Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011 • 4:17 am

Being in Madrid, I’m unable to indulge in the gustatory excess that so characterizes America on this day, but don’t pity me: tonight the evolution conference is having our official Congress dinner by the penguin tank (the pingüinario) at Madrid’s Faunia Nature Park.  I see that the polar exhibit has no fewer than six species of pingüinos on display.  I am of course, a penguinophile, and am much looking forward to it. Here are our dinner companions:

I wonder if we’ll have fish for dinner!

The meeting of the Spanish Society for Evolutionary Biology has been great so far.  It’s well organized and they’re treating us excellently.  Sadly for me, many of the talks are in Spanish, and though I’ve gone to a few, my comprehension is abysmal.  Most of the plenary talks, though, have been by anglophones. I talked on speciation, Richard Fortey gave an engaging talk on the morphology and presumed lifestyle of trilobites (he’s a delightful man who has enlightened me in several conversations about these ex-beasts), Helena Cronin talked this morning about innate differences between men and women and how they translate into performance in the workplace, and tomorrow Nick Lane, author of the fine book Life Ascending, will discuss the role of mitochondria in evolution.

So enjoy el pavo; I’ll be sitting at the table with aquatic birds.

18 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. “I wonder if we’ll have fish for dinner!”

    “I am of course, a penguinophile, and am much looking forward to it.”

    Make sure you translate that correctly, or the fish will be followed by penguin?

  2. Richard Fortey – now I’m really envious. His books are awesome, I get all fangirly just thinking about them. And for the record trilobites are fantastic.

    1. Got him to sign his book about the natural History Museum last year – great book. And Nick Lane, he is a great and entertaining speaker – at UCL of course – & I got him to sign Life Ascending. I am that nerdy that I always take the book to try & get the author to sign it!

        1. An advantage of living in London. Have to keep your eyes open but there are lots of free lectures; LSE, UCL, Royal Society, RI (they charge £10) etc.

  3. That sounds like a much better time than I’m having…

    Not a huge fan of thanksgiving, in much the same way I’m not a huge fan of xmas. Don’t know who to thank, and I’m absolutely certain that naive americans don’t see the holiday quite the way that I was brought up with it. OTOH, I celebrate the Solstice and Yule, so I can join with friends and family in enjoying a harvest celebration.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Jerry and all the followers of your blog, be they American or not. Although I do find it a task to minimize my eating, with all the good food around, I really do try to focus on lets people know what I am thankful for, and often it is them.

  5. Jerry, Have you seen any gay penguins? Recent reports in the news tell of the temporary separation of a gay couple in some zoo, I forget where. It should be noted, as I am sure you know, that homosexual behavior has been documented in hundreds of different wild and domestic species. I use that factoid to persuade religious folk that homosexuality is not by choice. Any comments?

      1. The most recent “gay” penguins are the Toronto Zoo; they were temporarily separated for breeding purposes, since they are members of an endangered species:


        The decision provoked some controversy:


  6. “and tomorrow Nick Lane, author of the fine book Life Ascending, will discuss the role of mitochondria in evolution”

    I’m imagining that neutrino abstract from a few days ago:

    Title: “The role of mitochondria in evolution.”

    Abstract: “There isn’t one.”


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