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Limbed Snakes Initiate Evolutionary Quandary

Researchers have discovered the fossil of a snake with a pelvis and functioning legs in Rio Negro, Argentina.  Sebastian Apesteguía (Argentine Museum of Natural Science) says Najash rionegrina is not the oldest snake discovered; marine snakes have been discovered in North America as well as Eastern Europe.  However, Najash rionegrina has been considered the earliest […]

Comparing Preferences for Pain or Gain

A group of researchers published in the Journal of Political Economy introduced the idea economic loss and gain incentives are innate, not learned.  To demonstrate this concept, the researchers presented capuchin monkeys two opportunities leading to two different outcomes for the monkey: pain or gain.  The capuchin monkeys had a tendency to choose the opportunity […]

What Use Is Half a Wing?

Ken Dial is at it again, trying to explain bird flight from the ground up with his own version of a Darwinian story (see 01/16/2003).  The title of his paper in BioScience1 harks back to an old criticism of Darwin’s theory: “What use is half a wing?”  Well, half a wing could be a half […]

Insects Lead the Way

Why engineer things from scratch, when we can imitate nature?  Two recent examples come from the world of insects.  A press release from UC Berkeley begins, “Using the eyes of insects such as dragonflies and houseflies as models, a team of bioengineers at University of California, Berkeley, has created a series of artificial compound eyes.”  […]

Walking Snake Bites the Dust

It must be missing link season.  MSNBC News announced a snake with rudimentary legs.  While exciting for evolutionary theory, it raises questions, too.  Snakes were supposed to have evolved in the water, not on land. Check out what Ken Ham said on Answers in Genesis about this latest salvo.  If the snake had legs, does […]

Imaginary Feathers Found on “Turkey” Dino

Last month, we reported on announcements of a dinosaur fossil with imaginary feathers (02/08/2006); at least, all the news stories mentioned feathers and some had pictures of them, but the original paper said nothing about feathers.  Now, National Geographic has done it again: “Giant Turkey-Like Dinosaur Found in Utah,” the title reads, with a picture […]

Fish-o-pod ‘Missing Link’ Discovered: Media Goes Nuts

Evolutionists could hardly feel more relieved.  Just when anti-evolutionary sentiment is on the rise, a new fossil has been announced that gives pro-evolutionists a missing link to run up the fishpole, and boy, did the media salute.  Neil Shubin (U of Chicago) and two partners found a “tetrapod-like fish” fossil on a Canadian island.  It […]

Experimental Biologists Look to Animals for Inspiration

Whether insects, fish, birds or mammals, animals have a lot to teach scientists and engineers.  Here are some recent stories that begin to answer, “How do they do that?” with hopes that humans might be able to mimic their feats. Hard sponges:  Aimee Cunningham in Science News (03/25/2006; 169:12, p. 184) described the astonishment Joanna […]

Spiders Rappel Without Getting Dizzy

How can spiders drop straight down their dragline silk without going into dizzying spins on the way down?  It’s because spider silk has “shape memory” and a resistance to twisting, due to its unique molecular structure.  Scientists tested three strong threads for shape memory: Kevlar thread, copper thread, and spider silk.  The winner was spider […]

Go to the Ant Farm, Thou Darwinist

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Ant Farm, and inventor Milton Levine is still tickled about the impact his toy has had on millions of kids, reported AP on MSNBC.  The charm of Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm was in “creating a whole world that you can see,” a world of creative and industrious ants.  Moms […]

“This Is a Problem”: Dino-Feather Story Gets Scaly

Just when proponents of dinosaur-to-bird evolution were getting agreement on their story, along came Juravenator.  Announced in Nature,1 this new dinosaur fossil from Germany is dated later than the earliest alleged “feathered dinosaur,” but had no feathers.  The finely-preserved specimen, in the same Solnhofen limestone that preserved Archaeopteryx (dated 2-3 million years later), had clear […]

Lazarus, Come Forth: Living Fossils Rise from the Dead

An animal goes extinct.  Millions of years pass.  The animal is found living in some remote jungle.  Scientists call this the “Lazarus effect,” after the man Jesus raised from the dead (see John 11).  Others call these finds “living fossils,” long thought to be extinct but now thriving in isolated ecological niches.  There are many […]

What’s Darwin Got to Do With It?

Is evolutionary theory useful?  We saw Donald Kennedy et al. claiming last week (see 02/24/2006) that doctors need training in evolutionary thinking.  This week, Christopher Beard (U of Pittsburgh Medical Center) claimed that a study of dinosaur evolution can help doctors understand human lower back pain (see EurekAlert).  These, however, are announcements after the fact.  […]

Jurassic “Beaver” Raises Fur

Another mammal has been found smack in the middle of the age of dinosaurs.  Science reported the discovery of Castorocauda lutrasimilis, an aquatic mammal about 17” long, found in China and dated according to evolutionary reckoning to 164 million years old – some 40 million years older than the previous record holder (see also 04/01/2005 […]

March of the “Selfish Darwinians”?

Penguins: are they moral models, or evolutionary examples?  Ever since last year’s surprise blockbuster documentary March of the Penguins, the well-dressed seabirds and their harsh lives have provoked empathy and commentary.  Marlene Zuk (UC Riverside) took issue in Nature1 with those who try to moralize about monogamy from taking their cues only from the movie.  […]
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