­

Frogs in Pants Finally Explain Sex

For centuries, people believed that maggots and fungi magically sprung from inanimate objects out of thin air. Spontaneous generation! How babies happened was also shrouded in myth, and by the mid-1600s, people had yet to figure out that, in humans, barely visible eggs and microscopic sperm were part of the process. Turns out, all it took was a pair of frog pants to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Sexual-reproduction-scientists1

 

Frog-in-pants_v4

 

frogeggs

 

 

A happy day for science: frogs in pants, the first empirical demonstration of barrier contraception, and spontaneous generation went the way of the powdered wig.

____

Katie L. Burke is an ecologist-turned-science-journalist, who writes about all things biology. Currently an editor at American Scientist, she also blogs at The UnderStory (www.the-understory.com). Follow her on Twitter: @_klburke.

Bethann Garramon Merkle believes science and sustainability matter—her passion is communicating why. Tap into her capacity to help you blend word craft and images by visiting www.commnatural.com or connect with her onFacebook and Twitter.
____

Image Attributions 1.PG 1 Scientists: Original illustration utilizing source image of Anton van Leeuwenhoek from the Library of Congress (http://www.answers.com/topic/anton-van-leeuwenhoek) and source image from Wikimedia Commons for Lazzaro Spallanzani (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lazzaro_Spallanzani). 2.PG 2 Frog in pants: Original illustration utilizing multiple sources.3.PG 3 Frogs mating: Original illustration based on source image from Peter Chen, available through GNU General Public License (http://bio1151b.nicerweb.net/Locked/media/ch46/). 4. PG 4 Tadpoles: Original illustration based on source image from Geoffrey Gallice, available through Creative Commons license (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dejeuxx/6407253419/) 5. PG 5 Eggs: Original illustration; source is artist’s photograph.

By |March 26th, 2014|Backbones|16 Comments

Squirrel Chat: No Longer an Elitist Pastime

Eastern gray squirrels can live up to 12 years in the wild, so why not befriend your favorite little nut stasher? Yes, it may be intimidating at first. With their luxurious tails and constant incoherent chatter, hanging out with squirrels can seem like hanging out with a bunch of drunk debutantes. Lucky for us, in 1959 a guy named Arnold Bakken decoded their language1 so we can finally have a meaningful conversation with them (or at least get the treetop gossip).

copley_squirrel_dictionary

Check our facts!

Bakken, A (1959) Behaviour of gray squirrels. Proceedings of the South Eastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 13, 393-406.

__

Heather Copley is a Clinical Social Worker whose hobbies happen to include: science, storing up food for the winter like our squirrel friends, and writing hilarious llama jokes.

By |March 19th, 2014|Backbones|3 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 5!

BHR_taxon_cards_web3Pun by Natalie Sopinka @PhishDoc

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!

 

By |March 14th, 2014|Other Science|0 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 4!

bhr_tax_greetingcard_4_sb-05-05

Pun by Josh Wenderoff @JoshWenderoff

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!
By |March 13th, 2014|Other Science|2 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 3!

BHR_taxon_cards_web2Pun by  Morgan Jackson @BioInFocus.

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!

 

By |March 12th, 2014|Other Science|0 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner! Part 2!

elizabeth_pun

Pun by Theresa Sullivan @TrebahKM

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!
By |March 11th, 2014|Other Science|0 Comments

Taxonomy Puns! We Have A Winner!

Well, five actually. With the help of a team of excellent and impartial judges, we’ve selected our top taxonomy appreciation puns, just in time for Taxonomist Appreciation Day!* Check in each day this week to see a new winner. And thanks for all the excellent submissions! Our readers are the punniest!

bhr_anders_pun

*Taxonomist Appreciation Day (March 19th) is a holiday invented by the renowned ecologist Terry McGlynn to help us pause a moment and thank those people who work to acquaint us with our living world. For more about TAD or Terry, tune in to his excellent blog, Small Pond Science. In addition to inventing our new favorite holiday (which, to make it a true holiday, we at BHR will celebrate with snacks and adult beverages), Terry came up with the TAD slogan/pun, “Our appreciation for taxonomists is beyond description.”  Tell your friends!

Pun by Jimmy Ryals (@jpryals on Twitter)

 

By |March 10th, 2014|Other Science|5 Comments