Lots o’ Links: Graduation and Moving Edition May 3-23 2014

Finally moved from my apartment in Tennessee to my temporary place in Colorado, with a quick stop in Michigan. Lots of driving, but I’ve successfully graduated!

Great explainer for the differences between similar animals.

Animal skulls are super diverse and very beautiful.

Biology is biased toward penises.

More from TwilightBeasts: Mr. Darwin’s lost sloth, The one with the sabretooth, The mouse-goat crocodile chimera, and Galloping across the steppes.

How to transport a rhino.

The real story of the jackalope.

The toilet sloth.

How cougars survived the Ice Age‘.

Whales v. dinosaurs: which ones were bigger?

Speaking of whales, dead ones are vital to science and for nature.

This should be obvious, but don’t pet strangers’ dogs.

How the birds survived.

Kiwis and elephant birds are closely related.

Another way to survive a mass extinction: get body armor and become marine.

Sorry Jurassic Park: that T. rex could probably see you really well.

We get too hyped about dinosaurs being the biggest.

Turtles are confusing: new evidence shows that they’re more similar to birds and crocodilians than to snakes and lizards.

The more snakes, the better.

However, Titanoboa was terrifying.

It might be time to rethink what it means to use tools: can fish use tools?

‘24 species of sharks that have killed fewer people than Jack Bauer on 24‘.

Why octopus arms don’t get tangled‘.

The case of the sleeping snail.

Insect pollinators are in trouble.

Have you ever seen an anemone eat a bird?

Thousands of years ago, a girl died in a cave and now she is helping science.

Whatever happened to Francis Crick?

You can thank dead horses for your morning shower.

What if we told kids the truth about sex?

Why humans recognize faces and constellations.

The science behind the 1 inch punch.

Your smartphone is covered with bacteria.

The discovery of element 117 has been confirmed!

See the Earth from space, live!

How to eavesdrop on aliens.

This Alaskan aurora is gorgeous.

Time-lapse of a supercell forming is scary, but cool.

California fires are unique and that’s bad.

May the Fourth was chock-full of Star Wars science. Here are 3: forcefields,  Han Solo and the Kessel Run, and Yoda’s advice was pretty terrible.

The important ring of Canadian engineers.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Should your robot car be able to sacrifice your life?

The Library of Congress wants to destroy your old cds (for science)‘.

Stop using products with microbeads.

The only water where the Coast Guard won’t save you.

Before Pantone: the original color book.

This is petrichor.

That’s okay, everyone draws eyes wrong.

This Week I Found: April 26-May 2 2014

Emily Graslie of the Brain Scoop started a new Tumblr: …is not a dinosaur.

Check out the new blog Twilight Beasts! They’ve had 3 blog posts this week: ‘The forgotten sabertooth‘, ‘The elk that wasn’t an elk‘, and ‘Clan of the cave hyena‘.

Too bad so many cool species went extinct.

Paleo parodies are the best: ‘Do You Want to Build a Phylogram?

How Sheep Became Livestock‘.

Chimpanzees make comfy beds.

Megaherbivores are essential for the environment.

Are lab mice afraid of men?

Mantises wearing 3D glasses.

Plants are tough and can communicate.

Humans grew 4 inches in 100 years. Why?

What do moose milk and ulcers have to do with each other?

3D printed casts are beautiful and practical.

How to dance in prosthetics.

March in Michigan was the coldest in the world.

Sweden should beware the eye of Sauron.

A cold star, right next door.


This Week I Found: April 19-25 2014

Do April showers bring May flowers?

Why do Hammerhead Sharks have hammer heads?

Meet to the sailfish: the fish with a deadly weapon on its face.

I always forget about amphisbaenians. (They’re reptiles.)

Sometimes turtles eat bones.

Because sloths spend much of their lives upside down, they ‘tape’ their internal organs to their ribs so they can breathe.

How do you study the evolution of animal intelligence?

The phases of the moon impact animal behavior.

Why humans and Neanderthals had different spines.

Icarus should have flown closer to the sun.

The story of Einstein’s brain.

How well do you understand IUDs?

Are you up to date with your vaccinations?

How to get rid of old prescriptions.

A simple explanation of poop transplants.

How to live forever“.

10 fun facts about the Earth.

7 things we learned between Earth Day 2013 and 2014.

How much warmer has your state gotten since the first Earth Day?

What was the world actually like in 4004 BCE? (Hint: that wasn’t the day the world was created.)

