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Latest Mark Norman Stories

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2009-12-14 13:25:00

Scientists once thought of tool use as a defining feature of humans. That's until examples of tool use came in from other primates, along with birds and an array of other mammals. Now, a report in the December 14th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, adds an octopus to the growing list of tool users. The veined octopus under study manages a behavioral trick that the researchers call stilt walking. In it, the soft-bodied octopus spreads itself over stacked, upright coconut...

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2009-01-30 12:16:34

Dolphins are the foodies of the ocean, deemed so because of their specific and complicated measures to purge cuttlefish of ink and bone, Australian scientists announced on Friday. A female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin was seen prepping her cuttlefish for consumption in the Spencer Gulf, located in Australia. "It's a sign of how well their brains are developed. It's a pretty clever way to get pure calamari without all the horrible bits," Mark Norman, the curator of mollusks at Museum...

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2005-05-27 15:45:13

MELBOURNE, Australia -- A 50,000-strong swarm of spider crabs gathered off a Melbourne beach this week, covering a stretch of seafloor the size of a football field and likely "scaring the hell" out of local fish, marine scientists said. Museum Victoria scientists Mark Norman and Julian Finn said they filmed the mass gathering, which was up to a meter (3.3 feet) deep in places, with crabs piled 10 high. Spider crabs are about 20 centimeters (nine inches) long with legs extending up to 40...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'