I was having a hard time staying focused
and motivated while studying for my comprehensive exams, especially because I find it isolating to study alone. I thought it could be fun to start sharing these cartoons I've been drawing. Who knows, maybe we'll all learn somethin' too!
#1: Genomic Conflict
This cartoon depicts the genetic conflict between parents that occurs during mammalian pregnancy. Essentially, the male's genes advocate for total investment in the current pregnancy (as opposed to future pregnancies fathered by other males), while the female's genes are expected to resist over-provisioning the fetus, which might compromise future reproduction. The only way to avoid this conflict would be if both mom and dad agreed to have strict monogamy throughout their lives, but you'll see that's not exactly what's on their minds..
#2: A marine mammal comic! Wanna learn about what it truly means to be a climate-change-fearing California girl?
Let these two ladies tell you their stories. Frugal Phocid Fran and Outrageous Otariid Odessa approach life as Cali-loving flipper-footed pinnipeds in two drastically different ways, and it affects how they're able to adapt to environmental change. Read this two-panel comic to learn about how they'll react to the next El Niño projected in Winter 2018-19.
#3: Striking out in the dating world??
It might be because you haven't employed any of these conniving tactics that the animal kingdom has dreamed up. Read "How to Win a Gal in 10 Days" for some inspiration, but please, don't try these at home.
#4: Lessons in Democracy from the Animal Kingdom:
Read about these three role models, animals that go out of their way to make sure their opinion is counted.
Some utter nonsense is coming out of the White House right now. To make sure your voice is heard in the next election, please double check that you're all set up to vote, or send in your mail-in ballots today!
#5: To Share or Not to Share
Have you ever hesitated before sharing a photo of a pristine environment or bringing a new friend to do a sport you love in a place where there aren't many other folks?
I've always dreamed of analyzing the economic considerations of surfers and comparing them to a murder of carrion-craving crows. Here is a two-part comic to explain the costs and benefits of cooperation in the animal kingdom.
Social situations are rough. Sometimes, you really need a mentor to guide you through things. Luckily, many biological systems have established mentorship programs where even animals as simple as ants are able to share in the wonders of tutelage. This comic features the first-studied nonhuman instance of teaching, where ants incur energetic costs to help others in their colony find and access food faster.
#7: Social Structure
This next comic in the series explains two vastly different breeding systems, observed in some of our closest relatives: chimps and gorillas! Learn exactly why it pays off to have large, virile testes if you're a chimpanzee, but not if you're a gorilla
#8: Sexual Selection
I feel like it's hard not to at least entertain the possibility that females are just messing with males by adorning them with ridiculously maladaptive traits like crazy hairdo's, garish coats, silly noses, and even fake hats, colors, and tails given to them by experimental scientists.
Here's some Halloween costume inspiration. What's scarier than a rampaging Australian bunny killer? Maybe a tiny sex-manipulating bacterium that hijacks bugs' genitals for its own benefit? It begs the question: how should we best fortify ourselves against these invasions? Learn the answer to all of these questions by reading my slightly-more-verbose-than-usual comic!
#10: Experimental Design
Here are three experimental designs that ingeniously, creatively, and meticulously test behavioral phenomena.
Because we are able to observe some of these behaviors in humans, I think we underestimate the careful controls and design needed to test behavioral patterns in the animal kingdom, without the cloud of anthropomorphism. To all my behavioral ecologists out there: I deeply respect what you do!