Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Support the mighty Bombardier Beetle’s quest to have its genome sequenced!

Posted 20 Mar 2017 / 0

A good friend and former colleague of mine, Aman Gill, now works on Bombardier Beetles. And the Bombardier Beetle is in the running for a unique award: having its genome sequenced. How will the Bombardier Beetle win this award? Well, folks, we are pretty well into the new millenium by now, so you probably have Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Convergence, Evolution, Experiments (General), Genetics, Natural Selection, Public Outreach, Science (General), Uncategorized

An eye is not an eye is not an eye

Posted 16 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons National Geographic “Inside the Eye: Nature’s Most Exquisite Creation” This is another fantastic article by Ed Yong that very nicely captures the relativistic nature of the evolutionary process. We basically call any light-sensing organ an “eye”, but animals have eyes that perform radically different functions. How eyes work is a function Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Convergence, Divergence, Fossil Data, Interactions, Photography, Uncategorized

Our culture is special, but not especially uncommon

Posted 08 Sep 2015 / 0

National Geographic News “Sperm Whales’ Language Reveals Hints of Culture” It is interesting how the number of animal species displaying culture keeps getting larger. There’s a lot of evolutionary convergence involved here, as the phylogenetic tree of vertebrates is still only sprinkled with pockets of culture. But those pockets of culture are deep, and therefore Read More

A Minor Post, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cetaceans, Communication, Convergence, Cultural Evolution, Exaptation, Human Uniqueness, Web

Hawaiian crickets converge on the same solution to eavesdropping parasites

Posted 05 Jun 2014 / 0

The New York Times “On Separate Islands, Crickets Go Silent“

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Coevolution, Convergence, Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics

“Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” exhibit at the American Museum on Natural History

Posted 19 Jun 2012 / 0

Today I had the pleasure of accompanying my daughter’s fourth grade class to the “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Beyond making sure that all students returned home safely, I was also interested in how this exhibit explained bioluminescence as an evolved adaptation. When I teach Evolution, one Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Convergence, Cooperation, Evolution, Interactions, Marine Ecosystems, Museum design, Museums & Zoos, Mutualism, Phylogenetics, Predation, Sex and Reproduction, Terrestrial

National Geographic “Fatal Attraction”

Posted 05 Mar 2010 / 0

This month’s National Geographic features a really beautiful article on carnivorous plants written by Carl Zimmer. The article presents the numerous independently-evolved adaptations possessed by a diversity of plants which live in nitrogen-poor soil. These adaptations are a great example of coarse-scal evolutionary convergence, as a variety of plants have all come up with the Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Bogs & Wetlands, Convergence, Evolution, MSCI-260, Evolution, Predation