Friday, July 15, 2016

JMIH 2016:Plenary #4

The fourth plenary was about herpetological progress-or the lack thereof. It mainly discussed stuff we don't know about anoles-and stuff we don't know we don't know! This included stuff like four divergences in anoles on just one tiny island, with the same going for all other widespread Carribean anoles. And there's huge amounts of stuff we don't know we don't know, so to know it, we haven't even tried to study it because we don't know we don't know it! Then, Anolis sp. from Hispaniola, an island on which we thought we knew everything about its wildlife. We thought it was, as I put it, "herped-out". And for some reason, the anoles similarly evolved in Cuba and Hispaniola. We don't know that! Now, these anoles were supposed to be territorial. They weren't. They were mating with out-of-territory anoles! Also, we, as in the herpetological community, thought Anolis proboscis was extinct. A group of birdwatchers proved us wrong! Also, there's huge amounts of stuff we don't know about A. proboscis like, say, we thought the horn was stiff. It wasn't! It was flexible and movable. There weren't supposed to be muscles there, so how does it move? We don't know! And what purpose does it serve? Until we discovered it was limp and movable, we thought it was for combat, but a limp, bendy sword wouldn't be useful if you're fighting a war and the same goes for anoles. Also, at one point some people went to a tiny, rocky island. There are no trees and almost no plants on that island. And somehow, there is an anole there. At one point, the tourists dropped an orange peel onto the ground. The anoles swarmed all over it and ate it. So they concluded, "These lizards like orange." So, the anole people tested their conclusion by going there and bringing orange peels. It turns out, the lizards did eat them. Also, they had Chuckles candies and they dropped all the colors on the ground, to test if the anoles had a preference. And they did! The anoles overwhelmingly preferred orange and yellow. And, we still don't know basic aspects of anoles' natural history like how they evolved in all the different places they're native to, the purpose of horns in horned anoles, and so much more.

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