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Podcast Episode #211: “Richard Wassersug”

Richard Wassersug and The Tastiness (or Palatability) of Tadpoles, Motion Sickness in Amphibians, Frog Copulation in Microgravity, Reactions of a Snake and Turtle, Ecstatic About Eunuchs, Eggs All Sorts, Bird, Flesh, Every Kind, The Ups and Downs of Cows, and the Birth of Murphy’s Law.

In episode #211, Marc Abrahams shows some unfamiliar research studies to Jean Berko Gleason and Melissa Franklin. Dramatic readings and reactions ensue.

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1. Marc Abrahams encounters:

On the Comparative Palatability of Some Dry-Season Tadpoles from Costa Rica,” Richard Wassersug, The American Midland Naturalist, vol. 86, no. 1, July 1971, pp. 101-9

2. Melissa Franklin encounters:

The Behavioral Reactions of a Snake and a Turtle to Abrupt Decreases in Gravity,” R. Wassersug and A. Izumi-Kurotani, Zoological Science, vol. 10, no. 3., June 1, 1993, p. 505.

3. Jean Berko Gleason encounters:

Motion Sickness in Amphibians,” Richard J. Wassersug, Akemi Izumi-Kurotani, Masamichi , and Tomio Naitoh, Behavioral and Neural Biology, vol. 60, 1993, pp. 42-51. 

4.Melissa Franklin encounters:

Amphibian Amplexus in Microgravity,” Tomio Naitoh, Masamichi Yamashita, Akemi Izumi-Kurotani, Shigefumi Yokota, and Richard J. Wassersug, ” Zoological Science, vol. 12, no. 1, 1995, pp. 113-116.

5. Marc Abrahams encounters:

Roberts, Lesley F., Michelle A. Brett, Thomas W. Johnson, and Richard J. Wassersug (2007). ‘A Passion for Castration: Characterizing Men Who Are Fascinated with Castration, but Have Not Been Castrated.’ Journal of Sexual Medicine 5 (7): 1669–80.

Brett, Michelle A., Lesley F. Roberts, Thomas W. Johnson, and Richrard J. Wassersug (2007). ‘Eunuchs in Contemporary Society: Expectations, Consequences and Adjustments to Castration. Part II.’ Journal of Sexual Medicine 4 (4): 946–55.

6. Marc Abrahams encounters:

Cott, Hugh B. (1945). ‘The Edibility of Birds.’ Nature 156 (3973): 736–37.

–– (1947). ‘The Edibility of Birds – Illustrated by 5 Years Experiments and Observations (1941–1946) on the Food Preferences of the Hornet, Cat and Man – and Considered with Special Reference to the Theories of Adaptive Coloration.’ Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 116 (3-4): 371–524.
–– (1948). ‘Edibility of the Eggs of Birds.’ Nature 161 (4079): 8–11.
–– (1951). ‘The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds – Illustrated by Experiments on the Food Preferences of the Hedgehog (erinaceus-europaeus).’ Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 121 (1): 1–40.
–– (1952). ‘The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds: Illustrated by Three Seasons’ Experiments (1947, 1948 and 1950) on the Food Preferences of the Rat (Rattus norvegicus); and with Special Reference to the Protective Adaptations of Eggs Considered in Relation to Vulnerability.’ Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 122 (1): 1–54.
–– (1953). ‘The Palatability of the Eggs of Birds – Illustrated by Experiments on the Food Preferences of the Ferret (Putorius-Furo) and Cat (Felis-Catus) – With Notes on Other Egg-Eating Carnivora.’ Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 123 (1): 123–41.
–– (1954). ‘The Palatability of Eggs and Birds: Mainly Based upon Observations of an Egg Panel.’ Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 124 (2): 335–463.

7. Marc Abrahams encounters:

Tolkamp, Bert J., Marie J. Haskell, Fritha M. Langford, David J. Roberts and Colin A. Morgan (2010). ‘Are Cows More Likely to Lie Down the Longer They Stand?’ Applied Animal Behaviour Science 124, (1-2): 1–10. 

Osterman, Sara, and Ingrid Redbo (2001). ‘Effects of Milking Frequency on Lying Down and Getting Up Behaviour of Dairy Cows.’ Applied Animal Behaviour Science 70 (3): 167–76.

8. Marc Abrahams encounters:

For a detailed history of the birth and subsequent history of Murphy’s Law — and the heroic role played by John Paul Stapp — see “The Fastest Man on Earth,” by Nick T. Spark, Annals of Improbable Research, volume 9, number 5, September/October 2003. Much of the account here is based on Nick Spark’s research, which he eventually expanded  into a book called A History of Murphy’s Law. Some additional information is also available from the museum at Edwards Air Force Base.

Bruce PetschekAudio Engineer

Jon ShedlerAudio Engineer

Seth GliksmanProduction Assistant

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