Parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction where embryos pop up without fertilization from a male, is actually not uncommon in vertebrates. Certain lizard species reproduce exclusively this way. But seeing an organism that usually reproduces sexually adapt this ability out of nowhere? That had never been confirmed … until now.
American copperhead and cottonmouth snakes, both common poisonous viper species, were recently observed by NC State researchers reproducing in precisely this way. Females birthed young whose DNA showed no input from a male snake. Many of these pregnancies can involve developmental defects, since it isn’t their biologically “preferred” way to reproduce, but it shows that if certain organisms are faced with the choice of adapting or dying … well, life finds a way.
Also be sure to check out this TED Ed video about sex determination throughout the animal kingdom. It’s a strange business.
(more at Nature News)
Posts tagged awesome.
It never occurred to me to browse through the credits of Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, to find out who was underneath the monstrous black mask.
The man was Bolanji Badejo, a 7ft tall Nigerian design student picked up from a bar in West London to fill the title role. He worked on the film for 4 months. Spending every day wrapped in a suffocating custom fitted rubber suit, working to exude a presence of pure evil.
Despite his incredible contribution to the film’s success Badejo never received any publicity for his involvement. Ultimately, it would be his only film role.
Here is some test footage of Badejo in an alien suit. Even as simple test footage it is still creepy.
While walking in the Chicago neighbourhood of Logan Square Christopher of Colossal happened upon an enormous stack of Monopoly ‘Chance’ cards. After some diligent sleuthing he figured out that the cards were part of an awesome interactive street art installation by an artist/art collective known as Bored, who described their motivation behind this delightful project:
“the goal of this entire project has been to present something different than a stencil painted on the ground or a poster pasted to a wall. Something 3-dimensional that can be picked up, beaten down, kicked, yanked, grabbed, and broken. And if someone ever put forth the effort to remove it, like a weed it will always grow back. And if left alone it will evolve into something different.”Visit Colossal to view more photos of the life-size Monopoly game scattered across the streets of Chicago.