Talks, books, leks

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I went to two great talk today. First Robert Ricklefs, one of the central researchers in parasitology today, and a leading expert on avian Malaria, who held a very interesting talk about his research, focusing much on the malaria of North American migrants and Caribbean non-migrants. A very tricky subject, but fascinating. We may try to do something similar for the Brueelia project when we collect in Sweden the next few years.

The second was Brian Hare, who talked about intelligence in chimps, bonobos, and dogs, and who has been researching these three species from a cognitive and behavioral angle. He talked much about how dogs, possible because they are domesticated, are much better at for instance understanding human signals than chimps and bonobos are, despite them being more closely related to us. He also showed a great video of how a bonobo that has access to food will open a door and let another bonobo into the room to share the food, rather than doing what the chimps do, and simply eat all the food.

The latter talk was held at the city library, and they happened to have a book sale for the Friends of the Library, so I became a Friend and brought home a bunch of books, including some Vance stories I haven’t read before, and the first half of Das Kapital. All their field guides were a bit outdated, though, so I didn’t get any. But their overflow sale was HUGE. There must have been about a hundred thousand books, videos, CDs, DVDs, and so on, on virtually any subject, and I didn’t even have time to look in more than one of their rooms.

Tomorrow morning, we go to see a Greater Sage Grouse lek just outside town. I hope to be able to get some great pictures to show, but I won’t have time to upload them until next week, as I’ll go to Moab (or near Moab, at least) again this weekend, this time with the Free Skool, to learn about biodiversity in a desert environment.

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