Flipping through back issues of BioScience to see what’s now free access, I found an interesting editorial, Oddball Science: Why Studies of Unusual Evolutionary Phenomena Are Crucial.
Science funding decisions are increasingly at risk of becoming politicized, and reductions in basic science funding are often justified as eliminating wasteful government spending.
It’s apt in the UK at the moment as cuts are a hot topic for the general election here, though science less so.
The examples it highlights, like snail sex, are easy to mock if you don’t know anything about the research, but Brennan et al. make the point that it’s actually the weirdness of what is studied that can make it easier to learn something. If extreme conditions highlight new questions, then it seems we need more oddballs not less.