Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #actuallivingscientist

Most recents (24)

[Woman at the wheel of a truck, looking over asking "you ready?"]
[gif is World Wrestler jumping up on arena ropes hollering out "I SAID, ARE YOU READY?!"]
Read 84 tweets
NEXT UP: #1 seed Harpy Eagle vs #8 seed Ghost Bat, with lots of battle narration guidance from @Mammals_Suck #2021MMM A harpy eagle perches on a branch against a light blue sky. A pale white-grey ghost bat photographed hanging downward. I
The Harpy Eagle is an avian 'QUEEN of the jungle', documented to prey upon at least 102 species of mammal, bird, and reptile (Miranda 2020, #2021MMM A harpy eagle sitting on a large horizontal branch against a
Learning to hunt by juvenile Eagles seems to be mostly trial-and-error. Juveniles are unlikely to learn to hunt directly from their parents. Instead, parents stop providing food, forcing youngsters to just figure it out (Cavalcante et al 2019, #2021MMM A juvenile harpy eagle sitting on a branch against a green,
Read 23 tweets
NEXT UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 7 seed Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta). This battle is #TeamWork between myself & @Mammals_Suck #2021MMM Image is a Midgardia Seastar on the left, located on the sea
In Norse mythology, Migard (Migardia) Serpent was the child of LOKI! Our Seastar's species name, xanderos, is Greek for fabulous sea monster. More about deep-sea starfish from #ActualLivingScientist @echinoblog here:… [gif is Loki flipping knives] #2021MMM
Unfortunately, little is known about our long-legged creature of the deep. There are less than 20 specimens in natural history collections, most at the @TAMU Biodiversity Research & Teaching Collections #BRTC #CollectionsAreEssential #2021MMM Midgardia xandaros specimen from the Texas A&M University Bi
Read 15 tweets
NEXT UP: #4 seed PICADO'S JUMPING PIT VIPER (Atropoides picadoi) vs #5 seed DEVIL FROG (Beelzebufo ampinga) #2021MMM Medium-sized thick bodied snake in a loose coil on a dark, lIllustration of a large bodied, heavily armored from with th
Pit viper's namesake Atropos is featured in the poem Shield of Heracles. Some descriptions of Atropos & Pit Viper are comparatively on point: "teeth are bright-white (λευκούς) like those of Fear; the long nails (fangs) w/ which they seize bodies" (Brockless 2017) #2021MMM Cover of a book by Hesiod titled The Shield of Heracles. TheExcerpt from the book The Shield of Heracles
While other descriptions are perhaps less on point. Some may perceive Pit Viper as having "antagonistic glares (δέρκομαι)" but snakes lack eyelids so they can't help but glare (Simões et al 2016) #StopLookingAtMe #2021MMM… Close up view of the head of a pit viper. It's face is cream
Read 17 tweets
UP FIRST: From the Sea Beasties Division, 1st-seeded SABER-TOOTHED ANCHOVY vs 8th-seeded PINK VENT FISH #2021MMM Black & white illustration of Saber-toothed Anchovy with a sColored photographs of Pink Vent Fish collected at East Paci
#RecapStats: Saber-toothed Anchovy is about 1m long (about 3 stoats), an ancient (45-50 MYA) marine predator & named after a vampire-like demon due to it's large single tooth (artwork by @JoschuaKnuppe) #StoatsAsMeasurement #2021MMM
@JoschuaKnuppe Described just last year by #ActualLivingScientist @acapomorphic & @Friedman_Lab, the existence of Saber-toothed Anchovy suggests this ancient family of fish was diverse, from large predators to small planktivores (Capobianco et al 2020) #2021MMM
Read 12 tweets
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Dugong (Dugong dugon) vs No. 8 Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus). Teamwork battle by myself & @MarcKissel (& a great assist from @Mammals_Suck), with genetics info from @sexchrlab & @StoneLab_ASU #2021MMM Image of a Dugong floating vertically in the water on the le
Although our two combatants may seem really different (one being obligate aquatic in tropical, marine waters & the other terrestrial in mountain forests), they do have one thing in common......TUSKS #2021MMM Image of Dugong skull on left, Musk Deer skull on right, bot
Dugong tusks are elongated second incisors, similar to elephants (remember, Dugongs & Elephants are close relatives!). Tusks are found in all adult males (& mature females). Take a spin on @Sketchfab to have a look:… #2021MMM
Read 16 tweets
