Field of Science

And So Much Yet to Do!

It seems hard to believe, but on this day a year has passed since I put up my very first post on Catalogue of Organisms (for the record, it was on dinoflagellates). A whole year of time spent writing posts for the blog when I should have been doing my research work (hope my supervisor doesn't read that). So what have people liked in that time? Through the magic of Google Analytics, I can tell you.

No. 1 – Gulper Eels: People really like gulper eels. In fact, with 1800 or so page-views over the year this has scored nearly double the attention of any other page. With their gigantic jaws and missing rib cages, who could fail to love them? The Cosmic Gulper will be pleased.

No. 2 – Sex Determination in Frogs: Because nothing ups the page-views like putting "sex" in the title. "Frog sex" also seems to the most commonly used search term to get to this site. I still don't know why.

No. 3 – What is a Daddy-Longlegs?: I have a confession to make. The success of this post actually kind of annoyed me. It was my first experience of the effect whereby you can spend hours working on posts and raising nary a blink, then spend five minutes putting together a couple of pictures and about five lines of text and have the thing take off on you.

No. 4 – 'Sophophora' melanogaster: The potential renaming of everyone's favourite lab animal got a lot of attention. It also sparked what I think may be Catalogue of Organisms' longest comments thread so far.

No. 5 – Development of Buddenbrockia: Parasitic amoeboids come together to form parasitic worms. How cool is that? A large part of the popularity for this post came over the course of three days, as I witnessed the power of a Pharyngulation.

No. 6 – Nettles: But as powerful as Pharyngula is, it must still take second place to the power of LiveJournal. I guess the idea of a five-metre tall deadly tree appealed to people. To quote Drhoz, "First it stings you, and then you fall into the hole and die. And if you somehow miss the hole, you die anyway".

No. 7 – Giant Fossil Cephalopods: To be honest, I'm not sure why this short little post has been so popular. I'm guessing that it may have something to do with the proximity of the phrases "buxom wench" and "tentacles".

No. 8 – Bipedal Anoplotherium: The comparison between a fossil relative of the camels and the modern gerenuk went down pretty well.

No. 9 – Arachnid Phylogeny: I still need to edit this one to make it a little easier to read. But trust me, there's a lot more to arachnids than spiders!

No. 10 – Receptaculites: In a post written to tie in with a reworking of a song by They Might Be Giants, I presented this attractive if confusing organism. Some receptaculitids do look a bit like pineapples.

Mind you, if you asked me to highlight my own favourites of the past year, I might not necessarily point at the above. I might prefer the cannibal algae, or the ostrich feet. Then there were the slime-nets, or the Strepsiptera, or the turacos.

I've learnt some things myself in the course of researching posts. I fully expected chancelloriids to be some sort of sponge - in the end I wasn't so sure. I thought the relationships within the herons were fairly well sorted. It turns out they haven't been looked at since the days of DNA-DNA hybridisation. And I learnt that Rajah took seven months to prepare for display.


  1. Congrats. I appreciate the depth and thoroughness of your entries. Looking forward to another year and many more.

  2. Happy Anniversary! Keep them coming.

  3. The cosmic gulper is pleased...

  4. Happy anniversary! Keep it up...

  5. *grins* yes, the giant nettles did appeal - we have the Giant Queensland Stinging Tree over here, but it merely makes you WISH yonhu were dead


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