The tortoise and the touchscreen

Ig Nobel Prize winners Anna Wilkinson [pictured here, with a tortoise] and Ludwig Huber have now done an experiment with four tortoises and a touchscreen. (Wilkinson and Huber, together with colleagues Natalie Sebanz and Isabella Mandl, were awarded the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize for physiology, for their study “No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise.”) The new study is: […]

Constipation on two levels (tortoise and journal), both relieved

Comes twofold news of constipation relief: “Alleviation of a gastrointestinal tract impaction in a tortoise using an improvised vibrating massager,” Emma Nicholas and Clifford Warwick, Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2011. A press release issued by the Animal Protection Agency gives details: “On arrival at the vets in Barons Court, London, […]

Attenborough Can Make Anything More Dramatic

Sir David Attenborough’s sonorous tones add a measure of gravitas to any nature documentary. In this video from BBC One’s Graham Norton Show, Sir Attenborough lends the power of his voice to narrate a video of a retifistic tortoise’s unsuccessful advances toward a shoe. (HT to Jerry Coyne for sharing this via his blog) Bonus: […]

On Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise

Scientists know a bit more about contagious yawning – one of science’s utter mysteries – than they did a year ago, thanks to a study called No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise,Geochelone carbonaria. The study’s authors say their experiments, conducted with seven tortoises, might help eliminate some of the many competing theories as […]