Friday, April 9, 2010

What is beautiful to you?

Testing the air

A gila monster, one of two venomous species of lizards. Taken at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wi. Its teeth are under the gum tissue, but you can see their impressive chompers at this site. Their venom is not particularly dangerous to humans causing pain and local damage, but the injury and reaction to the venom can cause the bitten person to go into shock.

I was at a meeting of herpetologists when an award was being presented for lifetime contributions to the field, and the presenter spoke about the difference between taxon specific biologists (those of us who specialize in the biology of a group like herps) and other biologists who study a process like genetics or physiology. One differences she had found between the groups is that taxon specific biologists see members of group of their interest as beautiful. I went through this long explanation so viewers might understand that when I look at this lizard, I am fascinated and awestruck, and I do find this lizard beautiful.

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