Friday, April 22, 2005

Friends of the Evolution

My friend Scott read a lengthy entry on my professional blog and sent me an email saying: "You saw a good National Geographic program on human evolution and you didn't tell me about it?!"

How cool is it to have friends that are offended when you don't tell them about something evolution-related!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Cave Tarantula, Madagascar

Cave Spider, Madagascar

Originally uploaded by

I took a trip to Madagascar in October of 2001. While there, I visited the Ankarana site, where a huge limestone massif rises from the landscape. The formation is riddled with caves and other formations, such as tsingy (a geologic term that comes directly from Malagasy). I snapped this photo while walking through an vast cave, on the floor of which was a gigantic dune of bat guano.

Not long ago, Nova ran an episode called "Secrets of the Crocodile Caves" showing the very same species. They referred briefly to spider as "this poisonous tarantula." (Which is a little disconcerting, since I tried to get a for-scale shot of it by putting my thumb next to it.)

I'm curious to see whether anyone knows more about this particular spider. Has it been studied at all?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Post Costa Rica

Now on the return flight from Costa Rica. Kim and I had a great time at Drake Bay, and really did not want to leave when our time came up.

I got my first chance to use the PADI open water dive certification that I got a year ago. The dives were spectacular, and one of the experienced divers (divemaster with over 400 dives) told me that I was probably going to have inflated expectations going into my next dive. We saw Moray Eels in good number, and on each of the four dives we saw several white-tipped sharks calmly cruising the reef or idling on the sandy bottom. Fishes there numbered in the thousands per school and the variety was staggering. Best of all was that I got to swim with a Pacific Giant Manta on my first and second dive. It was absolutely amazing.