Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Yeah, another bird. The manakin is both awesome and supremely silly. It's a bird that moonwalks. An actual avian Michael Jackson. They also produce a chirping sound using their wings.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
|Membracid treehopper (Tribe Stegaspidini) (source: EOL)|
So, I only found out recently that there is a documentary about a team of scientists collecting Membracidae in the Amazon. Membracidae are a family of treehoppers containing some prettty weird looking animals. They're definitely among the most spectacular insects around.
The documentary is callled 'Aliens of the Amazon' and was originally broadcast on Science Channel in 2010 (I watched it dubbed in French on ARTE).
I managed to find the first two parts on Youtube, but the last part is missing and sadly I can't find it anywhere. If anyone knows where I could, feel free to let me know. Anyway, It's definitely worth checking out.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
I guess everyone who has used Google today has seen it already: Google’s Doodle today celebrates the 366th birthday of Maria Sibylla Merian. A great naturalist and amazing artist, Maria Sibylla Merian has been something of a personal hero to me ever since I first heard about her. In fact, it is in part because of her awesome work that I started thinking about art and science, which basically lead to the creation of this blog. Sadly, as is the case with so many women in science and art, too few people know about her, even in entomologist circles.
Part of what makes her such an inspirational character is that, in the 17th century, she started drawing and studying insects, a very unusual activity back then. At that time, in Europe at least, insects were at best regarded a nuisance, at worst they were considered ‘creatures of the devil’ and bringers of disease and (agricultural) plagues. As a result, hardly anyone had ever bothered to study insects or their lifecycles, and it was commonly thought by many that insects were born by spontaneous generation from dirt, mud and rotting meat. It’s largely thanks to Maria Sibylla Merian’s work, illustrating the life cycles of butterflies and other insects (she described the life cycles of more than 180 insect species) that this somewhat bizarre superstitious belief was laid to rest.
Maria Sibylla Merian even set up her own, self-funded expedition to Surinam to illustrate and study the Surinam flora and fauna, a truly remarkable endeavor for a woman living and working in the 17th century!
And of course, her art is simply stunning.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Sunday, 24 March 2013
The class Blastoidea are an extinct group of stalked, filter feeding echinoderms that disappeared at the end of the Permian. Apparently, there's a song about them.
Saturday, 2 February 2013
Welcome to The Pentatomid's Timemachine, a blog on art, biology and the weird stuff in between written by me, a biologist, amateur artist and sci-fi geek writing from the magical land of beer and chocolate (aka Belgium).
While I'm not exactly sure yet how I want this place to evolve in the future, the idea is to make this little corner of the interwebs a place where I'll talk about art and science (particularly biology). Topics that will probably come up on a regular basis include:
- Art inspired by nature, biology and science in general.
- Speculative biology
- Palaeoart and palaeontology
- Discussion of the way art and science are connected.
- Science and art news that has caught my attention.
- Videos, pictures and websites relevant to the focus of this blog.
- Bugs, because I'm a bit of an entomology geek and I've got a thing for Heteroptera (true bugs).
So, let's have a go at this blogging thing. Allons-y!