Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Miss Behavior’s Picks of 2012

The "Best in Show" for 2012:
The Top 5 Animal Physiology
and Behavior Blog Posts of 2012.
Photo from
‘Tis the season for year-end lists. As we sift through lists of the most downloaded songs, most popular books, best movies, most interesting people, and most embarrassing moments of 2012, I would feel remiss if I did not contribute my own year-end list for the best animal physiology and behavior blog posts. There have been so many great blog posts across the interwebs this year, it was hard to choose. These are my picks for The Top 5 Animal Physiology and Behavior Blog Posts of 2012 (not including The Scorpion and the Frog posts, of course, and in no particular order).

1. Paternal care is rare in the animal kingdom. Males taking care of babies that aren’t even their own is exceptional. Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish talks about the strange case of a snail species in which males don’t just care for their own babies, but other snails’ babies too in Long-Suffering Snail Dads Carry Illegitimate Babies.

2. Jordan Gaines at Gaines, on Brains explains exactly what happens to your cat when you give her that catnip-filled toy in Catnip Fever: Why Your Cat Acts High.

3. Chimpanzees don’t just use tools, but they carefully select them. Jason Goldman at The Thoughtful Animal writes about how scientists discovered this chimpanzee decision-making process in For Chimps, Tool Choice Is A Weighty Matter.

4. Everything you have ever wanted to know about turtle penises (and much, much more) is brilliantly explained in Tetrapod Zoology by Darren Naish at Terrifying Sex Organs of Male Turtles.

5. In Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong explains how fairy wrens know which babies are theirs in Fairy Wrens Teach Secret Passwords to Their Unborn Chicks to Tell Them Apart From Cuckoo Impostors.


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