Animal Flight Control: Wheres the Evolution?
April 12, 2009
A couple of articles in Science last week discussed the marvels of flight control in birds. “Being earthbound save for the ability to fly airplanes and helicopters, humans stand in awe of animals that power their own movement through the air by flapping their wings, and of the spectacular maneuvers that some of these animals […]
Amazing Fossils: Do They Help Darwin?
March 19, 2009
Some remarkable fossils have been found recently. According to the reports, scientists are not sure what to make of them, even though evolutionary language is liberally applied to the interpretation. Octopus: The earliest fossil octopus is 100% octopus. A rare well-preserved octopus fossil, as unlikely as finding a fossilized sneeze according to Live Science, shows […]
Songbirds Sing on a Fast Wing
February 17, 2009
Purple martins and wood thrushes are common songbirds of the eastern United States. Until recently, it has not been possible to follow their movements accurately. Now, a team of biologists in Toronto, Erie and Cambridge was able to track them with tiny geolocators. They found that the little birds fly farther and faster than previously […]
The Early Bird Gets the Just-So Story
February 3, 2009
If a catastrophic world event wiped out the dinosaurs, why did birds survive? They’re smaller and more delicate, it seems. National Geographic published a new hypothesis: they out-thought the doomed dinosaurs. “Birds survived the global catastrophe that wiped out their dinosaur relatives due to superior brainpower, a new study suggests.” A couple of […]
Is Natural Selection Losing its Appeal?
January 28, 2009
Some recent science reports sound like they are ready to cast Darwin’s key phrase natural selection overboard, or at least demote it from its leading role in evolution. These articles each hint that long-held beliefs are being challenged. Make room: Science Daily asked, “Natural Selection Not The Only Process That Drives Evolution?” Scientists at Uppsala […]
Feather Evolution Proved?
January 21, 2009
Another claim of feather evolution was reported in PNAS.1 Creationists have long claimed that the evolution of feathers from reptilian scales is an intractable problem for Darwinists (example: 1994 article from Creation magazine). Does the paper provide incontrovertible proof that feathers had evolved in dinosaurs before birds took flight in the air? Beipiaosaurus, […]
Watch for Flying Giraffes (and Convergent Evolutionists)
January 9, 2009
Imagine giraffe-sized animals that could fly. They lived. National Geographic News has an illustration of an extinct pterosaur, tall as a giraffe, that was able to leap into the air and flap its wings for sustained powered flight. Live Science discussed work by Michael Habib [Johns Hopkins U School of Medicine] on the […]
Nature Struts Darwin Gems
January 2, 2009
Like a showcase of pearl-handled revolvers, an armory of evidences Nature calls “Darwin’s Gems” have been exhibited to warn creationists that Darwin Day will be defended next month with a show of force. The authors, Henry Gee (former editor of Nature), Rory Howlett and Philip Campbell have made their 15 Evolutionary Gems freely available “and […]
December 8, 2008
The common swift is being eyed by aircraft engineers who want to go fast, high, and green. Science Daily says these engineers are “inspired by nature.” Calling Apus apus a common “swift” is like calling an orange an orange. They are swift! These incredible birds dart about effortlessly and spend their lives almost […]
Polishing Darwins Icons
November 13, 2008
Finch beaks, peppered moths, transitional forms – the standard props for evolution have been scrutinized ad infinitum for decades. Can anything new be said about them? Find out in these recent articles. Peppered moths: The peppered-moth story just about collapsed when investigators realized that the famous pictures that adorn textbooks were staged, because the moths […]
Lizard Hair and Other Fables
November 12, 2008
In some science reports, it’s hard to tell where the data stops and the speculation begins. In any case, evolutionary theory usually arrives in time to take credit for whatever happened in the unobservable past (cf. 08/24/2007). Bad hair joke: Live Science wants you to blame your bad hair days on lizards. Why? Because according […]
Another Strange Chinese Fossil Found: Dinosaur or Bird?
October 22, 2008
Feathers and wings are among the most distinguishing characteristics of birds. “Integumenary features” have been found on some dinosaur fossils, and true feathers have been found on some strange-looking extinct birds. The news media often try to marry the two into a committed relationship using exaggerated artwork. They have been found imagining feathers on fossils […]
Birds Need Beaver
October 11, 2008
Things go better with Beav around. Science Daily has a delightful entry about the ecological benefits that beaver ponds provide for migratory birds. It says that beaver are not just beneficial for our feathered friends; they are vital. Because of the rich streamside habitat that grows around beaver ponds, the formula is simple: the more […]
Did This Dino Have Bird Breath?
September 29, 2008
Birds are the only vertebrates with a unique one-way, flow-through breathing system that includes hollow bones. Their unique respiratory system is part of the set of features that allows flying with its need for rapid metabolism. Science news outlets are clucking wildly about another putative missing link between dinosaurs and birds: “Meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina […]
Animals Got Rhythm; Scientists Dont
September 12, 2008
Here’s a biological puzzle with plenty of room for young researchers to solve: the workings of biological rhythms. All animals respond to rhythms in periods of hours, days, weeks, months, and years, but as George E. Bentley (UC Berkeley) wrote in Current Biology,1 how they do it is only partially understood. “Sometimes the questions are […]