumed the creature washed up on the beach, that it had an aquatic origin, not a terrestrial one. Which one is more reasonable? It’s clearly a mammal. And raccoons do love the seashore and seafood.

And minds leaped to the conclusion that the Montauk Monster was a creature completely unknown to science. Why didn’t the same minds consider the possibility that the “creature” was just unknown to them, and not to science. Not all of us are experts on anatomy and the decay of animal remains. Why can’t we just admit ignorance, instead of grasping at straws?

When a reasonable explanation isn’t immediately available our minds seem to reach for the stars.

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Charles Darwin Accused Of Theft

It’s unsupported claim time. Roy Davies, an author, has written a book, The Darwin Conspiracy: Origins Of A Scientific Crime, claiming that Charles Darwin stole the work of naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace and presented it as his own. The “theft” supposedly occured when Wallace wrote to Darwin. Conspiracy by snail mail. A UK article explains:

[Davies] crucial evidence, he claims, is in pinpointing the exact dates that letters from Wallace to Darwin explaining his theories arrived at Darwin’s home, proving that the Welsh scientist developed them first.

When Darwin received “the” letter from Wallace, Darwin had already been researching his theories for 20 years. Darwin’s famous sketch from 1937 clearly shows that he understood that evolution was a branching tree and not a straight line. Wallace had extensive experience in the field, but his published work at the time was practically nill. Science requires evidence.

Both men presented their theories to the scientific Linnean Society of London, but Darwin’s manuscript was published the following year, and he has since been universally credited with the theory, while Wallace’s name has largely been forgotten.

Both their papers were presented for them at the Linnean Society. Wallace was in Malaysia at the time and Darwin was cloistered at home. The papers fell flat and no one gave them much notice. The reason was that big claims require even bigger evidence. The papers simply weren’t enough. So, Darwin spent the next year writing his book, On The Origin Of Species. If anything, Wallace’s letter spurred him on to compile his book. Both men independently discovered how evolution works. However, Darwin was the first to explain it properly with mounds and mounds of evidence.

To say that Darwin stole Wallace’s material is pure speculation and contrary to the overall facts. Writers love to create controversy where none exists, because it sells. And dead men can’t defend themselves. No doubt creationists will misuse this new book by Roy Davies for their own sleazy agenda.

www.TheDarwinReport.com

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