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Elizabeth Preston
Works at MUSE magazine
Attended Williams College
Lives in Somerville, MA
486 followers|6,747,522 views
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Elizabeth Preston

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One thing you won’t find in the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the part where after transforming into a butterfly, he mates with a female who has a Very Hungry Reproductive Tract waiting to devour his sperm. She has a special digestive organ just for this purpose. It’s so powerful that it could even …
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Elizabeth Preston

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To these males, the best-looking females aren't even the right insect.
The squash bug mating orgies that biologist Christine Miller began noticing in gardens around Gainesville were nothing unusual. Dozens of insects were crowded together, the petite males along with the bulkier females, to search for partners. The unusual thing was that some males were copulating with females of the wrong species—apparently, they found them irresistible. When Jen Hamel arrived …
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Elizabeth Preston

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It's OK; we've all done it.
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Elizabeth Preston

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Who doesn't enjoy a cephalopod surprise?
Of course there’s nothing ordinary about an octopus. It’s the animal that showed us spinelessness doesn’t have to mean a lack of smarts. But when researchers brought some octopuses into the lab to study exactly how the animals move, their findings were bizarre—both predictably and unpredictably. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem studied nine common …
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Marmoset moms know how to use the silent treatment, too.
No one expects a human infant to slide into the world with a good grasp of grammar. Marmosets, another kind of chatty primate, are also poor conversationalists when they’re young. But their parents seem to teach them how it’s done. Young marmosets learn the cardinal rule of having a conversation: don’t interrupt. And if they mess up, …
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Why the coyote crossed the road: it was diseased.
Run-ins are on the rise between coyotes and city-dwelling humans, and scientists aren’t sure why. Now researchers in Alberta think they’ve found a piece of the puzzle. Coyotes are more likely to creep into human spaces if they’re unhealthy. Conflict between humans and coyotes has increased during the last 20 years, write University of Alberta graduate student …
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Elizabeth Preston

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Hi friends, Earlier this month, while I was busy taking screenshots of autofill suggestions for medical searches on Google, something shocking happened: Inkfish had its five-year anniversary. Five years!!  It’s about twice the lifespan of a pet hamster. It’s closer to three times the lifespan of a common octopus. In that time I’ve written 519 posts, had three …
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Quiz time! If you lose you have to take home a baby crocodile.
Sure, there are faces only a mother could love. And then there are faces no mother loves, because they belong to animals that fend for themselves from birth. The babies we find cutest—no matter what species they are—may have evolved to look that way because they need a parent’s attention. That means even a crocodile …
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In the future when touch screens are obsolete and we control our devices by facial gesture, maybe we’ll zoom in and out the same way a bat does it. We’ll open our mouths wide to narrow our field of focus. To see the bigger picture, we’ll purse our lips tightly. But while we’ll only be reading the …
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Why would two stubby-legged, blue-tongued Australian reptiles want to stay together not just for a mating season, but for decades? A 31-year study of the reptiles has suggested an answer. While newly formed couples are still getting to know each other, lizards in long-term relationships can start mating earlier in the season. And dispensing with the foreplay might …
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Good news if you're hoping to join a degu huddle, as I am.
If you’re a small animal in a cold environment, being standoffish is a bad survival strategy. That’s why animals of many kinds huddle for warmth. They put their furred or feathered bodies right up against their neighbors’ and conserve energy that they would otherwise spend heating themselves. One especially adorable huddler is the degu (Octodon degus), a …
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Degu is a rodent, originally native to Chile. A degu is most closely related to chinchillas, guinea pigs, porcupines. All of which are classified Parvorder Caviomorpha under Order Rodentia.
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A photoessay about robots, runners, and Solo cups.
The Robot Race and Human 5K brought together humans and non-humans of all speeds in Cambridge, MA. ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 20 I never pass up a robot race. I can say this because I have heard of exactly one robot race ever, and I did not pass it up. On April …
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Have her in circles
486 people
mohamed magdy's profile photo
Claudio Del Duca's profile photo
Andy Freeberg's profile photo
Jeffrey Perkel's profile photo
Steven Roberts's profile photo
john jon's profile photo
Miller Site's profile photo
accovaBrain Scientist's profile photo
Lisa Willemse's profile photo
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  • MUSE magazine
    Editor, present
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Currently
Somerville, MA
Previously
Chicago
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Introduction
Editor of MUSE, an educational magazine for kids. Author of Inkfish, a science blog for everyone. Compulsive pedestrian.
Education
  • Williams College
    Biology, English, 2003 - 2007
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Female