11 posts tagged with biology and fish.
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Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Terror from the Deep

CreatureCast - Rhizocephala - a charmingly animated look at the lifecycle of rhizocephalan barnacles, one of the more horrifying (non-charming) parasitic crustaceans (likewise). NOT a practitioner of parasitic castration but still disturbing: The bobbit worm. Happy swimming!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2013 - 21 comments

The tale of the coelacanth

The amazing story of the coelacanth is one of the wonders of the living world that inspires marine biologists such myself. Coelacanths, part of the offshoot lineage of fishes known as "lobed finned ", are very different from typical "ray finned" fishes that you usually think of. Their bizarre lobed fins are thought to be an intermediate step between fish fins and amphibian legs. Scientists had known that these weird fish existed because of fossils for over a century, but we believed that they went extinct 65 million years ago... until a South African fisherman caught one in 1938. [more inside]
posted by WhySharksMatter on Sep 7, 2009 - 49 comments

eyevolution

Although the evolution of the eye is often pointed to by evolution's skeptics as evidence of design, biologists have been quick to point out evidence to the contrary. Today, Julian Partridge of Bristol University's Ecology of Vision Research Unit has brought to light evidence of a Pacific fish that has evolved biological mirrors for navigating murky water.
posted by Pants! on Jan 8, 2009 - 14 comments

The Wandering Eye (Pleuronectiformes, We Hardly Knew You)

A University of Chicago doctoral candidate has shown that the evolution of the flatfish was much more gradual than previously thought.
posted by chuckdarwin on Jul 10, 2008 - 21 comments

Strange New Fish May See Like Humans

A fish with forward facing eyes has been discovered in Indonesia. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Apr 3, 2008 - 47 comments

Hairbeast from the watery deeps

The partially decomposed sea monster has 4 paws, a tail, and long fur. Is that you, Dagon?
Other famous sea-monster bodies (known as "globsters") include
The St. Augustine Monster ^
The New Zealand globster
Several more recent blobs
And here's how to tell a blob from a sea monster
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Mar 24, 2008 - 14 comments

Fishy miscegenation

More cuckoo than cuckoos: mate two salmon, get a... trout! Just give the parents a sperm transplant. And the sperm stem cells work in females too:
...Injecting the male cells into female salmon sometimes worked, too, prompting five female salmon to ovulate trout eggs.... The stem cells were still primitive enough to switch gears from sperm-producers to egg-producers when they wound up inside female organs....

posted by orthogonality on Sep 15, 2007 - 10 comments

Every cloud has a silver lining, and some sub-ice seas have orange starfish

After two big Antarctic ice shelves broke off several years ago, a world of new species was found underneath. Pictures and a press release came out yesterday, showing spindly orange starfish among other interesting creatures. Here is some more information on the expedition. The fact that the shelves melted when they did is most likely a result of global warming, but having them out of the way gave researchers a golden opportunity to study what lives beneath the ice. Other occassions where a disaster has simultaneously been a great research opportunity include radioactive fallouts: at Chernobyl the evacuated area has been monitored for the past decades to see which species move in and how they thrive (previously on Metafilter)
posted by easternblot on Feb 26, 2007 - 21 comments

That shit is deep.

Dude, there are some fucked up creatures crawling around on the ocean floor.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 5, 2006 - 66 comments

Our glowing undersea friends.

Cuter than a fangtooth. Beautiful images of bioluminescent sea creatures. Learn the difference between fluorescence, phosphorescence, and bioluminescence, as well as the science behind the amazing chemical reaction. (I like the floppy-eared one the best--okay, the plastic bag looking one is nifty too.)
posted by lychee on May 12, 2004 - 4 comments

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