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The Monarch Butterflies in the Flight Simulator, II

How much software can fit in a butterfly brain?  Scientists are again amazed at the navigating ability of Monarch butterflies.  In the 07/09/2002 entry, we reported about how Canadian researchers used a clever flight simulator to test Monarch butterfly navigation with reference to sun angle.  Now, using an enhanced version of the earlier “butterfly flight […]

Darwinians May Be Their Own Worst Enemy, Says Darwinist

Evolutionists have only themselves to blame for the rise of anti-Darwinian sentiment, says Michael Ruse in a new book, The Evolution-Creation Struggle (Harvard, 2005).  Peter Dizikes reviewed this premise in The Boston Globe.  By portraying evolution in overtly atheist terms with religious fervor, certain individuals like Richard Dawkins are creating a backlash, says Ruse.  “This […]

How Did Salamanders Migrate from North America to Korea?

Salamanders are not particularly thought of as world travelers.  A new species of lungless salamander of the family Plethodontidae has been found in Korea.  Almost all previous members were found only in North America.  To EurekAlert, reporting on a paper published in Nature,1 this is comparable to “discovering pandas in California or kangaroos in Argentina.”  […]

World Press Eyes Kansas Evolution Battle

The “Un-Scopes” trial of the decade is underway in Kansas, and the world press is watching.  Unlike the 1925 Scopes trial, this time evolution is the leader and intelligent design is the contender: actually, not even that – the leaders of the ID movement are not asking for ID to be taught, but only for […]

Toothy Dinosaur Goes Vegan

The news media all pounced on a dinosaur fossil discovery reported in Nature this week.1  Dinosaur finds are ever popular, and reporters especially like it when an artist’s rendition is available.  Some outlets reporting the discovery of Falcarius utahensis, a previously unknown species “in the process of converting to vegetarianism from a rather more bloodthirsty […]

Weeds Hold Promise for Miracle Drugs

We’d like weeds if we knew them better, says John Roach for National Geographic News, especially if we realized they may contain wonder drugs.  “It’s often said that plants hidden in the tangle of the Amazonian rain forest may harbor an undiscovered cancer cure,” he writes; “John Richard Stepp thinks the same can be said […]

Missing Link Fish Story

Once upon a time, 450 million years ago, scavenger fish without teeth or bones roamed the shallow icy waters of Africa which was undergoing an Ice Age.  Slowly, over millions of years, they gained teeth and other structures characteristic of more advanced fish.  Then, a few thousand years ago, a lake in the (now continental […]

World’s Smallest Rotary Motors Coming Into Focus

Science April 29 had three articles on the ATP synthase rotary motors that inhabit all living cells.1,2,3  Using creative techniques of extreme microscopy and crystallography, research teams are beginning to get more focused images of the carousel-like rotating engines of both F-type and V-type motors.  (V-type enzymes pump ions into the cell to regulate acidity; […]

Is a Darwinian Tree Visible in the Genes?

Current Biology1 has an article on the status of searching for Darwin’s “tree of life” via comparative genomics.  The expected simple picture has become complex and difficult to decipher: The traditional view of animal evolution is one of gradually increasing complexity.  The earliest-branching flatworms lack the body cavity known as a coelom, which is a […]

Media, Journals Alarmed at Rise of Intelligent Design Movement

The number of articles in the news about the Intelligent Design (ID) Movement is rising, partly because of the upcoming hearings before the Kansas school board.  National Geographic news asked, “Does ‘Intelligent Design’ Threaten the Definition of Science?” in an April 27 article, but at least author John Roach got the definition of ID correct, […]

The Origin of Specious Ideas: Did Darwin Explain Speciation?

Even though Darwin’s best seller was titled On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, Albert and Schluter in Current Biology1 claim his title was deceptive: “Darwin’s book is about adaptation and the origin of varieties and has surprisingly little to say about selection and ‘the origin of species – that mystery of mysteries’.”  Is […]

Evolutionary Psychology “Wrong in Almost Every Detail”

Seems like Darwinism can’t get anything right about the human psyche.  Sharon Begley, writing in the Wall Street Journal, discussed David J. Buller’s new book, Adapting Minds (MIT Press, 2005), and found it “the most persuasive critique of evo psych I have encountered.”  Buller details why evolutionary psychology, despite its bravado, fails to explain rape, […]

“Extinct” Woodpecker Found in Arkansas

One of the world’s largest woodpeckers, the ivory-billed woodpecker, thought for over 50 years to be extinct, has been spotted alive in the remote woods of Arkansas.  See National Geographic News, New Scientist, and MSNBC for details. Update 07/21/2005: The good news may be premature.  News@Nature says that some experts believe the observers were mistaken, […]

Nature Alerts Researchers to Threat of Intelligent Design Movement

It can’t be ignored anymore, reported Nature in two articles this week.  Geoff Brumfiel1 asked academic researchers, “Who has designs on your students’ minds?”  He reported on the rise of IDEA Clubs (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness, such as the first one at UC San Diego), highlighting the story of Salvador Cordova’s prospering IDEA club […]

Genes Must Be Expressed in the Right Order

A team of scientists in Switzerland made neural cells switch on a transcription factor earlier during the embryo’s development.  The result?  Axons (long branches of nerve cells) refused to grow to the spinal cord and to the peripheral target.  To the mice, this meant they couldn’t feel things on the skin due to stunted nerves.  […]
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