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Editor's Note

Perspiration is important, but inspiration is fun(damental)

By
10:58am, October 21, 2015

How much of science is inspiration versus perspiration? Obviously, that creative spark, that new insight, that aha! moment is often crucial to producing new ideas and advancing knowledge. But, as both feature stories in this issue demonstrate, the real work comes after.

Biologist Colleen Farmer had her aha! in the form of a question about how alligators breathe — with an in-out stream like humans (as long believed) or a one-way flow like birds. As Susan Milius describes, Farmer has spent years testing her idea, eventually showing that alligators and at least a few species of reptiles do have a one-way flow. Her work also raises bigger questions about lung evolution. If the often-languorous reptiles evolved the same breathing strategy as zippy birds,

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