Some birds sing the same song for hundreds of thousands of years

A new study by biologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Missouri State University in Springfield, however, documents songs in East African sunbirds that have remained nearly unchanged for more than 500,000 years, and perhaps for as long as 1 million years, making the songs nearly indistinguishable from those of relatives from which they’ve long been separated.

Leaping squirrels! Parkour is one of their many feats of agility

Biologists like Robert Full at the University of California, Berkeley, have shown over the last few decades how animals like geckos, cockroaches and squirrels physically move and how their bodies and limbs help them in sticky situations — all of which have been applied to making more agile robots. But now they are tackling a harder problem: How do animals decide whether or not to take a leap? How do they assess their biomechanical abilities to know whether they can stick the landing?

New book on species concepts by professor Brent Mishler

A new book entitled “What, if Anything, are Species?” by IB Professor Brent Mishler explores this controversial topic in detail, based on 40 years of investigation. He concludes that species are nothing special; entities currently given that rank are simply clades like taxa at all other levels on the tree of life, smaller or larger than the traditional species level.  He goes into the advantages of fully rankless classification, and of a multi-level approach to ecology and evolution.

Congratulations to Kirsten Verster and Leslea Hlusko for Winning the Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times Award

The Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times Award is intended to honor UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and student instructors who in 2020 embraced the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and engaged in or supported excellent teaching. These instructors and staff used innovative methods and worked beyond their traditional roles to ensure that students remained engaged and supported, and were challenged to do meaningful work under extraordinary circumstances.

Marian Diamond Day

It was proclaimed on March 14th, 2017, also known as "Pi Day" and is Albert Einstein's birthday (and on every March 14th henceforth) that it is Marian Diamond Day in the City of Berkeley. 

Professor Marian Diamond loved to bake pies, and was the first person to publish research on Einstein's brain. We honor her memory this upcoming Pi Day.




William Clemens, expert on fossil mammals, dies at 88

Bill Clemens, who died peacefully of metastatic cancer at his home in Berkeley on Nov. 17 at the age of 88, became one of the most persuasive voices against the impact hypothesis. He represented many biologists and paleontologists who, seeing continual turnover of life in the fossil record, challenged the catastrophism of physicists like Luis Alvarez, geologists like his son, Walter, and, increasingly, the public, which found the impact hypothesis very compelling.