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Color-Blind Cephalopods Perform Colorful Camouflage Tricks

Roger Hanlon has studied octopi, squid and cuttlefish for decades.  He stands in awe of their ability to camouflage themselves.  In a Primer article for Current Biology,1 he detailed some of their sleight-of-skin magic tricks.     His article has frames from a movie clip that show an octopus changing its skin from plain to […]

Did Walking Evolve in the Trees?

The news media are all echoing a report from Science1 that orangutan behavior in trees tells us something about the evolution of human bipedalism (see National Geographic, Fox News, and MSNBC News).  If this new view gains acceptance, it means the old iconic image of man emerging upright from a stooped-over ape posture (05/03/2007) is […]

How Best to Propagate Darwin’’s “Science”

Two book reviews recently discussed the problem of “scientific illiteracy” in society, which the authors equated with doubts about Darwinian evolution.

Red Vision Produced Red Hair in Monkeys

A story circulating in the news media claims that as soon as monkeys evolved the ability to see red, they evolved red hair to look at.  Isn’t that the gist of a press release from Ohio University?  Science Daily thought so, and so did Live Science, which said, “A new study shows that apes first […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Design by Darwin

Can Darwin get credit for intelligently-planned research?  Apparently John Chaput thinks so.  A press release from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University states this: Nature, through the trial and error of evolution, has discovered a vast diversity of life from what can only presumed to have been a primordial pool of building blocks.  Inspired […]

Batting for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

National Geographic reported that bats are master flyers, whose aerodynamic skills outperform birds.1  They also have an exquisitely refined sonar sense that allows them to discern detail as fine as a fish fin sticking out of the water.  Coupled with aerobatics and see-in-the-dark sonar, a bat can swoop down and catch the fish right out […]

Can Morality Be Evolutionized?

A psychologist at the University of Virginia is probing the evolutionary origins of morality: [Jonathan] Haidt shows how evolutionary, neurological and social-psychological insights are being synthesized in support of three principles: 1) Intuitive primacy, which says that human emotions and gut feelings generally drive our moral judgments; 2) Moral thinking if [sic] for social doing, […]

When Is a Primate a Human Ancestor?

Behold Aegyptopithecus zeuxis, an extinct fossil monkey.  It had a brain smaller than a lemon, smaller than that of modern lemurs.  Why, then, are the news media touting this as a human ancestor?     The new specimen of Aegyptopithecus is more intact and complete than previous specimens.  Two surprises were noted; the amount of […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Design without a Designer

Apparently Francisco Ayala (UC Irvine) thinks that just stating something dogmatically is enough to end all discussion.  The scope of his paper in PNAS is grandiose and sweeping, enough to keep philosophers and theologians from around the world busy for years, but Ayala just put out his opinions without any hint of dispute, and stamped […]

Stupid Evolution Quote Prizes

The Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week goes to Mark Gladwin (04/25/2007) who said something the gentler sex will probably wince at: “Study the pregnant women, because that’s where you’ll see evolution in action.” No offense intended, we hope.  A runner-up goes to Deborah Charlesworth, who in Current Biology April 17 named Darwin as a […]

Cave Chimps Suggest Cave Men

Some chimpanzees have been found in Senegal using caves for shelter from the heat.  Jill Pruetz (Iowa State) took note of this and is publishing a paper about it in Primates.  National Geographic speculated that this sheds light on human origins: The adaptations of savanna chimpanzees are particularly interesting to researchers because early humans are […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  The Evolution of Shopper’s Arm

This week’s prize goes to the Society for Experimental Biology, which, according to EurekAlert, said this in a press release: The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact, be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all!  […]

Can the Interior Design Itself?

Calling all interior designers: has Darwinism rendered you superfluous?  J. Scott Turner thinks so.  He wrote a book called The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (Harvard, 2007).  It was reviewed by Claus Wedekind in last week’s Nature with the title, “The interior designer.”  This does not imply that interiors need an exterior […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Monkeys Bang Rocks, Invent Culture

The venerable University of Cambridge earns this week’s prize for the following statements in a press release today: New evidence of “human” culture among primates 23 March 2007 Research suggests that stone-banging by South American monkeys could be a socially-learned skill Fresh evidence that suggests monkeys can learn skills from each other, in the same […]

An Extinction’s Long Fuse

Some scientists are claiming that when the Isthmus of Panama was formed, an extinction event occurred two million years later.  The story is reported on EurekAlert:  “We may be way off-track when we search for the causes of extinctions by looking only at the time the extinctions occur in the fossil record, which is what […]
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