Our minks’ new home

30 06 2016

The new young mink are settling in. There are two per cage, with 32 of these cages being Euro style (e.g. the one on the right with the sticking-out nest box), and 32 being Canadian Codes size (the two to the left whose nest boxes are inside the large original cages we’re working with).

The elevated shelf at the top is to meet Codes, but it’s also a tunnel between the two cages – closed for now, but to be opened up later when Maria asks the mink which cage size they prefer.  This phase of the study is a long one: the young mink will grow up here, and only be studied once they’ve reached adult size. So, for now, we just wait….



Maria’s road trip

30 06 2016








Maria‘s just made the long drive from East Lansing to Wisconsin  to pick up 128 juvenile Black female mink.



Driving though Chicago with a truckload of mink was apparently surreal. But the animals arrived bright-eyed and seeming fine.


Phase 4 of the Cage Size Study

29 06 2016

The fourth and final phase of the mink cage size study is about to begin. Maria‘s just spent 2-3 weeks modifying the cages that last year she set up to mimic European floor areas and the Canadian equivalents for males. This time she modified half to mimic Canadian floor areas for females (Euro cage regulations being the same for both sexes). With clever forethought last year, this now just involved shifting one wall per cage. The left hand image shows two of the cage-types (the Canadian one created by building dummy walls within each large pre-existing cage), and since it’s hard to see what’s what, on the the right one she’s outlined their footprints (NB = nest box). The size difference looks pretty dramatic to us, but will the female mink care? That is the question.



Allo-nursing in lab mice

29 06 2016

Female lab mice show allo-nursing, even when they’re not Screenshot 2016-06-28 22.07.40sisters (pictured is an albino mouse nursing the pigmented pups of her C57 cage mate).

But this nice new paper from Joe, Brianna and Kate Pritchett-Corning shows it’s not all sweetness and light in the communal nursery: average litters are smaller, and more pups are mysteriously over-groomed, compared to  when mothers raise their infants solo. Very cool stuff, and very useful for my planned DG work…


The architecture of Basil Capes

29 06 2016

CSAW hosts a ‘Basil Capes’ endowed lecture every year or three. I’ve listened to the introduction each time, but somehow never took in that he was an architect, nor the era in which he was working, until this

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fabulous 1955 bungalow was featured in the Globe & Mail this week.

Home stretch for Mike

26 06 2016

Mike’s sooooo nearly done writing – he plans to get the whole thesis to his committee in the next couple of days, and then the revised copy off to his examiners by the end of July.


Folk physics in cats

26 06 2016

Nice find from Jamie. Click here for a write-up of the study.

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