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What Are Human Genes Doing in a Sea Anemone?

The genome of a sea anemone has been published, and of all things, this lowly animal has genes common to vertebrates, even humans.  Science Daily began with a conundrum, “The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, providing major insights into the […]

Mother-of-Pearl Inspires Materials Science

It’s not only beautiful, it’s strong.  EurekAlert described how scientists are intrigued by mother-of-pearl, also called nacre, because of its strength: you can drive a truck over it and it will not break.  It is 3,000 times more resistant to fracture than the aragonite from which the oyster makes it.  95% of it self-assembles in […]

Did Sponges Invent Nerves?

Scientists didn’t expect to find working neurons in a sea sponge, among the simplest of multicellular organisms.  Sponges lack internal organs and a nervous system.  Yet there they were, according to Science Daily, with synapses and apparent means of communication across them.     “This pushes back the origins of these genetic components of the […]

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 […]

Think Fast: News Briefs

Of the many news items that cross the CEH desk, many are noteworthy but go unreported due to lack of time.  Here are a few that deserve honorable mention lest they pass into oblivion. Cosmology: Dark future – Several sources like Science Now and Space.com commented on the dark future of the universe if cosmic acceleration […]

New Genes Don’t Fit Mr. Darwin

If evolutionists predicted the wealth of new data from genetics was going to fall nicely into an evolutionary picture of Darwin’s tree of life, nature has foiled them again.  Ancestral patterns are blurred by unexpected findings, such as the following: Little giants:  Small, simple.  Large, complex.  That’s the old high-school picture of genetic evolution, but […]

Box Jellyfish Sees and Reacts with “Human-Like Vision”

Who would expect a jellyfish to have complex eyes?  Updating what we reported previously about complex optics in the 24 eyes of the box jellyfish (see 05/15/2005), Live Science says the most complex eyes are found on the top and bottom of the cube-like “head” of the animal, “giving it an extreme fish-eye view, so […]

Turtles Hurtle Through the Sea Magnetically

Experiments on sea turtles have shown that they follow the earth’s magnetic field to the exact beach where they were born to lay their eggs.  “It is almost as if they were equipped with a compass pointing towards the beach in question,” says an article on EurekAlert.  “So they can correct any deflection they are […]

Submarine, Make Like a Fish

Submarine designers are learning a thing or two from fish.  The latest fish trick to imitate is the lateral line: a row of specialized sensors fish have along their flanks.  Fish use these for synchronized swimming and predator avoidance.  EurekAlert reported on work by scientists at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne to build artificial lateral […]

Fossil Fish Meat Pushes Idea of Early Complexity

An article in National Geographic News today has a title to catch the eye (or nose) of seafood lovers: “Fossil Meat Found in 380-Million-Year-Old Fish.”  Knowing how quickly fish spoils if left out, this might strike a reader as surprising.  Sure enough, fossilized muscle, with “bundles of muscle cells, blood vessels, and nerve cells” clearly […]

Squid Eye Beats Zeiss

A squid whose scientific name means “vampire from hell” wears specs with excellent specs (that’s lenses with excellent specifications, for the pun-challenged).  Elisabeth Pennisi in Science reported on a talk given at an Arizona science conference about the vampire squid, whose “lenses are designed for seeing details, even in virtual darkness.”  Researchers studying cephalopod eyes […]

Tiny Fish Smell for Miles

Fish hatchlings no more than a few millimeters in size are able to find their way home by smell, scientists from James Cook University found.  After hatching from a reef, baby fish are often swept out to sea for miles.  The scientists were curious how they are able to get back to the particular spot […]

Urchin Genome Hyped by Media as Human Cousin

The publication of a new genome for a plant or animal is becoming routine.  For some reason, the news media instantly jumped on claims that the genome of the sea urchin, published in Science, means that evolution is all but figured out, and that we should each feel a special place in our hearts for […]

Marine Mimics Found Off Thailand

Live Science reported findings from a rich seascape off the coast of Thailand: “Scientists combing through undersea fauna off Indonesia’s Papua province said Monday they had discovered dozens of new species, including a shark that walks on its fins and a shrimp that looks like a praying mantis.”     National Geographic posted even more […]

Bacteria Rule the World – Benevolently

We should love bacteria, not annihilate them.  Bacteria are our friends, according to Dianne K. Newman of Caltech:1 As a microbiologist, I’m appalled when I go to buy soap or dishwashing detergent, because these days it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t say ‘antibacterial’ on it…. It’s a commonly held fallacy that all bacteria are […]
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