(Roughly) Daily

Names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…

 

A murder of crows

From E.O. Wilson’s Encyclopedia of Life, via the TED Blog, a collection of very amusing (and altogether appropriate) animal group names: “Animals that travel in schools, towers, bloats and more.”

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As we noodle on nomenclature, we might send dynamically-evolved birthday greetings to Stephen Jay Gould; he was born on this date in 1941.  One of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science in his generation (e.g., Ever Since Darwin, The Panda’s Thumb), Gould was a highly-respected academic paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science.  With Niles Eldridge, he developed the theory of “punctuated equilibrium,” an explanation of evolution that suggests (in contrast with the gradualism that was prevalent until then) that most evolution is marked by long periods of evolutionary stability, which are interrupted– “punctuated”– by rare instances of branching evolution (c.f., the Burgess Shale).

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