Shooting lasers at the moon during the lunar eclipse.

The US military is preparing for a ‘climate change war‘.

I add my thesis to lol my thesis.

Things I Found This Week: April 12-18 2014

La Brea’s megafauna attracts the visitors, but a fossil bee tells the real story of California’s past.

A grad student recreated a fossil plant and it’s beautiful.

And the debate continues: Commercialization of fossils.

Geological maps of Middle-Earth.

A map of the United States based on the nearest National Park.

A map of the places in the United States where no one lives.

Dying in a Living Room‘: the exotic pet trade is a dangerous thing.

How living walls save lions and cattle.

Another GoPro, this time a view from beneath a giraffe, and another inside a leopard’s mouth.

Stop calling hyenas disgusting.

Sleeping on the job: guard dogs mated with wolves.

Best job I’d never heard of: polar bear poop tracker.

Alligator snapping turtles turned out to be 3 different species, but either way they’re endangered.

What do golf courses have to do with salamanders?

Don’t worry, you don’t actually swallow spiders in your sleep!

The discovery of a new insect sex organ!

How ferns became masters of shadow.

The truth about the Gulf oil spill.

Human Races May Have Biological Meaning, But Races Mean Nothing About Humanity‘.

How is Captain America like a Wood Frog?

Your cell phone can hear if you’re depressed.

Brazil is a dangerous place for environmentalists.

Clouds blocked my view, but did you get to see the lunar eclipse ‘Blood Moon’?

Really, you should watch Cosmos.

What do we know about ‘The Waters of Mars‘?

Saturn may have spawned a new moon.

Like 2048, but with chemistry.

The eastern United States might have been cold, but for the rest of the world, this winter was warm.

Ontario, Canada has stopped using coal to generate electricity.

What happens to a Peep in a vacuum?

A statistical analysis of paintings by Bob Ross.

People Like Their Music Served Medium Funky‘.

The best gif. Ever.

Alex Dainis finally has another Bite Sci-zed video!

This Week I Found: April 6 – 11 2014

The Cambrian Carnival of Animals.

How much do you know about pterosaurs?

Some prehistoric animals look like aliens to us.

This is why you should document everything: a reunited, reconstructed slab of dinosaur footprints.

When Evolution’s Controversial, Declaring a State Fossil Can Get Tricky‘: the battle for South Carolina’s state fossil.

Hummingbirds have got it going on and diversity is booming.

The Tet Zoo manifesto: even the most ordinary creatures are amazing.

Drunken Prairie Voles Help Explain Alcohol’s Demons‘.

How one species of bat became seven.

White-nose syndrome has spread to bats in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Nature’s deformities can be beautiful and enlightening.

Shark fin imports may have dropped 90% in Hong Kong and China, but that’s not the whole story.

19 fish not to eat (and their sustainable alternatives).

The importance (and revival) of studying anatomy.

The Aunt who inspired the evolutionary theory that proved the value of aunts.

Confident memories can be completely wrong.

Do color blind people see more colors when they take hallucinogens?

Chemophobia can be more dangerous than chemicals.

Why it’s difficult to recycle cell phones.

10 reasons you should be watching Cosmos.

How the Cosmos remake came to be.

Star deaths are beautiful.

How to Turn a Pencil Into a Diamond‘.

What a computer background can show us about climate change.

Ditch plastic water bottles, 23 national parks have!

A geological map of Westeros.

Timelapses of glaciers show how they flow.

This Week I Found: March 15- April 5 2014

I know that this covers more than a week, but I still wanted to share all the wonderful things that I found with you!


Things look very different in infrared and ultraviolet light.

Everything you ever wanted to know about black holes.

The face of the Big Bang, and here is another explanation, and another.

The planet Mercury is shrinking.

In 4 billion years, the Milky Way is going to collide with the Andromeda galaxy and it’s going to look amazing!

Want to be alerted when the ISS is passing overhead? There’s a device for that!

2/3 of Americans can’t see the Milky Way: get thee to a National Park!

Halley’s Comet will return in 2061!

Pro-tip: don’t stick your hand (or your head) in the Large Hadron Collider.

Can The Doppler Effect Help You Beat The Speed Camera?

The origin of the lights that come before earthquakes.

How Tardigrades Saved the Enterprise‘.

The Chernobyl fallout wreaked havoc on everything, including the microbes.

The evolutionary arms race between crops and pests.

Know your parasites.

Parasites, cat poop, and human culture.

How Animals See the World.’

