22 June 2008

Evolution 2008: day two

Today, at Evolution 2008, I learned:
  • The nectar-feeding bat Anoura fistulata has a tongue 150% as long as the rest of its body, which retracts all the way into the ribcage. This seems to be because it's in an evolutionary "arms race" with the corollas of the flowers that it pollinates.
  • Luciferase, the enzyme that makes fireflies light up, probably arose by gene duplication from a metabolic protein - and it still retains the original metabolic function.
  • The horns of male hissing cockroaches are "honest indicators" of immune system health.
  • It is totally possible to start a talk by saying that you're going to answer a question which, by the end of the talk, you still haven't answered.


  1. Those hissing cockroaches sound ninja awesome! I hope your presentation went well and you weren't refrencing your own failure to answer a question. That doesn't sound like good scientist form to me. But then again, I obsess over which wine or beer goes best with my dinner...

  2. Krista -

    No, that wasn't my talk I was referring to (at least, I hope no one would describe it that way!) - mine went pretty smoothly. As I get further along in preparing those results for publication, I'll try and post about them here.