How the giraffe got its long neck

by Greg Mayer Matthew Cobb has kindly called my attention to this piece from the BBC about this soon to be published paper (pdf) in the Journal of Zoology by Graham Mitchell, S.J. van Sittert, and John Skinner on the neck of the giraffe. How giraffes got their long necks is a venerable question in […]

Why pygmies?

Some human populations in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are of extraordinarily small stature: they are called pygmies.   All of them inhabit rainforests that are warm and humid.   Although they bear a common name, genetic work shows that each group has evolved independently, so it is better to speak of “the pygmy […]

Sexual selection

by Greg Mayer There’s a nice article by Nicholas Wade in today’s NY Times about the evolution of horns, antlers, and other organs of weaponry and display.  Much of the article explicates a recent review article, The Evolution of Animal Weapons, by Douglas Emlen of the University of Montana. Wade writes Dr. Emlen noticed a […]

Darwin the prude, sexual selection, and sperm competition

Last Thursday’s Times Higher Education Supplement (the UK one) has a series of short pieces on Darwin and his legacy.  Perhaps the most interesting is by Tim Birkhead, the noted evolutionist who works on sperm competition in birds and has written a number of academic and popular books on the topic.  Birkhead claims that Darwin […]