Things look much different under a microscope.

What is a mass extinction and why should we care?

A comic about better sports mascots.

This winter’s cold could be bad for bees.

Just be glad that fleas today aren’t as large as their prehistoric relatives!

It should go without saying, but don’t ride sharks.

Frogs in pants helped to explain how sex works. Really.

Climate change is shrinking salamanders.

Iguanas Have Oldest Reptilian Sex Chromosome.

Poor sea snakes: even though they live in water, they’re always thirsty and dehydrated.

Homing pythons‘ slithered their way home.

The mating calls of some male tortoises.

Hummingbird songs sound surprisingly complicated when you slow them down.

What do we really know about the evolution of giant birds?

Cute comic about the calls of western American birds, and another about bird evolution.

If there were sabercats, there must have been saberkittens.”

Big cats really like the smell of Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men.

Cat domestication was complicated.

A bear tried to eat a GoPro Camera.

Pronghorns are weird and wonderful.

We might be getting closer to being able to clone a mammoth, but should we?

Learn about the extinction of Ice Age megafauna from the Oxford Megafauna Conference!

The return of the right whale.

Final Resting Place: Burials, Graves, and Funerary Rites.’

Where do geologists go when they die?

Why don’t Americans like IUDs?

Ancient Moss Revived After Ages on Ice‘.

In the past 39 years, the Rocky Mountain wildflower season has lengthened by a month.

It’s important to test science’s ‘just-so’ stories.

3D printing is revolutionizing paleontology.

A tornado made of fire and tumbleweeds.

Lake Michigan is beautiful in the winter.

How to dye the Chicago River green.

Check out this interactive map of all the wind turbines in the US.

Maps of earthquakes nicely outlines tectonic plates.

Light pollution can be bad for your health.

Statistically speaking, toilet seat covers aren’t worth it.

Scientifically measured speed idioms.

Lots ‘o’ Links: Thesis and Spring Break Edition February 7-March 14 2014

Genetics, Disease and Medicine

The Unique Merger That Made You (and Ewe, and Yew)

Your Genetic Privacy is Probably a Lost Cause‘.

Syphilis: A Love Story‘.

Did the Vitruvian Man have a hernia?

Everything You Need To Know About Uterus Transplants‘.

Are Men the Weaker Sex?

Electric heart socks‘ can teach us about heart attacks and heart disease.

Prosthetic arm for drummers.

Some of my favorite bone diseases: porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia.

How do the blind dream?

Genetic engineering could save the American chestnut.

Bye-bye banana.


You wouldn’t want to mess with Dimetrodon.

Dinosaur pee. Enough said.

Science art: Neanderthals probably didn’t look all that different from us.

My favorite use of Google Glass: follow a paleontologist into the field!

Canada has another vast Cambrian fossil bed.

So many cool fossil are found during construction: here’s a new tusk!

Notes from the 10th North American Paleontological Convention.

An ancient whale graveyard.


Mary Anning’s Revenge wraps up 14 Days of Genitals (NSFW): the baculum, marsupial reproduction, porcupine mating, hippo mating rituals, water strider mating, newt orgies, otters can be pretty scary.

What’s in John’s Freezer 7 Days of Freezermas (NSFW): mystery CT slice, ostrich dissection, a bag of cats, trim your hooves, pig feet are weird, ostrich x-rays, mystery dissection.

Keep up with the Mammal March Madness on Twitter (#2014MMM) and on Storify: wild card battle, round 1 of social mammals, marine mammals, weird mammals, fossil mammals.

New cat species found in Nepal.

Rewriting the death of a giraffe. Another. And another.

Why Stinky Animals Live Alone‘.

How do porcupines mate?

Three more marsupials with suicidal sex habits found in Australia.

Did you know you can count whales from space?

There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written‘.

How do you euthanize a whale?

Gnus are cool.

Hummingbird nests are alive?

The first kakapo chick in three years recently hatched.

New crocodilian species discovered in Africa.

Some crocodilians can climb trees.

Orange, cave-dwelling crocodiles!

New World crocodiles.

Monitor lizards are some of my favorites.

The frog with the spiky, stab-y mustache.

Photosynthetic salamanders!

Octopus can change both color and texture.

Apparently spiders aren’t out to get me.

A new beetle species named after Darwin and David Sedaris might already be extinct.

Jewel wasps make zombie cockroaches.

10 Facts about Giant-Skipper butterflies.


More from the Rising Star Expedition.

What happens to bodies after they have been donated to science?

