Saccorhytus coronarius Is Your Weird Cousin, Too

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Mouth. Anus. Reproductive bit in between. Isn’t that all one really needs to get by? I’m oversimplifying, of course. Lungs are helpful if you live on land, for example. But check out our newly discovered really ancient fossilized ancestor. Saccorhytus coronarious, unearthed recently by paleontologists in sedimentary rock in […]

Redux: So Hard Core

When I first met Brian Fisher, I was still a young science writer cutting my teeth in the Bay Area. I desperately wanted to write a feature about him but could never sell the story. So, finally, I wrote about him here on LWON and again in a sequel, here. Sigh. I could have done […]

The trouble with abundance

There are several things you’re likely to notice if you fly over Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago on a clear day. If you’re an alpine junky like me, the first will be the snowcapped mountains that stretch seemingly without end from near the coast to the eastern horizon somewhere in Canada, their white-and-gray-tongued glaciers pouring all […]

Stop Underestimating Chickens

One of my favorite things about my usual writing beat (living things) is that we humans never stop learning new things about animals. We’re even still discovering species that are new to science. (Check out the glorious ruby sea dragon, previously known only from beach corpses, and Hoolock tianxing, a gibbon just determined to be its own […]

A Book About Whales

A little before Christmas I saw a stage production of Moby Dick. It was a wonderful production, by the Lookingglass Theater Company from Chicago, so creative in how it showed the depicted life at sea and on land. Actors climbed around in the rigging and dangled by their ankles. While the ship’s crew was thoroughly […]

The Ghost of Old Mom

Any suburban teenager can tell you that rumors live and die in the over-lit hallways of malls. How many times was I dumped outside a Wet Seal? None, because I was not popular enough to have boyfriends in high school. But plenty of other people were! Anyway, you know what I mean. Malls are the […]

Cicada On My Window

I’ve written before about how much I like seeing a bug on a window. Usually I see those bugs on the outside. This is a story about a bug that I saw on the inside. It was a chilly morning in November. I was in a hotel in Tatopani, a Nepali town along the Kali […]