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What Do You Get When You Cross a Lion with a Tiger?

A liger, that’s what.  No kidding: you get a big cat with a mane and faint stripes that likes to play in the water.  National Geographic News has a special article, with photos, about ligers. This is offered without much comment, just for those who want to learn about something unusual in the animal kingdom, […]

Sharks and Beavers Inspire Humans

Animals never cease to amaze us with their clever solutions to problems that plague human technology.  EurekAlert told of work being done by the Society for Experimental Biology to emulate shark skin as a self-cleaning surface for boats; National Geographic News has pictures of the new product, and a comparison with shark skin.  The navy […]

Horse Evolution Tale Gets Hairier

If you thought the story of horse evolution was well understood as a poster child of Darwinism at work, consider what Weinstock et al. say in a preprint in PLoS Biology:1 The rich fossil record of horses has made them a classic example of evolutionary processes.  However, while the overall picture of equid evolution is […]

Nose Knows More than Math Pros Suppose

The aroma of coffee, of a steak, of cherries – these smells are all composed of dozens if not hundreds of separate molecules, yet our brains immediately recognize them each as a coherent whole.  How does the nose and the brain process all this information?  This is the subject of an article in the Caltech […]

Lions Guard Kidnap Victim in Ethiopia

Some news stories make you wonder about divine providence.  Netscape News reported a story of lions that rescued a kidnapped Ethiopian girl who was being beaten by seven men trying to force her to marry one of them.  In Ethiopia, men will often beat and rape a woman who resists a forced marriage; up to […]

New Rodent Discovered in Southeast Asia

“To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary,” says Dr. Robert Timmons of a stubby-legged, hairy rodent discovered in Thailand.  “For all we know, this could be the last remaining mammal family left to be discovered.”  It’s not exactly like a squirrel, rat, chinchilla or guinea pig: it belongs in […]

More Convergent Evolution Claimed for Dino-Era Mammal

A chipmunk-size mammal with Popeye-like forearms and beaver-like teeth resembling an armadillo?  That’s how the discoverers are describing the fossil they named Fruitafossor, a small mammal found near Fruita, Colorado and reported in Science.1  They think it dug burrows and ate termites.  Of special interest were the open-root teeth like those of the beaver.  Lead […]

Migration Theory Overturned: “Mammals Went Crazy” – Or Did Darwinists?

The discovery of an elephant shrew fossil in Wyoming badlands said to be 54 million years old is causing a stir.  Elephant shrews were thought to be endemic to Africa, the alleged cradle of mammals.  This find hints not only that elephant shrews may have originated in North America instead, but also that “there may […]

Wonders from the Animal World

Several recent stories prove that animals continue to amaze us with their tricks: Elephants:  The BBC News summarized a report from Nature1 about an elephant in Kenya named Mlaika that could make “convincing truck sounds.”  The elephant lived near a road and apparently learned how to do impressions.  This is the only other case of […]

Horse Evolution Is Back on the Charts

The old horse-evolution charts from the 1880s have been revised substantially since 1920 when paleontologists began to realize the story was not so simple.  (Thomas Huxley had used the series of O. C. Marsh as a focal point of his 1876 lecture tour in the United States.)  These charts portrayed small horses with three toes […]

Can Evolution Repeat Itself?

A press release from University of Chicago reported today that “115-million-year-old fossil of a tiny egg-laying mammal thought to be related to the platypus provides compelling evidence of multiple origins of acute hearing in humans and other mammals” (emphasis added in all quotes).  The fossil apparently shows inner-ear bones in the monotreme lineage that supposedly […]

Bat Theory Strikes Out

An international team of biologists set out to write the family history of bats, a story that is “largely unknown,” they admitted in Science.1  They didn’t have much to go on.  “The fossil record is impoverished,” their research confirmed, so they tried to piece together a phylogenetic story by combining all that is known about […]

Hippo to Whale: Missing Chain

Despite claims to the contrary,2 whale and hippo evolution are poorly understood.  That’s the gist of a paper in PNAS this week1 that tries to connect the dots between hippopotami (artiodactyls) and whales (cetaceans) and other groups of mammals.  There’s lots of missing dots:  The origin of late Neogene Hippopotamidae (Artiodactyla) involves one of the […]

This Badger Ate Dinosaurs for Breakfast

BBC News claims a new fossil discovery published in Nature,1 a large badger-like carnivorous mammal, ate dinosaurs for lunch.  But then again, who knows what time of day the Cretaceous restaurants were open?     The fossil, another in a series of spectacular finds from the Liaoning Province in China, is creating a sensation, because […]

Introducing the Stretch & Squish Theory of Evolution

Evolution is too slow if theorists rely on single point mutations, say two biologists from U. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who published their ideas in PNAS1 (see summary on EurekAlert).  Instead, evolution proceeds by rapidly distorting, stretching and squishing what is already there, they claim.     They claim that even Darwin knew that […]
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