Science

Smart People/Dumb People

SMART PEOPLE have discovered that mussels in New England can evolve extremely rapidly in response to the introduction of a threatening new species of crab. I don’t mean “kind of quickly;” I mean “within a few years,” which from an evolutionary standpoint is relative to the amount of time it takes Pat Robertson to thump his Bible in frustration.

The invasive species of crab has crept into the waters of the Long Island Sound over the past 15 years, and at the time of the study the crab had yet to reach Northern Maine. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire (go New Englanders!) studied two kinds of crab: the invasive Asian crab and a green crab that was introduced into waters 200 years ago and is found in both Maine and further south.

When placed near the green crabs, both the northern and southern mussels hardened their shells to prevent them from getting skewered.

. . . hold on one second, that mental image just made my stomach growl . . . okay . . .

When placed in the vicinity of the Asian crab, southern mussels reacted by hardening their shells, but their northern counterparts did not. This showed that in the fifteen years the southern mussels have cohabitated with the Asian crab, they’ve developed the ability to recognize them and react accordingly.

FIFTEEN YEARS! Holy cow. Here’s a slightly longer and better article about this great new find.
In other news, STUPID PEOPLE say things like, “Well, some people don’t think that [the moon landing] happened, they believe that was uh reincarnated in Arizona somewhere.” They also think Star Wars was based on a true story and that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are famous sumo wrestlers. Enjoy this depressing video!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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6 Comments

  1. Considering your love of new sea life (esp. fluffy the lobster), you might find this story about VAMPIRE SEA SPIDERS (yes, you read that right) very interesting:

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/a…sh_1675573…

    "…Weird spider-like creatures that live at the bottom of the ocean and use a 'straw' to suck on their prey are baffling scientists.

    These sea spiders, some of which are blind, are defying scientific classification.

    Marine zoologist Dr Claudia Arango of the Australian Museum in Sydney agrees they are arthropods, but which type?

    …"

    Full story at the link above. Sorry about the disgusting picture. Isn't it amazing that we're still finding new species?

  2. I guess I believe that you can find these people, but my question is, do you have to interview 1,000 people for everyone one of whom who thinks Tony Blair is an actor, or do you have to interview only 5. That's the real question here in my mind.

    And I don't care how many times I see something like this, you can't convince me that there isn't something false about someone answering "New York, New Jersey,…" to a question like "what countries are in the axis of evil?" There has to be something else going on like a barrage of stupid questions leaving them confused before you see the video of such an answer.

    That or I need to go into a library and lock the door until I die of starvation.

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