Why this blog name?

Why the blog name?

In no particular order:

– I identify strongly with felines (yeah, no kidding, right?), but small rodents are interesting little creatures. Oh, yes. I like them, too, at least more often than not.

– Like it or not, mice are also important model organisms in the lab. Yes, there are a number of model organisms, all of which are used to tell us important things about different aspects of biology. But mice are mammals, like us — and more than that, they are fast-breeding, small, tameable, easily-fed, easily-kept mammals which seem to have a high tolerance for inbreeding, and which are thus kept in huge numbers and have been bred and inbred into lines which are internally genetically identical to each other and different from the other lines in very specific ways, and which can then be used for all KINDS of cool (though not necessarily for the mice) experiments which tell us what part of the genome might do what.  And, rodents are our closest non-primate relatives (aside from flying lemurs and colugos, anyway).

– One of the ways in which the health and well-being of such mice is monitored is through the quality of their vocalisations.

– And, having said that, the fact that male mice not only squeak but sing little birdsong-like stanzas in order to attract females was a very recent discovery. For tens of thousands of years we have shared our living spaces (and all too reluctantly, our food) with mice, they have surrounded us, and yet this reality of our little mammal cousins remained entirely undetected because it, as with so much of the rest of the world, was outside the boundaries of what our raw senses could tell us. The discovery of mousesong had to wait on both advances of technology and a formal, systematic exploration of the world around us.

– Although in recent years my hearing has suffered (I believe I can only hear to about 19MHz now), in my twenties I could hear up to 22MHz+ and I honestly enjoyed being privy to the world of “ultrasound.” Most of the time, anyway.

– And having said all that, on a purely aesthetic level I really enjoy the idea of a bunch of little mousies twittering away like songbirds, singing “over here! Over here! Look at me!” And I relate that on a symbolic level to this being a blog…..even though my purpose here is not to attract a mate. Really. I got one of those, already.

– And as for “by moonlight”, well, I *AM* as nocturnal as I can get away with.


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