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Oldest Bat Fossil: Was It Evolving?

A bat fossil surpassing the previous record holder for the oldest by 2 million years made the cover of Nature this week.1  The news media immediately began saying that it provided insight into evolution. The BBC News announced “Bat fossil solves evolution poser.” National Geographic called it the icing on the cake, and said that […]

Migrating Birds Measure Longitude

Migrating birds are able to get back on course, even when released 1000 km east of their normal migration path.  This shows that long-distance migrating birds are capable of true bicoordinate navigation: the ability to make course corrections both in latitude and longitude.  The results of experiments, published in Current Biology,1 left the researchers baffled: […]

Animals from Junk by Chance

How to build an animal: throw junk DNA at it.  That seems to be the latest idea on where higher animals came from.  A press release from University of Bristol posted on Science Daily and EurekAlert announced, “‘Junk DNA’ Can Explain Origin And Complexity Of Vertebrates, Study Suggests.”     The basic idea, coming from […]

Did Birds Evolve Aeronautical Engineering?

Two news stories on birds may not seem to flock together.  One is about their supreme aeronautical engineering.  The other ponders when they evolved.     A story on EurekAlert and Science Daily describes how engineers are eyeing birds, bats and insects for design ideas.  The appeal is clear from the following comparisons: A Blackbird […]

Indebted to Darwin

Britain’s Food Standards Agency is concerned about diminishing fish stocks and is asking citizens to consume less, reported The Telegraph.  This can only mean one thing, thinks Ulf Dieckmann (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria): it’s come time to pay the piper.  Who is the piper, you ask?  Answer: Charles Darwin. Dr Dieckmann […]

Nose Code Rockets Smell Discrimination

You have a code in your nose.  Scientists working on fruit fly olfactory systems have found that a mapping mechanism between components maximizes the fly’s ability to discriminate smells.  The coding system provides a non-linear response that appears finely tuned to maximize the information content of odor inputs.     The components of this system […]

A Step Closer to Gecko Adhesive

Scientists are getting closer to imitating the amazing wall-climbing ability of geckos.  Science Daily reports that a team from UC Berkeley manufactured tape with hard polymer fibers just 600 nanometers across that mimic the spatulae on gecko feet.     This latest attempt at imitating the gecko works only on smooth, clean surfaces, but requires […]

A Pitcher of Health, and Reasons to Love Slime

Pitcher plants contain chemicals that just might help medicine and agriculture, reported PhysOrg.  A Japanese team found a myriad of interesting proteins in this “evolutionary marvel,” a plant that eats insect meat.     Now for some slimy good news.  PhysOrg said, “You know algae.  It’s the gunk that collects on the sides of a […]

Horseshoe Crabs Unchanged Since Ordovician

A fossil horseshoe crab has been discovered in Canada that pushes back their origins at least 100 million years in the evolutionary timetable.  The previous record placed these marine arthropods in the Carboniferous (350 million years BP in the geologic column); others were known from the Jurassic.  “Both the Carboniferous and the Jurassic fossil discoveries […]

Do Chicks Tell Dinosaur Tales?

For years, evolutionary biologists have battled over the origin of flight.  Did dinosaurs run along the ground and take off, or did they jump from trees?  The first idea is called the cursorial hypothesis; the latter, the arboreal hypothesis.  In 2003, Ken Dial [U Montana] had an idea: maybe watching partridge chicks could inform the […]

Butterfly Wings Flash Shiny Optical Tricks

You can get brilliant colors without pigment if you build patterns near the wavelengths of light.  Butterflies have the trick down to a science.  Their wings shimmer and shine with brilliant colors produced by nanostructures that scientists want to imitate.     Science Daily told how butterflies and moths, even the white-winged varieties, use nanostructures […]

Backtracking on Darwinian Claims

Evolutionary theory evolves.  Since Darwinists no longer consider evolution progressive, it follows that evolutionary theory is also not necessarily progressing.  The following stories show evolutionary biologists backtracking on earlier claims. The pig is falling.  “Darwinian evolutionary theory proposes that the phenotype of a creature is an adaptation to the particular demands of the ecological situation […]

Mouse Grows Long Finger, Takes Off Like a Bat

When does humor in a scientific journal cross the line of scientific objectivity?  You be the judge.  Science magazine, in its “Random Samples” news featurette, said this in the Jan. 18 issue: Over the past 100 million years or so, bats have evolved many features that distinguish them from their mammalian cousins.  One is long, […]

Walking Fish Gets Good Mileage

In 2006 (04/06/2006), 05/03/2006), Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago announced his missing link: Tiktaalik, a fish with wrist bones that he claimed were transitional between fish and four-footed creatures, or tetrapods. Since then he has taken his fish on the road and is getting good mileage for evolution.

Monarch Butterflies as a Test of Evolution

The Discovery Institute and the National Academy of Sciences have recently published books with butterflies prominently displayed on the cover.  The two books give opposite viewpoints on whether life was designed or a product of evolution.  Maybe a look at a real-world butterfly research project can shed light on the debate.     A paper […]
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