What neck rings do to the body.

‘Making a Baby the Not-At-All Old-Fashioned Way: I had a stranger’s DNA injected into me‘.

A facial reconstruction of the Crystal Skull vodka bottle.

The Olympics

The National Science Foundation has 7 videos on the science of the Olympics.

This is the first Winter Olympics to include women’s ski jumping because it was thought that it would damage their uterus and ovaries.

Luge is hard, but fun.

Curling ice is different from normal ice.

Making artificial snow in Sochi.

Weather and Climate

What is the polar vortex?

Watch the Great Lakes freeze over. Ice cover was as high as 92%!

Here’s a time lapse of the Great Lakes freezing over.

Global warming has not paused.

This winter has had terrible storms and they look amazing from space.

Thundersnow and snownadoes.

Except for in the eastern United States, January was one of the warmest on record.

The drought in California is a very big deal.

The heatwave in Australia was too much for flying foxes.

How do plants deal with climate change?

Forests are edging out mountain meadows.

Louisiana’s Coastline Is Disappearing Too Quickly for Mappers to Keep Up‘.

Climate change and Genghis Khan.


Mars is going to mess up our bodies.

Have you heard of International Dark Sky Parks?

A review of the new Cosmos. (It was pretty great)

Geeky grab-bag

I Use Music to Make Better Spider Silk‘.

The Terminator time signature.

Overwintering Monarch Butterflies from Bug Bytes.

This Week I Found: February 1-7 2014

Another story of new species hidden in plain sight: this time in a boulder at an elementary school.

Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted to record lows.

Animals Sitting on Capybaras.

Megafauna feel greater impacts of climate change than smaller species.

The chemistry of tea.

Were Neanderthals humans? It’s complicated.

Week One of ’14 Days of Genitals’ (probably NSFW): moose antlers, the politics of bee sex, snakes and lizards have 2 penises, how to castrate large mammals, vervet monkeys have blue testicles, the logistics of squid sex, and the female hyena pseudo-penis.

Have you ever seen Stan the T. rex? I’ve seen him in two different museums.

In honor of the Super Bowl: 14 facts about Seahawks and 14 facts about Broncos.

Footballs were never made of pigskin.

It feels worse to lose by a little than to lose by a lot.

On the physics of field goals.

Pathologies are my favorite part of osteology and here is a collection of pathological skulls from the California Academy of Sciences.

Yes, the snow that paralyzed Atlanta was real snow.

Greeks and the secret of Sherlock’s mind palace.

Who Was the Snuggliest Dinosaur of All?

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Przewalski’s Horses.

Before dinosaurs, some awesome synapsids ruled the world.

These fossil mammals are why I study paleontology.

The Great Lakes’ water level is dropping.

The physics of falling cats.

Some fossils are weird: Atopodentatus’ skull in profile looks like a tape dispenser.

Answers to Buzzfeed’s questions from creationists.

I bet you don’t know about the woman who discovered trisomy 21 (I know I didn’t).

It’s difficult to make prosthetics for the Winter Olympics.

How the Cold War Created Astrobiology‘.

Chickens with artificial tails walk like dinosaurs.

Science, Humanity…and Spock?

850,000 year old human prints found in Britain are the oldest ever found outside of Africa.

This Week I Found: January 18-31 2014

Woodpeckers think that emerald ash borers are delicious.

In a preview of ‘Your Inner Fish’, Holly Dunsworth and Neil Shubin talk about when human ancestors lost their tails.

Dear tv shows, consult osteologists before including skeletons.

Fungi sequester more carbon than leaf litter‘.

The story of Sue the T. rex is long and complicated.

Paleontologists are Speakers for the Dead and fossils are important.

A Vibrating Watch That Messes With Your Perception of Time‘.

Do we live in a simulation?

‘Why King Alfred’s remains are more exciting than Richard III’s‘.

Happy 8th birthday to the Tetrapod Zoology blog!

Britain might have a wild beaver for the first time in 500 years.

Moths may be the key to the reason why sloths come to the ground to poop.

Fewer trees, more syrup. Syrup production could become more commercial.

For people who bring smartphones into the wilderness: 14 apps you might enjoy.

Science Explains Why You Suck at Texting and Walking‘.

I learned about salps and the Taxonomy Fail Index.

Paleoclimatology offers a unique perspective on the drought in California.

Last week one of the closest supernovae in recent history was visible in the night sky, and it was discovered by students.

