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.