Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Science 'truthiness'

While discussing with Los_cat (my hubby) whether (1) birds came from dinosaurs, (2) shared a common ancestor with dinosaurs, or (3) shared a common ancestor with crocodilians (because of a similar inner ear structure, but this is most likely due to convergence), I decided that The Tick was only partly right when he called science a two headed beast. In fact, science is a many-headed beast which bickers with itself, but stems from a common body of knowledge.

Eventually, there will come a consensus on which of the three hypothesis are correct as the body gets bigger, and more evidence is examined. Personally, I'd go with number one at this point, based on the number of dinosaurs with feathers, wishbones, and front limbs that folded back like birds (Maniraptorans especially). Also, you can't really tell a dinosaur from a early bird without the feathers (archaeopteryx was initially classified as a dino until they found one with feathers). Finally most early birds showed up 45 million years after dinosaurs were established. But if they find older birds, than I may have to revise my position to two.

(Picture: Microraptor, a dromaeosaurid dinosaur fossil, from Liaoning, China on tour in 'Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries')

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thesis woes

Some day soon I promise I will do more posts. For now, I am just tearing my hair out trying to write and format my thesis. Nothing like spending hours trying to get goggle earth to spit out a decent picture of my study site, and drawing stick figures of my experimental set-up (but I am rather pleased at how much the clip art bushes look like Bugula neritina colonies). The more I refine it, the slower word goes, the more nervous I get. I think I'll go back it up now...

But soon I will be posing about some of the great talks I saw at SICB, including jumping guppies and mantis shrimp cavitation.