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Evolution of Jaws: A Hox on Storytelling

Lampreys are jawless fish, unlike Jaws and his kin.  M.J. Cohn found that Hox genes are expressed in a lamprey in the first pharangeal arch.  Noting that fish with jaws do not express Hox genes in the first pharangeal arch [PA1], from which the jaws develop, Cohn hypothesized that jaw evolution proceeded with a retreat […]

Selfish Genes Turn Cooperative

Nature1 has reported evidence that transposons help to regulate gene expression.  Transposons are genetic material that insert themselves into the DNA of a host, and were thought to represent “selfish genes” that only had their own propagation in mind, “without regard for the consequences.”  Some new studies on the L1 retrotransposon, which makes up about […]

Giardia Spoils Evolutionists’ Soup

In current evolutionary thinking, Giardia (the backpacker’s bane, a water-borne intestinal parasite that causes cramps and diarrhea) is an oldie.  Once long ago, early cells supposedly engulfed bacteria that became specialized into modern mitochondria.  “Until a few months ago, Giardia was thought to represent a throwback to the time before this union,” reports Nature,1 because […]

Fossil Water Lily Matches Modern

Three Cornell botanists found fossil water lilies from the early Cretaceous that look nearly identical to modern ones, except that they are smaller.  The exquisitely-detailed fossils were preserved in a New Jersey clay pit by a process of coalification.  Water lilies (family Nymphaeaceae) are presumed by evolutionists to be among the earliest flowering plants (angiosperms).  […]

Fruit Flies Fail to Exhibit Neo-Darwinism

The Neo-Darwinian Synthesis is the current reigning paradigm of Darwinian evolution.  It teaches that random genetic mutations provide the raw material of variation, and that natural selection acting on these variations produces all the complexity of life.  A corollary is that mutation is independent of selection; i.e., that mutations do not “conspire” with natural selection […]

Can Traits Evolve Before Need?  The Case of California Chaparral Plants

A biologist went to California looking for evolution in plants.  He didn’t find it, but believes the plants evolved anyway.     That seems to be the upshot of a study by David D. Ackerly (Stanford U.) published in American Naturalist1 (see summary on EurekAlert).  Ackerly wanted to test whether natural selection produced the small, […]

Does Darwinism Contribute to Sexual Deviancy?

Joan Roughgarden (Stanford U.) is a transsexual biologist.  Although a convinced Darwinian, “she” claims to have disproved Darwin’s theory of sexual selection (see 02/26/2003 headline).  Two reviews of her book Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People (University of California Press, 2003) appeared recently, one in Nature1 and another in Science.2  The […]

The Red Queen Did Not Invent Sex

A Darwinian story just died.  One of the evolutionary stories for the origin of sex is the “Red Queen” hypothesis.  Named after a character in Alice in Wonderland, it is the idea that an organism must continually change just to stay the same, like running and getting nowhere.  Technically, it states that “sexual reproduction is […]

Mitochondrial Clock Untrustworthy

A major assumption of the “molecular clock” dating method has been called into question.  If so, Science Now describes the impact on current theories: “Mitochondrial Eve,” the hypothetical mother of all modern humans who lived about 150,000 years ago, might be lying about her age.  A key assumption in determining how long ago she lived—that […]

New T. Rex Found; Best-Ever Skull Unveiled

National Geographic News has reported the excavation of a possibly complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton at a “secret location,” a private ranch, in Montana.  The curious can monitor the interactive dig at Unearthing T. Rex.     The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh has finally unveiled Samson, the best preserved skull of a Tyrannosaurus […]

Fish Antifreeze Provided by “Pseudogene”

Freezing water forms crystals that can rip and tear at cells.  Yet there are fish in arctic waters that can survive even below the freezing point of sea water.  They accomplish this by means of special “antifreeze proteins” that interfere with the damaging effects of water crystals.     Scientists knew about AFP (anti-freeze protein) […]

Cell Requires Two Keys to Let Cargo Pass

For high-security environments, guards sometimes require two independent authentication methods.  Before humans came up with this trick, the cells in their bodies were already using it.  Itoh and Camilli explain in the May 13 issue of Nature:1 Our cells contain a series of distinct compartments that do different jobs and have different properties.  The membranes […]

Another Impact Theory for Permian Extinction Proposed

Richard Kerr was very cautious in his announcement in Science1 about a new claim about an asteroid impact near Australia causing the Permian Extinction.  He went to lengths to point out that the evidence is not clear, and that many other scientists disagree.  After describing the “proposed” impact site, he cautioned: Not so fast, say […]

Montana Schools Not Allowed to Question Darwinism

“Objective origins” is against the law in Darby, Montana (see 02/27/2004 headline).  A policy change proposed by a local minister would have encouraged students to “analyze scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories, including the theory of evolution.”  It didn’t lose because of a vote on the policy, or because of the threats of […]

Geological Column, Rev. 2004-a

The geological column is not “set in stone,” John Whitfield discovered as he investigated the work of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), which is releasing a revised column this summer.  “Silurian, Devonian, Triassic: the names seem as solid and permanent as rocks themselves.  But in fact,” he cautions in his report in Nature,1 “like […]
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