NEXT UP: #2 seed RED WOLF versus #7 seed TARSIER, co-written by @sexchrlab, @StoneLab_ASU & ME!! #2021MMM Red wolf laying in the grassclose up of Tarsier's face showing gigantic eyes
Red Wolves are small-ish & slender canids w/ long limbs. Analyses of pre-1920 wolves suggests distinct skull morphologies btwn coyote & grey wolf but doesn't distinguish hypotheses - are they an ancient species or recent hybrid? (Nowak 2002, Audubon & Bachman 1851) #2021MMM Statistical distribution of skull morphological multivariate
Starting in the 1920's, coyotes started moving east into red wolf's range (& hybridizing w/red wolf), taking advantage of forest clearance & decrease in red wolf pop size due to predator eradication programs.… #2021MMM Map showing the reconstructed historical range of the red wo
Read 17 tweets
NEXT UP: 3rd seed Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) vs. 14th seed White Winged Vampire Bat (Diaemus youngi). #2021MMM [bat photo via @inaturalist]
Once again, this primate/bat match-up is brought to you by myself & @alyb_batgirl. #DejaVu #2021MMM
Chimpanzees live in rainforest, woodland, & savannah habitats across equatorial Africa & are one of the most intensively studied primate species. They are very closely related to humans, sharing ~99% of our DNA. #2021MMM [map via @NGKids; illustration via]
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NEXT UP: #5 seed DEVIL FROG vs #12 seed FIRE SALAMANDER #2021MMM Color illustration of a large horned frog against a white baPhoto of a black and yellow spotted salamander against a nat
Both of tonights combatants are amphibians, which have lived on Earth for at least 370 million years. The word amphibian comes from the Greek word amphibios, meaning "to live a double life", in reference to their aquatic & terrestrial life histories. (Vences et al 2005) #2021MMM Screen shot of figure from journal article referenced showin
Predatory amphibians like adult frogs & salamanders can only eat prey as big as their mouths open - "gape-limited" predators - & are often cannibalistic - they eat each other! #2021MMM
Read 15 tweets
NEXT UP: Tube Anemone (Arachnanthus lilith) vs Platyzilla (Obdurodon tharalkooschild)!!! #2021MMM
Our first combatant is the Tube Anemone, a member of the diverse group of Anthozoans which live in the sediments of the oceans. #2021MMM A portion of a tube anemone above light colored substrate. I
Named after the parchment-like chambers they reside in, Tube Anemones construct woven networks of tough stinging cells known as "ptychocysts" that help defend the body of Tube Anemones from predators. ( #2021MMM
Read 16 tweets
NEXT UP: #8 seed PINK VENT FISH (Thermarces cerberus) vs #9 seed LATHE ACTEON SNAIL (Acteon tornatilis) #2021MMM  two long slender greyish pinkish fish with large round pectwo pinkish tan striped turbinate shaped shells
Pink Vent Fish is a predator associated w/ deep sea hydrothermal vents fed by volcanos in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, hence our combatant is named in honor of Cerberus, the 3-headed hound in Greek mythology who guards the entrance to the underworld alongside Hades #2021MMM  line drawing of a massive three headed dog with the tail ofglobal map of deep sea vents
Pink Vent Fish feed on vent snails, limpets, and the amphipod crustaceans (Micheli et al 2002) #WatchOutSnailTheyllChewYouUp #2021MMM Photo of a large greyish pinkish fish in its habitat
Read 16 tweets
NEXT UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 15 seed Hydra (Hydra vulgaris). This battle is a team effort from myself & @je_light #2021MMM
@je_light Midgardia Seastar is a relatively new species, described only 50 years ago! M. Seastar is an echinoderm (star fish, sea urchins & sea cucumbers) with lots of arms - in fact, it has the longest arms of any other known starfish (Downey 1972)! #2021MMM Black-and-white photograph of a star fish with a small, circ
@je_light Midgardia Seastars can have 12 long arms, each up to 600 mm in length (that's 1.76 stoats!) & can reach over 130 cm long from arm tip to arm tip (3.8 stoats!) #StoatsAsMeasurement #2021MMM
Read 15 tweets
NEXT UP: 5th seed Kinda Baboon (Papio kindae) vs 12th seed Egyptian Fruit Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) #2021MMM
This battle was a team effort between the #2021MMM team's resident bat expert @alyb_batgirl and baboon expert @chumblebiome, with #TricksyTaxonomy info from @StoneLab_ASU!
