Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All About Animal Communication

Singing Yellow Warbler
For the May 4th and May 11th shows, we covered topics in animal communication. In the first installment, we covered the definition of animal communication and channels through which animals communicate (e.g. visual, auditory, chemical). (No podcast was able to be posted of this show… sorry!).

Photuris firefly preying on another firefly species
In the May 11th episode (download podcast here), we continued our discussion of animal communication with the evolution of animal signals. Download the podcast to learn about competing theories for the function of communication, how raw materials for communication become ritualized over time, and some factors that shape the evolution of signals. We concluded with dishonesty in signaling, as represented by the female Photuris firefly, which mimics the flashes of females from another firefly species. The poor, unwitting males, thinking they’re coming in for some sweet love, are instead captured and devoured by the deceitful Photuris!

Some news stories from the two episodes...
American Alligator

Some of the critters we heard from over the two weeks included the Saddleback Tamarin, Wild Turkey, and American Alligator (pictured right).

My goodness we heard some rockin' music during these episodes, including tracks from artists such as Cat Power, Audible, Television, The Chemical Brothers, The Big Sleep, Cut Copy, LCD Soundsystem, Thelonius Monk, and more!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Amazing Animal Architects

In the April 27th episode (download podcast here), we learned about some crafty critters and their architectural masterpieces, including termite mounds (pictured left), which have “air conditioning” and can be up to 30-ft tall (that's like a mile-high in the termite world)! Other natural "buildings" that made the list included huge beaver dams, socialable weaver condos, mud dauber death chambers, and massive spider webs! Thanks to the folks at who continue to put together these comic lists of fascinating stories from the natural world.

 In the news...

Nine-banded Armadillo
We listened to some interesting vocalizations including the Nine-banded armadillo, American Beaver, and Prairie Dog.

As for music, we heard from folks like Modest Mouse, Darwin Deez, Velvet Underground, Electralane, Headlights, Sparklehorse, and more! Good times!