Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Notes for May 5th

  • Letting your kids watch TV:  Not good.
  • Not science, but I totally covet a droid.
  • Apparently scientists have produced Mammoth hemoglobin.  I'm amazed.  Reconstructing the mammoth from DNA has always seemed semi-plausible (much more so than dinosaurs), but that's always seemed silly (What are we going to do with a huge and isolated mammoth?  What are we going to learn?).  Reconstructing individual components is pretty weird too, but at least it is done to answer specific questions.
  • In a sexually reproducing population of vertebrates, the number of males and females born is generally about the same.  However, in bone deposits of extinct Moas from New Zealand, about 5 females are found for every male.  Why?  This article is rich in speculation, but I've always wondered if some populations would evolve to simply produce less males (I can't think of how this could be accomplished mechanistically, but...).  There's certainly no lack of species where a small number of males impregnate a very large number of females, is there any reason a sex ratio of 5-1 wouldn't work?

No comments: