Everyone who's seen Rain Man knows that Quantas is the safest airline in the world (but see Quantas fatal accidents). Today's news out of Australia, however, suggests that they may also be the first airline to ground a flight because of a harmless python. The Age is reporting that a flight from Melbourne to Sydney was cancelled after four juvenile Stimson's pythons (Antaresia stimsoni) went missing during a previous flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne. I hope they cancelled this flight because of concern about the snake gumming up the plane's mechanics, because Stimson's pythons are among the most docile snakes on the planet. As someone who's had ~50% success tracking down escaped snakes, I wish Quantas the best of luck in their efforts to track down the little beasts. My advice: If you look at something and say to yourself "I bet a snake couldn't get into that", you're wrong.
Dechronization is authored by evolutionary biologists interested in the development and application of methods for estimating phylogeny and making phylogeny-based inferences. The goal of the blog is to provide a forum for discussion of the latest research and methods, while also providing anecdotes, tidbits of natural history, and other related information.