Happy Birthday to The Cladogram!

Just after announcing the temporary hibernation of this blog, I’m BAAAAAACK! Only for today, though. ‘Cause the 23rd of august of one year ago, The Cladogram was born! Oh, what a glorious adventure during the course of a year! Well, maybe not that great, some of you might say, but I’m still pretty satisfied with what I’ve done, and I’ve learned a few more tricks about blogging. And remember all those good ol’ memories? Like when I mocked mockumentaries. Or when I shamelessly analyzed the biology in Avatar. And what about my clumsy attempts at microphotography? Not to mention the most awesome environmentalist ad ever made, and my encounters with rare animals and plants. So, I hope I’ll come back soon and better than ever. Long live The Cladogram!

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Cryptobiosis. This blog has entered it.

As you might have noticed, it’s been a couple of months since I’ve last updated this blog, but I want to assure you that I don’t want to let it die. It’s just that, except for a brief period of rest in the exotic land of Turkey, my summer has been full of work for my stage (or internship or whatever the hell you want to call it) and my exams – and it’s not over. I still have to complete the stage, write my thesis, take one last exam and choose where to continue my University adventure. So I declare officially that this blog, while not dead, certainly is in a state of cryptobiosis; don’t expect too much in the next few months, even though I might pop up sometimes with something new. See ya, folks.

R.I.P. Lonesome George

It’s been silent here for a while. I started my stage, participated in various excursions and field experiences and also took 3 exams, so it’s been one hell of a month, and not only because the temperature here is rising at an alarming rate. Hopefully I’ll deliver some more content in the next days, but today I bring you one sad piece of news: Lonesome George is dead. Remember him? He was the last of his subspecies. Now, i’m not usually the one to think that every single existing variety of every single existing species should be preserved at any cost (I think many of these cases could be taxonomic inflation, which in my opinion is more harmful than good for environmental education and sensibilization), and I don’t think that the death of a single tortoise (that additionally didn’t want to mate with any other tortoise of different subspecies) will impact in any way the survival of the species as a whole. But I must admit I’ve always found the tale of  the last Pinta tortoise and of the desperate (and sadly useless) efforts to make him reproduce very fascinating and inspiring. R.I.P. Lonesome George, and R.I.P. Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, a now extinct subspecies.

The Amazing Atheist goes Green, and Why the Fuck don’t I Post More?

TAA talks about gas prices, and in doing so speaks in support of green energy.

Anyway. I’ve deliberately decided not to feature an organism this friday, or the whole blog will soon become nothing more than a collection of Friday’s Featured Organisms. “Why don’t you post other things?” I hear you ask. Laziness could be an answer. Also, I’ve recently been involved in trying to finally start my goddamn stage; I’ll start helping soon, but apparently most of the projects will take place in summer. This solicited me to start studying for the exams I’ll have to take in the summer, so hopefully I won’t have many problems juggling the exams and the stage when the time comes. All this means less time and energy to write meaty articles. I’ll try to do better before the summer madness begins. Things I plan on doing:

1) Post more of my naturalistic photos (the “Face to face” updates)

2) Post more movie bio-reviews (the “Popcorn Biology” updates)

3) Post the second part of my mockumentary reviews (I didn’t forget!)

4) Win the penis joke wars against Jerry Coyne (this is going to be an herculean task)

See ya soon, fuckers.

Guess what…

… the only post for the next 7-8 days is gonna be the next Friday’s Featured Organism. Yeah, you guessed it, my blogging is going to slow down a bit for a while, AGAIN. Motivation? Next week I’ll take an exam in Applied Ecology and one in Evolutionary Zoology. Then peace will come for a while – then I’ll have to start thinking about Physics, since, after the passage from Biotechnology to Biological Sciences, I have to retake that exam. Whatevs. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of my relatively continuous dedication to this blog (written in a foreign language, I’d add), especially since at the beginning I was supposed to have TWO guys working on it, then the other guy retired without contributing to anything. So yeah, suck it everyone.

Friday’s Featured Organism: Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni

Lonesome George

"In my days, lady tortoises were much hotter than now..."

Most people who are interested in natural history probably have already heard of Lonesome George. Short version: as Darwin himself had noticed during his fateful journey around the world, each of the Galapagos islands had a different variety of Giant Tortoise, a wonderful example of speciation. Lonesome George , a roughly 100 years old male, is the last specimen of the Pinta island variety, Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni. Many attempts at making him reproduce with females of similar species and varieties have been made, but none has been successfull so far, and Ol’ George might one day die without leaving sons, and thus has become a sort of symbol of extremely endangered species.

Since we’re talking about tortoises, which are typically slowly moving animals, here’s an announcement: my blogging, which recently has slowed down in pace a little bit, will slow down even more for the month of december, because of University. So, if you’re one of the few people who read this, expect probably just the Friday’s Featured Organism updates, until Christmas at least. See ya soon.


The Lonely Road

So, you might remember that originally this blog was supposed to have two administrators, and you might have noticed that I was the only one to write something. That’s because Enrico decided he hasn’t the time and the will to write here regularly. Maybe he’ll write some guest posts in the future (although he’s leaving Bioanthropology for Archaeology) but for now on, it’ll mainly be just you and me here, folks.

Francesco