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Whale Flippers Inspire Aeronautical Engineers

Have you seen the bumpy flippers on humpback whales, you know, the species whose males serenade their mates?  Don’t laugh.  Scientists have found that the ungainly flippers actually have superior lift, less drag, and are less susceptible to stalling.  Engineers are imitating the whale flippers for advanced aircraft and helicopter rotors, reports EurekAlert from studies […]

Moose Muzzle: A Nose for News

Curious about the enigmatic nose structure of the moose, two researchers picked up moose roadkill and decided to study those large, comical Bullwinkle faces, reports Nature.1  Lincoln Tim writes, The moose, Alces alces, is a member of the deer family, but its nasal apparatus is unlike that of any of its relatives.  The apparatus overhangs […]

Underground Rodents Have Better Eyes Than Darwin Predicted

European scientists looked into the eyes of African mole-rats, expecting to find retinas that had deteriorated due to disuse in the underground, lightless environment.  What they found were several surprises that “call for a revision of our current views on the visual system of subterranean mammals,” reports a Max Planck Society press release.     […]

Animals Are “Overengineered” for Navigation

Animals outshine us in many ways, but one capability that should humble us is animal navigation.  From spiders to mice, from birds to bees, the ability of animals to find their way around is truly astonishing, and James L. Gould of Princeton has raised our awareness of just how astonishing in a short article in […]

Hundreds of Whales Buried Suddenly in Diatoms

A remarkable fossil find has been found in Peru: 346 whales buried in diatomaceous earth.  The preservation of the whales is so pristine and complete, the authors of the paper in the Feb. 2004 issue of Geology1 conclude that the whales had to be buried rapidly, in days or weeks.  If so, it represents a […]

La Brea Tar Pits Trap Scientists

Sid Perkins of Science News dropped in at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, and got stuck, not in tar, but in the sticky evolutionary interpretations of these world-famous fossil deposits.  This fossil bed, right in one of the ritziest parts of Los Angeles (adjacent to the County Art Museum), Perkins whimsically calls “L.A.’s […]

Chinese Puzzle: New Primate Fossil Raises Eyebrows

A new fossil primate skull from China, alleged to be 55 million years old, provides “much-needed substantial evidence of early primates in Asia,” says Robert Martin (Field Museum, Chicago), reporting in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature.1  But “interpretation of the creature’s eye size and activity pattern,” he says, “will spark debate.”  (This is code […]

Despite New Fossil, Origin of Marsupials Still Puzzles Evolutionists

Although the earliest known marsupial has just been found in China1, Richard L. Cifelli and Brian M. Davis, writing in the Dec. 12 issue of Science2 consider the phylogenetic trees of marsupial and placental mammals conflicting and puzzling.  Problems include (emphasis added): Switcheroo:  Fossil marsupials are predominately found in North America, but living ones are […]

Hunters Are Interfering With Evolution

Evolutionists don’t seem to know what to make of research about how hunters are affecting the evolution of bighorn sheep.  The paper published in the Dec. 11 issue of Nature1 was noted by a reviewer in the same issue2, who titled his review, “Undesirable evolutionary consequences of trophy hunting,” yet humans must be considered part […]

Got That?  The Complex Story of African Mammal Evolution

The article by Jean-Jacques Jaeger in the Dec. 4 issue of Nature1 is pretty upbeat about the evolutionary history of African mammals, but takes a bit of untangling to follow.     He begins confidently, “For some 40 million years, the Afro-Arabian landmass existed in splendid isolation.  A newly described fossil fauna from the end […]

How Bambi Gave Rise to Moby Dick

The title of this entry, in Kipling Just-So Story format, is only slightly modified from an article from The Guardian, titled, “How Bambi evolved into Moby-Dick.”  This is not a joke; check on the link and see.     The article is about the latest fossil claimed to be ancestral to whales.  Hans Thewissen (Northeastern […]

The Why and How of Leopard Spots

51; A leopard may not be able to change its spots (Jeremiah 13:23), but maybe evolution can – if evolutionists – or Rudyard Kipling – can tell us how or why.  A headline in the BBC News promised to tell us “how the leopard got its spots,” while PhysOrg promised to reveal, “Why the leopard […]

A Hairy Evolution Story

51; A mammal hair was found in amber.  It is claimed to be 100 million years old, but it is identical to modern mammal hair.  What is the meaning of this find?  How should it be interpreted?  It may say more about the modern evolutionist than about evolution itself.     New Scientist told the […]

Findings vs Surmisings in Evolutionary Biology

51; What part of the following story is a finding, and what is a supposition?  Science Daily told about work by Julie Baker (Stanford) and a graduate student who set out to discover the evolutionary origin of the mammalian placenta.  They evaluated differences between placentas and eggs of a number of different animals, and told […]

How Evolutionary Science Is Done: From Deduction to Story

“Evolution is a fact!” Carl Sagan stated emphatically on TV in his 1980 Cosmos series (now in reruns on The Science Channel).  Following this lead, many evolutionists repeat this four-word phrase, often augmenting it like, Evolution is a fact, like gravity (see association).  This motto has some interesting properties in its effects on scientific research.  […]
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