People across cultures have revered nature for giving life to all things and Mother Nature is often personified as nurturing, benevolent, and seeking to promote the abundance of life. But Mother Nature is not always so nice. Nature also can wreak havoc in the animal kingdom, and has evolved things such as parasites capable of mind control, cannibalistic mates, and fetuses that eat their siblings in utero. In the second installment of our Science is Stranger than Fiction series and just in time for Halloween, Leslie New, PhD, assistant professor of statistics at WSU Vancouver, will take us on a tour of some of the fascinating, horrifying, and totally natural ways that Mother Nature can be ruthless.
Leslie New, PhD is an assistant professor of statistics at WSU Vancouver. She specializes in using and developing statistical methodologies to improve the understanding, management and conservation of wildlife populations. A personal interest in the macabre keeps her exploring weird museum specimens and strange evolutionary traits in animals, while her main research on marine mammal and avian species keeps her busy on a day to day basis.