Bradley Voytek wanted to read the last paragraphs of people’s doctoral dissertations. I dug up mine. It was in a section titled, “What next?”
Fourth, the brachyuran superfamily Raninoidea de Haan, 1841 are true crabs that, like hippoid sand crabs, are specialised for digging in sand and mud. Their gross morphology is reminiscent of albuneids: unlike the thorax of most brachyurans, the thorax of ranid crabs is not rostro-caudally compressed, and their legs have very flat, paddle-shaped dactyls. Comparing the convergent digging behaviours in the ranid crabs with the hippoid sand crabs could be illuminating in understanding the biomechanics of digging.
It’s, um, not a ringing last paragraph. No eternal verities or a big “What does it all mean?!” conclusion.
But what is cool is that of the four things I listed in my “What next?” conclusion, this was the only one I got to do. I did get to study those ranid crabs! And publish a paper about it!
Faulkes Z. 2006. The locomotor toolbox of spanner crabs, Ranina ranina (brachyura, Raninidae). Crustaceana 79(2): 143-155. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156854006776952874
That makes up a tiny little bit for not even coming close to doing any of the other three things I listed as possible avenues since then. That makes it a nice last paragraph.
Photo by Tom Demeyer on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.