Dear readers, here are a few pick-me-uppers to get you through your late February woes.
1. A Video
I’ve been posting CreatureCast videos on this blog pretty regularly, but I’m long overdue for a new one. Here’s one of my recent favorites about marine creatures known as larvaceans (also called appendicularians). Larvaceans are solitary, free-swimming animals that live in the upper part of the water column and have a life-span of only a few weeks. They are planktonic, transparent, mostly hermaphroditic, and feed by inflating a huge, mucous bubble “house” around themselves to catch food particles. This video, made by Paulina Pagán at Brown University, describes these curious mucous “houses”, and discusses the role that larvaceans play in the global carbon cycle.
2. An Artist (via thisiscolossal.com, Thanks Emily!)
Lisa Nilsson creates extraordinarily intricate diagrams of human anatomy by piecing together rolled strips of Japanese mulberry parchment. She starts with an actual photograph of an anatomical cross section, and then goes through the weeks-long process of rolling countless pieces of paper on anything she can find — pins, needles, dowels, drill bits, you name it. To finish, she constructs wooden boxes to hold each of her masterpieces. Check out some examples below!
3. A Book
This past December, I posted about a pamphlet entitled Lifecycles, which celebrates the diversity and complexity of life cycles. The pamphlet was created by Manvir Singh, who is also author of The Evolutionist’s Doodlebook. In exciting news, Manvir has just released a new book about Pleistocene megafauna, and their mysterious extinctions en masse. The book, Zoostalgia, features 32 creatures that recently (well, geologically speaking) vanished from existence. Manvir includes background information on the extinctions, charming factoids about each creature, and renders his subjects with his characteristic whimsy. Every flip-through reveals new details that are sure to induce a smile. You can buy the book on Amazon. Here are a few excerpts:
Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you today! Just one last thought – how cool was today’s Google doodle for Heinrich Hertz’s 155th birthday?? I may have to do a Scientist Sunday on that soon…
UPDATE on March 4:
Here’s a great interview of Zoostalgia‘s author and artist, Manvir Singh, as featured on the You’re Totally Awesome podcast by Aaron Nam!
In our second episode, we were joined by artist, evolutionary biologist, and author Manvir Singh. We imagined ancient Egyptians petting dwarf wholly mammoths, explored the balance between passion and practicality, and touched on the beauty of simplicity. We celebrated the individual, revealed the falsehoods of the Power Rangers, and discovered how stress is like a slug.
Check out his new book Zoostalgia (which I struggle to pronounce) at Amazon and his tumblr. Some pretty sick drawings.