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Evolutionary “Arms Race” – Is Coevolution Relentless?

Camellias and the weevils that attack their seeds seem locked in conflict.  The thicker a camellia grows its protective woody covering around its seeds, the longer the feeding tube on some weevil to break through and devour.  John R. Thompson talked about such “coevolutionary arms races” in Current Biology1 and asked whether such wars can […]

Eyes on the Prize: Science Sees Gold in Biomimetics

A fly eye made the cover of Science this week.1  It’s not that the compound eye is interesting to entomologists; MSNBC News picked up on the real message: “Animal eyes inspire new technology – Researchers learn optics lessons from biology.”  The cover story is about biomimetics, or reverse-engineering nature.  Scientists are looking for ways to […]

Butterflies Invented LEDs First

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were a prized invention of physicists, improved greatly in 2001, but now we find butterflies invented them first.  We already knew that butterfly wings achieve their shimmering iridescence by means of photonic crystals (01/29/2003), as do some birds (10/13/2003), but now it appears that the butterflies have even more exotic tricks up […]

News from the Cretaceous

Here are some recent stories about extinct reptiles and bird-like creatures from the age of dinosaurs. T. Rex Smelled Good:  A story in Science1 listed evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex had a large olfactory bulb, giving it a good sense of smell.  Analysis of the visual and auditory parts of the skull suggest that it also […]

Living Wonders at a Glance

Here is an assortment of recently-reported biological marvels at the cellular level.  Researchers into creation and evolution explanations may wish to delve into these more deeply. Clock Conductor:  The brain is a “time machine,” reports EurekAlert on research at Duke University about the human biological clock.  Each structure in the brain has a resonant frequency […]

Spider Evolution: A Theory in Crisis

Sea spiders look so similar to land spiders, everyone would have thought they were related.  They differ, however, in several significant ways, said Graham Budd and Maximilian Telford in Nature:1  ’Their bodies are so slender that the digestive systems and gonads are squeezed into their limbs; they possess a forward-pointing proboscis with a terminal mouth; […]

Spider Blood Survives 20 Million Years – So They Say

EurekAlert announced, “Spider blood found in 20 million year old fossil.”  Science Daily repeated the story.  The articles even tell how the spider died (it was climbing a tree and was struck on the head by fast-flowing sap).  The BBC News said, “Spider is ‘20 million years old.’” At least they put quotes around the […]

Evolutionists Finally Figure Out the Eye – Well, Partly

As if tackling Darwin’s worst nightmare with gusto, evolutionary biologists published a paper in Current Biology1 about the evolution of the eye – at least the lens.  Though the paper is restricted to a discussion of genes involved in making the crystallin proteins that make up the lens, EurekAlert announced this as “Insight into our […]

Big Guys Finish First, Except in Drought

Nigel Williams tried to explain in Current Biology1 why “size matters” among marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands: the vectors of natural and sexual selection don’t always line up.  Females appear to like the big males when times are good, but when drought comes, the smaller dudes do better.     There’s a difficulty with […]

From Emperors to Monarchs….

If lion is king, and penguin is emperor, who would have thought a dainty insect would be monarch?  EurekAlert posted a story earlier this month too good to pass up: monarch butterflies follow the light – ultraviolet light – to their breeding grounds.  Scientists at Hebrew University, working with monarchs in a specially-designed flight simulator […]

Do Butterflies Evolve Via Team Stripes?

A BBC News story is claiming that butterflies split into competing teams when differences in their wing patterns emerge.  Based on a paper in Nature,1 this is supposed to be an example of a rarely-observed mechanism for speciation, called reinforcement: in this case, “These wing colours apparently evolved as a sort of ‘team strip’, allowing […]

Nose Knows More than Math Pros Suppose

The aroma of coffee, of a steak, of cherries – these smells are all composed of dozens if not hundreds of separate molecules, yet our brains immediately recognize them each as a coherent whole.  How does the nose and the brain process all this information?  This is the subject of an article in the Caltech […]

Reverse-Engineering Biological Networks Challenges Caltech Scientists

Evolutionists love to quote Dobzhansky saying, “Nothing in biology makes sense apart from evolution.”  An article in the current issue of Caltech’s magazine Engineering and Science,1 however, might change that proverb to, “Nothing in biology makes sense apart from information theory and systems engineering.”  The article makes no mention of evolution, but rather looks at […]

All You Wanted to Know About Spider Webs, Except Their Evolution

Each issue of Current Biology contains a Primer on some interesting subject.  The May 24 issue had one about spider webs.1  Fritz Vollrath shared some amazing details about this unique product of the lowly spider, but gave a strange explanation for how the capability to spin strong-as-steel nets evolved.  First, the factoids: Structure:  …the… common […]

Honeybee Dance Wins Ovation

In the 1960s, Karl von Frisch announced the surprising discovery that scout honeybees announce detailed information to their hivemates about food sources with a “waggle dance”.  This information, conveyed via the dance’s vigor and angle, tells recruit bees what angle to fly relative to the sun, how far to go, and how good the food […]
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