Sun, 14 March 2021
The gang discusses two papers that look at snake evolution and ecology. The first paper looks at the evolutionary steps required for venom spitting behavior in cobras, and the second paper looks at how snake populations in the tropics are being impacted by mass amphibian die offs. Meanwhile, James likes the Resident Evil Lady, Curt meets big Bowser, and Amanda has a BIIIIG beer.
Up-Goer Fiver (Curt Edition):
Our friends talk about long animals with no legs. Some of these long animals have bad stuff that they can put into your body. The long animals that can make the bad stuff and also make their neck really wide are a group of long animals that have some animals that can push the bad stuff out of their body a great way away from their body. The first paper our friends talk about is trying to find out how these long animals that can push bad stuff a far way out of their body were able to do this. Did they get it from their moms and dads a long long time ago. The paper looks at what the bad stuff is made of, and finds that the things that are close family with the long things that can push bad stuff far away have bad stuff that looks the same. But there is one part of the bad stuff that there is more of in the things that push bad stuff far away that isn't in all of the long animals. The cool thing is, the moms and dads of these animals had this other bad stuff even though they do not push bad stuff far away from their bodies. This means that the other bad stuff changed first, and then the long animals started pushing bad stuff far away from their bodies.
The second paper looks at how long animals are hurt when their food goes away. Another group of animals that breathe through their skin has been having a real hard time because they keep getting sick. This paper looks at how the sick animals that breathe through the skin are causing some of the long animals to die because they can no longer get as much food (from the animals that breathe through their skin). Some long animals are doing really well, but most of the long animals are not doing well. This means that something that hurts one group of animals can and will hurt a lot of other animals over time.
Zipkin, Elise F., et al. "Tropical snake diversity collapses after widespread amphibian loss." Science 367.6479 (2020): 814-816.
Kazandjian, Taline D., et al. "Convergent evolution of pain-inducing defensive venom components in spitting cobras." Science 371.6527 (2021): 386-390.