Thursday, November 02, 2006

We're way up there, towards the top...

This is stolen from Tolweb. Try clicking up and down the tree to get an idea of the scale just of the butterfly family

Why study a particular model organism? Fruit Fly, Mouse, Rat, Chimp, Chinese Hamster, Barn Owls... most animals are chosen for convenience, rarely for the question being asked. Rather, the tool determines the sorts of questions the lab can ask. A bad example of this is a lab
studying olfaction in a species that is not known to use smell for any ecologically-relevant behavior. A good example of this was when Konishi used barn owls to study auditory processing.

Many jokes are made about whether scientists are studying mice or vice versa, but the truth is that learning the techniques, terminology, and temperament of an organism has a steep learning curve, and often the survival of the postdoc and his mice are yoked together.

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