Parthenogenesis

Parthenogenesis is a type of asexual reproduction and applies only to animals (the botanical counterpart is called apomixis; note that in this post, I will only be talking of animals, not plants, fungi, prokaryotes, bacteria, etc.). It was first discovered by Owen in his 1849 book/monograph “On parthenogenesis or the …

The Evolution of Cooperation

Before getting started, one disclaimer: there will be nothing about humans in this post. If that’s what you’re looking for, you have to search elsewhere. Human social evolution is a big messy topic and I’m not qualified to talk about it because humans are boring. If you’re interested in a …

Insect Flight: Origins & Aerodynamics

There are two competing hypotheses for the origin of flight in insects. One is that the first terrestrial hexapods had extensions coming out of their thorax that helped them glide between the tall vegetation of the time; an evolutionary path from simple paranota (unmoveable stubs) to an insect wing is …

Deep Homology

Darwin referred to the products of evolution as ‘endless forms most beautiful’. Disparity (the word meaning “diversity of morphology”) can be classified: “All mammals have titties” is a valid biological statement. But within all this disparity lie unifying characters: all mammals have boobs, but they also have a backbone; frogs …

Stem Cell Research

Sorry for the long absences, but my priorities lie elsewhere, especially since I’m not actively teaching these days. I will still post stuff, but it will be at a relaxed pace since I only have the time to write during random bouts of insomnia. Anyway, the topic here is stem …

Developmental Plasticity

Before starting, a small note: I currently have 4 time-consuming projects running in parallel, so updates will be sporadic. Sorry. In this post, we’ll look at how the environment can influence development, including phenotypic plasticity (what is an ecomorph?) and epigenetics. Also, for the first time ever, I will put …