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15 January 2019

Easing of selective pressure on Opuntia cacti in the Galapagos Islands

A cactus you can pet with your bare hand? Turns out it can tell you something about whether that island contains any land iguanas. A case study in the easing of natural selective pressure.

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14 January 2019

A tale of three iguanas

As noted last week, I spent the week spanning New Year’s Eve in the enchanted isles of the Galapagos. The previous week (over Christmas) my family and I were in coastal Ecuador. I saw a total of three species of iguanas in the two locations, and they offer a neat little story of evolution. Let’s take a look. First, let’s introduce the key players: The green iguana, Iguana iguana (coastal Ecuador, …

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5 December 2012

Estemmenosuchus

Slightly annotated photo of a Permian therapsid skull on display in the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. Another photo of this same skull is here. This reptile needs an orthodontist.

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11 November 2012

Fence lizard

It wasn’t all rocks and games on the Neoacadian Inner Piedmont trip. I also saw a lizard:

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9 May 2012

Coiled snake

Saw this fellow on Monday, coiled up next to an outcrop of Antietam Formation in Naked Creek, northwest of Elkton: It had flattened its head to make it very spade-shaped. The right eye was cloudy – perhaps snake glaucoma? Or maybe it was just getting ready to shed its skin?

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8 August 2011

Horned lizard

Here’s a cute little feller that we spotted in the Green River Basin of Wyoming last week, whilst checking out the Green River Formation oil shales at the White Mountain escarpment, as well as adjacent Boar’s Tusk volcanic neck and distant Killpecker Dunes. Though sometimes called “horny toads” (I myself am fond of this name), it’s not really a toad. It’s a lizard.

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25 May 2011

Weekend macro bugs

“Did somebody say bugs?”   …Yes, Mr. Lizard, it’s time for a photo gallery of the macro bugs I saw this past weekend. We got some caterpillars for you, some millipedes, and also a very cool moth. Feast your eyes! Unidentified caterpillar 1: Underwing caterpillar (?): Unidentified caterpillar 2: Millipedes: (See also here, if you haven’t already) Sigmoria trimaculata millipede: (At least that’s what I think it is.) Luna moth: …

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13 May 2011

Lily’s pet gecko

My fiancée Lily teaches science at a local middle school, and she has a pet leopard gecko there. I went in this morning to give her students a talk on climate change, and used the opportunity to hang out a bit with the gecko, which is named Kimo (“chemo”). Lily affectionately calls him “Kemo-sabe”… I took a few photos, which long-time readers will recall I did with another classroom pet …

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11 May 2011

Pamukkale 4: Hierapolis

Atop the glorious pile of travertine that is Pamukkale (photos 1, 2, & 3), there is an ancient ruined city called Hierapolis. It was founded by the Romans in the second century BC, and was constructed (not surprisingly) from the most common locally available stone: travertine. A tomb with a view: This last one is a tomb, partially engulfed by laminations of calcite… Time and travertine wait for no man:

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23 December 2010

GoSF5: (Wildlife interlude)

“GoSF” = Geology of San Francisco As I am sure you are aware, I’m taking this week to write up the three field trips I took last week to examine the geology of San Francisco and neighboring areas. My plan is to cover: Introduction and overview Seafloor basalt Deep sea chert Kirby Cove, Marin Headlands (wildlife interlude) today Graywacke turbidites Serpentinite and mélange Fractures and the chemistry along them Pleistocene …

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