A little world made cunningly (UPDATED)

NOTE: BY THE TIME I’M WRITING THIS, ENRICO MADE CLEAR THAT HE’LL NEVER BE A REGULAR WRITER HERE AT THE CLADOGRAM. I’LL LEAVE THE FOLLOWING POST AS IT WAS, AND I HOPE HE’LL WRITE SOME GUEST ARTICLES IN THE FUTURE, BUT FOR NOW IT’S JUST YOU AND ME, FOLKS.

FRANCESCO

Hello readers, and welcome to The Cladogram!

To start things off, we should say what a cladogram is, and what this blog is for. A cladogram is the representation of an evolutionary tree, based on morphological, palaeontological and molecular data to ensure that it stands true to the real relations between biological groups and to their evolutionary history. It’s an essential tool for the study of biodiversity and evolution. And in a world where science, biology and ecology are becoming more and more important every day, it is our intention to do our best with what we know to try to convince you that even the most insignificant-looking creature is, to use John Donne’s words, “a little world made cunningly”.

We will post here about astoundingly interesting topics such as the effects of global warming on flamingoes, the reason why it is so important for mammals to stink and the crucial information you can obtain from monkey dung.

And now, to introduce ourselves:

Francesco

I was born in 1990 in Bologna, Italy, but my story actually started a long time before, in 1935, when naturalist Gerald Durrell (10 years old at the time) went to live on the greek island of Corfu. That sojourn became a source of inspiration for Durrell’s book My Family and other Animals: I read that book as a child, and it was one of the main reasons my interests, at the time focused only on dinosaurs (which I still regard as the most kick-ass Chordates to ever appear on this planet), started to broaden to all other animals, and from there to the wonderful world of ecology and evolution.

After one year of Biotechnology (not my choice, don’t ask) I finally went to study Biological Sciences here in Bologna, in the hope of becoming a researcher in the field I love the most. Other than biology and science in general, my main interests are travelling and watching movies (especially B-movies).

Enrico

A third-year Archaeology and Anthropology student at Cambridge University, my expertise lies mainly with primates, but I’ve also had some direct experience with all kinds of tropical flora and fauna in both Peru and Mexico. Besides primates and some practical stuff about life in the jungle, I don’t know nearly half as much as Francesco does about animals, but what I lack in knowledge I hope to make up for in electric enthusiasm. Yes, I am the 21-year-old that still drags his family to zoos and Natural History museums. My loves include the the grotesquely swollen nose of the proboscis monkey, the disturbingly anthropoid face of the barn owl, and the turquoise plumage of the swallow tanager, and I never cease to be amazed at how easily goats climb over the most impervious stone walls.

We hope that you will enjoy reading our blog as much as we will enjoy writing it, and please do comment our posts!