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Key to Evolution of Culture Suggested

Visualize chimpanzees exercising their antics in the jungle: grooming, screeching at one another, chasing off rivals.  Now shift the scene to human activities in a large city: fans cheering their team at a stadium, an audience applauding a concert, kids screaming on an amusement park roller coaster, a congregation singing hymns at church, students taking […]

Biochemists Mutate Protein, Make a Catalyst

“Enzymes are among the most proficient catalysts known,” wrote three Duke University scientists, “and they catalyze a wide variety of reactions in aqueous solutions under ambient conditions with exquisite selectivity and stereospecificity.”  The team set out to rationally design their own enzyme.  Their work is reported in the June 25 issue of Science.1  Building on […]

NASA-Ames Gives Darwin Credit for Antenna Design Project

A press release from NASA-Ames Research Center claims, “NASA ‘Evolutionary’ Software Automatically Designs Antenna.”  Using artificial intelligence software, their approach converged on the best design.  The article explains: “The AI software examined millions of potential antenna designs before settling on a final one,” said project lead Jason Lohn, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, […]

The Evolution of Infidelity

The BBC News placed a sultry photo of a likely-undressed man and woman about to kiss alongside the headline of a story, “Genes may be to blame for infidelity.”  They report on the speculation by Tim Spector (Twin Research Unit, St. Thomas Hospital) that “if one of a pair of twins had a history of […]

Can a Cell Improve by Lowering Its Standards?

The title of a paper in PNAS is intriguing: “Artificially ambiguous genetic code confers growth yield advantage.”  An international team claims to have created a beneficial mutation.  They removed the editing ability of a protein involved in translating the genetic code, and got it to survive in a nutrient-starved environment.  They suggest that the resulting […]

Plant Evolution Modeled in Computer

Simulation games are popular on computers.  Darwinian biologists seem to like them, too.  What they cannot go back in time to observe, they sometimes try to recreate in silico, inside the silicon chips of a computer.  Karl J. Niklas (Cornell) tried to simulate plant evolution, and wrote about it in Annual Review of Earth and […]

Neanderthals Matured Faster

The news media are all echoing a story out of Nature April 291 that Neanderthals matured by age 15, as indicated by their teeth.  A News and Views article in the same issue by Jay Kelley2 begins, It is nearly 150 years since the existence of Neanderthals was first recognized, but debate about their relationship […]

Dinosaur Extinction Theory #481b

Let’s try another one.  Temperature imbalances after the asteroid impact 65 million years ago caused cooler global temperatures.  This caused more eggs to hatch male, since in reptiles, egg temperatures can influence the sex of the hatchlings.  So a shortage of females gradually led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.     Why, then, didn’t […]

Can Evolution Create Homologous Structures by Different Paths?

G�nter Thebien (Friedrich Schuller U, Jena, Germany) is baffled about how two plants arrived at similar structures by different evolutionary pathways.  In the April 22 issue of Nature,1 he asks, Structures that occur in closely related organisms and that look the same are usually considered to be homologous – their similarity is taken to arise […]

Fish Gene Gives Darwinists Hope

It doesn’t take much to excite an evolutionary biologist.  A little bit of microevolution that might be a stepping stone to macroevolution is all it takes.  This story almost reads like a Good News – Bad News joke.  The good news is that one gene that regulates the spines on one kind of fish has […]

Federal Judge Rules Evolution Must Be Taught As Fact, Not Theory

It sounds like open-mindedness is illegal in Georgia, on the face of it.  Federal judge Clarence Cooper is allowing a lawsuit against the Cobb County school district to go to trial.  Their crime has been to insert warning labels in biology textbooks that state, simply, This textbook contains material on evolution.  Evolution is a theory, […]

Science Reporters Stretch the Truth on Limb Evolution Claim

Item: some fragments of bone were found from a road cut in Pennsylvania.  Conclusion: Darwinian evolution from slime to humans has been demonstrated again.  Sound far fetched?  Not if you are a science reporter for a typical news organization; this is common practice.     The bone this time is a humerus of a presumed […]

The Evolution of Suicide Terrorism

In a letter to the editor of Science April 2,1 Hector N. Qirko (anthropologist, U. of Tennessee) has come up with a Darwinian model to explain suicide bombers.  His ideas build on an earlier model by Scott Atran (CNRS-Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, and Institute for Social Research, U. of Michigan) in a previous issue.2  Qirko […]

Swamp Gas Found on Mars

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter has confirmed earlier detections of methane in the Martian atmosphere, according to the BBC News.  Because methane could only exist in the atmosphere for a few hundred years, there must be a source that replenishes it.  Two sources have been proposed: active volcanos, or living organisms.  The BBC […]

Jaw Mutation Led to Human Brain

The science news outlets like Science News seem to all jump on human evolution stories more than evolution stories about other life forms.  Maybe that’s because we’re only human.  This week’s entry concerns a story published in Nature1 by Stedman et al2 that a muscle protein mutation might be correlated with a change in brain […]
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