Friday, March 25, 2005

Darwin's Easter Basket

"My, my!" they sigh.

Biologist discovers 2 species of octopus attempting to walk

Knight Ridder Newspapers

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - (KRT) - Looking a bit like a cartoonist's effort to make strange sea creatures seem more human,
two species of octopus have been caught on tape walking on just two of their eight legs.

One species wraps six of its legs around itself in a tight ball as it jogs backwards across the sea bed on the other two, somewhat like a little green video game alien trying to avoid being eaten or shot. The other holds six arms up in frozen, crooked poses like tree branches as it moves on two arms that seem to act like mini conveyor belts.

And, of course, there's this...

Biomechanics: Independent evolution of running in vampire bats


Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

Most tetrapods have retained terrestrial locomotion since it evolved in the Palaeozoic era, but bats have become so specialized for flight that they have almost lost the ability to manoeuvre on land at all. Vampire bats, which sneak up on their prey along the ground, are an important exception. Here we show that
common vampire bats can also run by using a unique bounding gait, in which the forelimbs instead of the hindlimbs are recruited for force production as the wings are much more powerful than the legs. This ability to run seems to have evolved independently within the bat lineage. LINK
I want honesty and a healthy helping of the scientific method in my Easter Basket, damn it!

Tomorrow, willing and the creek don't rise, I'll post a list of items I DON'T WANT in my Easter Basket.


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