Cyclopic lambs & evo-devo-path: tribute D.Noden & H. Evans

Musculoskeletal study of cebocephalic and cyclopic lamb heads illuminates links between normal and abnormal development, evolution, and human pathologies. Nature Scientific Reports 9:991. A TRIBUTE TO HOWARD EVANS AND DREW NODEN

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Feb 11, 2019
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This paper, published by our lab some days ago, is one of my most personal papers, because it was made due to, and in honor to:

- Cornell emeritus professor Howard Evans, who pioneered such anatomical works on cyclopic lambs and personally showed me his lab/office and gave my a precious collection of biological rarities, including all the lambs included in this study. Howard is know for having a lab/office that is full of biological curiosities. Being a emeritus professor, he showed me these curiosities with the wonder and excitement of a little kid that has seen them for the first time.  

- Drew Noden, who with time, after staying in his precious house and seeing him several times here in DC, and choosing me to receive most of the amazing biological collections he put together in his amazing career, as well of most of the rare books he collected, has become a close friend. Drew has made an enormous work on developmental biology, and is a role model for many researchers. That he choose to do his last paper with me and Janine Ziermann - a former postdoc of my lab and now faculty colleague at Howard University - is something we will never forget. 

In fact, we look forward for the comments from the Nature Ecology and Evolution community, and also, if possible, I would seriously like to think about a way of paying a special tribute to both Howard Evans and Drew Noden, perhaps by promoting a special meeting, or issue? Please share your ideas.   

This paper, within the Evo-Devo-Path line of research that is a main component of our lab's efforts, on the head muscles and bones of cyclopic lambs, comparisons with cyclopic humans, and implications for human evolution, development and pathologies, was also an example of inter-departmental collaboration at Howard University, between the Radiology (Duerinckx) and Anatomy (Diogo) departments. It is also an example of the involvement of HUCM medical students (Nora Douglas), and in addition of the type of broad international collaboration and our effort to promote the work of bright non-western young researchers, often in the form of long-term research projects at Diogo's lab at HUCM, in this case of a Byelorussia's postdoc (Natalia Siomava) and of Russian (Daria Razmadze) and Colombian (Jose Fuentes) students. All of them were met personally during trips, showing the importance of traveling, research missions, and international meetings to develop international cooperations and promote the work of younger researchers. 

DIOGO R., D. RAZMADZE, N. SIOMAVA, N. DOUGLAS, J. S. M. FUENTES & A. DUERINCKX (2019). Musculoskeletal study of cebocephalic and cyclopic lamb heads illuminates links between normal and abnormal development, evolution, and human pathologies. Nature Scientific Reports 9:991.

Here's the link, paper is free: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37735-9

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Rui Diogo

Associate Professor, Howard University

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