Biochemical Soul Musings on Nature, Science, Evolution, Biology, and Education


Some Quick Link Love for Hoxful Monsters

Nagraj Sambrani of Hoxful Monsters

Nagraj Sambrani of Hoxful Monsters

If any of you have not read Hoxful Monsters, you should leave me and go there immediately.

I swear - everytime I read a post by Nagraj Sambrani, I find myself at least a tenth of an IQ point smarter (that's a joke - no IQ debates here...). That adds up!

Nagraj's latest post (New tree of animal suggests nervous system evolved only once in animal history) is on a recent huge study that analyzed a large number of genes throughout the "early" metazoan lineages, coming to the conclusion that the nervous system only evolved once (among other conclusions).

The amazing thing about Nagraj is that he has about as in-depth a grasp of the intricate data of metazoan taxonomy and phylogeny as possible (not to mention his expertise in developmental biology - a huge plus in my eyes).  And for someone for whom English is not a first language, he is an incredibly excellent writer, and getting better all the time.

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Nagraj and point some more readers his direction, as he is most assuredly among the best writers to cover the detailed evolutionary and developmental science being published.

Scientifically speaking, Hoxful Monsters is most definitely my absolute favorite blog!


Carnivalia! Evolution, Blue, Spineless, and Pro Publica

Waking the Baby Mammoth

Waking the Baby Mammoth

As some of you have no doubt noticed, I've been a bit absent from this digital home of mine for the past couple of weeks. What can I say? I've been incredibly busy with actually doing science.

Hopefully I'll get back to regular blogging soon (including my review of the press screener for the upcoming National Geographic Channel program "Waking the Baby Mammoth" - Thanks Minjae, Digital PR Consultant for NatGeo! My shiny disc and press release arrived via UPS today!). In the meantime, there are a few blog carnivals that you should definitely read.

Scientia Pro Publica

Scientia Pro Publica

First and foremost, everyone should check out the inaugural edition of the new Scientia Pro Publica carnival, started by GrrlScientist of Living the Scientific Life to fill the void created by the extinction of the Tangled Bank. This sure-to-be-successful carnival is dedicated to all the good science blogging out there written for the layperson. So if you blog science to reach the masses, start submitting to this new carnival.

GrrlScientist also recently hosted the Circus of the Spineless #37 dedicated to the spineless creatures of the world - which included my post on insect dorsal ocelli.

If you haven't made your way over to The Oyster's Garter, go check out Miriam's awesome edition of the Carnival of Evolution #10 - which included my post on the evolution of icefish blood and antifreeze.

Also recently out at Deep-Sea News, Kevin Zelnio has published the Carnival of the Blue #23, filled with salty ocean goodness.


Carnival of Evolution #10 – The Oyster’s Garter

I couldn't imagine how Miriam Goldstein of The Oyster's Garter could top her previous hosting of the Carnival of the Blue #21 in which she waxed lyrical and poetic.

However, as I have come to expect from Miriam, she completely knocked the socks off of my expectations with her shiny new edition of the Carnival of Evolution (#10), composing the entire edition as a series of hilarious diary entries.


"Dear Diary,

Friendly creationists were a bust. First Gravity and Levity refuted creation “science” comprehensively and with citations. Then Adaptive Complexity introduced them to the basic evidence for evolutionary by reviewing the book Why Evolution Is True. When the no-longer-friendly creationists feebly countered with examples of evolutionary frauds, Tangled Up in Blue Guy beat them lightly about the head and neck with the real facts about Haeckel and Piltdown Man and peppered moths and Archaeopteryx.

The sauciest one muttered about half a wing being useless, but Migration demonstrated that half a wing is useful indeed. The final straw was when the Evolving Mind noted that evolution does not inevitably lead to intelligence. They ran away, leaving me alone once more in the internet wilderness."

Be sure to check it out, for it will certainly go down as one of the more creative editions - owing in no small part to the excellent evolutionary writings linked from within.  Among those included is my own recent post on the Evolution of Channichthyidae Icefish Blood and Antifreeze.

I guess this just goes to show that Miriam didn't get syndicated by Slate's XX Factor for nothing (just announced by Miriam herself in the Podcast of the Blue #1)!

Next month, Carnival of Evolution #11 will be hosted by Allie of Oh, for the Love of Science!

Use this form to submit your posts for next month's edition.


Developmental Biologists Online

Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species

Just a couple of quick notes to my fellow developmental biologists out there:

First, due to my recent post, Science Blogging: The Future of Science Communication & Why You Should be a Part of it, I was reminded through my comments at Larry Moran's reaction post at Sandwalk that I haven't met very many developmental biologist bloggers out there.

In fact, there is only one dedicated developmental bio blogger I've found: the superb Hoxful Monsters by Nagraj Sambrani. His blog is written for scientists - and if you care about the nitty gritty details of development and evo-devo, his is a blog you should not miss. (Yes I know PZ of Pharyngula is a developmental biologist and posts on the subject as well - but I think he has "evolved" well beyond being developmental-centered - feel free to disagree)

But there must be at least a few more out there, right? If there are, please let me know.

Second, I recently started listening to Scientific American's "Science Talk" podcasts again on my long drive to work. In the February 28th episode, there's an incredibly fascinating interview with one of the premier evo-devo researchers, Dr. Sean Carroll, in which he talks about his new book, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species. This is one book I will definitely be picking up with due haste.

I highly recommned the podcasts as well.


Tentacular Orgies from The Oyster’s Garter

Squid Larva (from squidblog)

Squid Larva (from

Here's a big congratulations to Miriam Goldstein of The Oyster's Garter fame, who managed to get a truly fascination article published on

Her article, entitled "Motion in the Ocean" is all about the Valentine woo-pitching (quote: "making the beast with two beaks") of squids off the California coast. I highly recommend the read, and be sure to check out the linked videos from the article as well!

And since I'm doling out the link love, I'd like to welcome the newest addition to the science blogging community, Anna of Anna's Bones, a blog dedicated to anthropology and evolution. Go check her out...