5th seed Kinda Baboon (kin-duh, not kind-a) was only recognized as a distinct species from other baboons in 2013. Previously, it was thought they might be a subspecies of the yellow baboon. #2021MMM…
Read 21 tweets
NEXT UP: #2 seed RED WOLF versus #15 seed GIANT GOLDEN MOLE, co-written by @EvolEmpiricist @StoneLab_ASU & ME!! #2021MMM A reddish and dark grey wolf lies on the groundPrepared specimen of a Giant Golden Mole on display at the N
Giant Golden Moles are ~20 cm long & up to 539 grams (4x the size of other golden moles!). They vary in color, outer fur can be slate, dark brown, reddish or yellow-ish buff (Poduschka 1980) #2021MMM Drawing of golden mole but fur has greenish tinge
Giant golden moles share some of the same bones as other animals but THEY HAVE 3 FOREARM BONES & WE HAVE 2! Skeletal similarities can be used to evaluate species relatedness & last common ancestor (Seiffert 2007) #2021MMM… Figure showing how forearm bones vary in shape between speci
Read 17 tweets
Whether you call it a panther, puma, cougar, or mountain lion - Puma concolor means lion-of-one-color. Panthers are shades of tan, coryi subsp. is darker brown to rust & kittens are gray w/ dark brown/blackish spots & five bands around the tail.… #2020MMM Image
Mountain lions are one of the most widespread felids in the Americas. Rangewide @IUCN ranks them as Least Concern but the coryi subspecies has been listed by @USFWS as an endangered species since 1967.… #2020MMM Image
Read 18 tweets
NEXT UP: Raccoon Dog (#3) vs. Northern Short-tailed Shrew (#14)!!!! #2020MMM
Raccoon Dogs are omnivores native to Eastern Asia. Despite the characteristic black bandit mask & brown fur, they are actually not closely related to raccoons! Their common name is half correct though, they are closely related to foxes. #2020MMM A dark brown individual facing the camera showing the black crecent mask from eyes to jowls and very fluffy fur
While Raccoon Dogs are smol (~70cm long or 2.3 stoats), they make up for it with floof! Their characteristic long and silky brown fur can provide greater insulating warmth than arctic foxes! #2020MMM A rotund individual standing in front of a tree with side exposed depicting long brown fur tipped in black streaks.
Read 15 tweets
NEXT UP: 3rd seed Bearcat (Arctictis binturong) vs. 6th seed Lion-Tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus)! #2019MMM Close up of a bearcat's faceClose up of a lion tail mac...