I like bones, and I especially enjoyed this post on segmental hypoplasia on the Veterinary Forensic Pathology blog.

And speaking of dental pathologies, see what pipe smoking can do to your teeth.

I love to listen to paleontology podcasts when I work in the lab and here is a great review of some of the best.

Sex does not equal gender.

Between the Northern Lights and these pillars of light, northern latitudes seem to have all of the cool lights in the sky!

Cows produce more milk for daughters than for sons.

I have a soft-spot for The Mammoth Site and loved this write-up about Dr. Agenbroad.

Climate change could have an impact on the Winter Olympics.

Alien Moths Are Coming for Your Nuts‘.

The physics of the Olympics: figure skating.

The connection between blood clots and birth control.

Did Sauron lose because he didn’t give his orcs vitamins?

Foot-Long, Sex-Crazed Snails That Pierce Tires and Devour Houses‘.

What’s it like to be the only female vulcanologist in North Korea?

Looking for a scientist memoir to read? Here’s a helpful list.

A nice, simple overview of why osteology is important.

The same species of rattlesnake has drastic variation in venom: one goes for the blood, one goes for the nerves.

If you like Emily Graslie, The Brain Scoop or museums, check out this interview.

Did sauropods like Brachiosaurus swim?

I Am Curious Yellow: Life With Synesthesia‘.

When moles move, they look like they’re swimming.

Check out this video of the global weather of 2013.

Having bedbugs might be terrible, but so is injuring yourself getting rid of them.

Thank Jurassic Park: ‘How Dilophosaurus Became a Rock Star‘.

Beelzebufo (the ‘Devil toad’) is one of my favorite scientific names. This frog was scary!

Don’t listen to ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ while you’re driving.

First-person view of Felix Baumgartner’s Space Jump.

Kari Byron answers important questions, like how to blow things up while you’re pregnant.

The blog Mary Anning’s Revenge is writing up 14 days of animal genitalia.

Check out this video on the Yucca Giant-Skipper butterfly!

This Week I Found: January 11-17 2014

The capybara as a unit of measurement.

The Pasta Theory of Memory & Your Personal Beginning of Time‘.

In case you ever wondered how a corpse can be transformed into a diamond.

Wiping out top predators wreaks havoc on the balance of the ecosystem: some things are meant to be eaten.

Lizards Need Social Lives, Too‘.

Colour-change ‘lemmings’ with bi-pronged seasonal super-claws‘. This almost makes me like voles.

A nuclear bomb helped us learn about the longevity of great white sharks.

The ancient oceans were a crazy place.

Over the years, fashion has done a number on our bones.

We now know where tannins, an important component of red wine and black tea, come from in a plant.

Speaking of wine, what makes it good?

In Norway, the sea froze so fast that it killed thousands of fish.

How did so many dinosaurs coexist in North America?

What does Tiktaalik teach us about tetrapods and how we got on land?

What Happens When Water Freezes in a Box So Strong It Can’t Expand?

The heat wave in Australia is wiping out bee hives.

Why vulcanologists go through so many boots.

80-Year-Old Vintage Snake Venom Can Still Kill‘.

An indigenous Malaysian language allows speakers to describe smells like we describe colors.

I find this title very amusing: ‘Six Years After Chemical Ban, Fewer Female Snails Are Growing Penises‘.

Snow fleas are rather adorable.

If you dumped all the world’s tea in the Great Lakes, it wouldn’t taste very good.

Some birds fly in a V formation and it’s complicated.

Old trees can better deal with climate change.

It’s Really Hard to Get Rid of Dead Whales‘.

Of course Australia has dragons. And by dragons, I mean lizards.

More rediscovered kings: this time it’s the remains of King Alfred the Great found in museum storage.

Ball lightning is definitely not a hallucination.

I don’t think I have the acting chops to be a ‘standardized patient‘.

Forget the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’, here’s how to reconstruct dinosaur fights.

China and India each have only one time zone. What if the whole world only used one time zone?

Lithopedions or ‘stone babies’ are rare but incredibly fascinating and terrifying.

I don’t know much about birds, but I really like this infographic: Never Trust Passerine Nomenclature.

To save the northern spotted owl, the barred owls are being shot.

Scurvy, skinny-dipping and giant sea cows.

Cicada Princess‘ is a short video narrated by Stephen Fry.

Hope Jahren explains why she ‘hijacked’ #ManicureMonday.

Dr. Carin Bondar’s Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball’ parody: Organisms Do Evolve.