Last round we saw our mammalian #AltCat contestants "triumph" over their herp competitors: Lion-Tailed Macaque held a long protective vigil until the Cat Snake departed for tastier pastures, and Bearcat took a tumble out of a fig tree directly onto Leopard Tree Frog. #2019MMM
Lion-tailed macaques are highly endemic to the Western Ghats - India's monsoon-pattern-changing-mountain chain with forests older than the Himalayas & biodiversity up the wazoo (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!) #2019MMM… ImageImage
Read 16 tweets
NEXT UP: # 4 SEED FISHER VERSUS # 5 SEED TIGER OWL #2019MMM photo credits: Tom Kogut
Tiger owls are generally "free from natural enemies" predators such as coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions & are known to attack humans who get too close to their nests (Baumgartner 1939) #TheyWillCutYou #2019MMM
Males & females tiger owls mature by year 3 & females are larger. They produce 1-6 eggs/season & alternate roosting & hunting during the nesting season. Males do most of the hunting while females spend their time protecting the brood. (Baumgarter 1939) #2019MMM
Read 24 tweets
NEXT UP: #5 seed Beaver (Rodentia: Castor canadensis) vs #13 seed Rakali (Rodentia: Hydromys chrysogaster). It's #TeamRodent vs #TeamRodent! #2019MMM
In Waterfalls Round 1, Beaver tail slap sent Mink circuitously for a muskrat meal. A poacher's gunshot took out Peccary & Rakali advanced #2019MMM
Beavers influence entire ecosystems, even in the face of wildfires. #ActualLivingScientist @EmilyFairfax reveals how busy Beavers engineer an ecosystem: #2019MMM
Read 19 tweets
NEXT UP: 9-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus; 10) vs STREAKED TENREC (Hemicentetes semispinosus; 15)! #2019MMM
Last week, the 9-banded armadillo went up against & suffered no injuries due to the sifaka during its nice vacation to Madagascar.

The streaked tenrec also suffered no injuries (other than to its pride) against its battle with the markhor. #2019MMM
The tenrec is now transported from the rocky ledge in cold northeast Afghanistan to a patch of scrubland in the much milder state of Texas, where our armadillo is just leaving his burrow & where tonight's battle takes place! #2019MMM
Read 14 tweets
NEXT UP: 2nd seed West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) vs. 10th seed Aquatic Genet (Genetta piscivora) #2019MMM
In the first round of the Waterfalls Division, we saw Manatee triumph over the Ring-tailed Vontsira via nibble and Aquatic Genet eek out a victory over the Marine Otter thanks to a close encounter of the orca kind. #2019MMM
We again find Manatee facing off against a much smaller furry reddish opponent. Will the extra three stoats the Aquatic Genet has on the Vontsira be the key to victory?? #SoVeryDifferent #SuchAdvantage #2019MMM
Read 16 tweets
UP NEXT: 4-seed BHARAL versus 12-seed ROCK-WALLABY #2019MMM
During round 1, the rock-wallaby upset the serval with one wicked kick #CrouchingMacropodHiddenWallaby #YouGotSERValED #2019MMM
And to recap, this 10lb/4.5kg/21stoat sized marsupial edemic to northeastern Queensland in good ol' Oz… photo by @MichalKrause #StoatsAsMeasurement #2019MMM
Read 19 tweets
Next up: 6th-seeded Diana Monkey (Cercopithecus diana) & Red Colobus Monkey (Procolobus badius) #SimianSquad vs. 11th-seeded Bornean Bat (Kerivoula hardwickii) & Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes hemsleyana) #TeamBatToilet. #2019MMM
(n.b. This is a colloboration between myself and @tinkeringprim8 #TagTeamTeamwork #2019MMM)
Our setting this afternoon is the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. This tropical evergreen forest is home to almost a dozen different primate species, including both of these monkeys... #2019MMM
Read 18 tweets
NEXT UP: #8 seed Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) versus #9 seed Water Chevrotain (Hyemoschus aquaticus) aka mouse deer #2019MMM
Flat-headed cat occurs throughout the southern Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, & Borneo in low tropical forests (including oil palm plantations). They also occur in riparian habitats.… #2019MMM
Flat-headed cats are small, about the size of a domestic cat (1.5-2.75 kg), with a short stubby tail. Flat-headed cats can't retract their claws (neither can fishing cats or cheetahs!) (Sunquist & Sunquist 2002) #2019MMM
Read 17 tweets

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