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Quick, Make Like an Ant

Ants deserve a lot of respect, despite being a nuisance in the kitchen.  The very fact they are so effective at bugging us is a testament to their ingenuity in foraging, communicating and organizing themselves into successful colonies.  We might just gain some valuable knowledge by watching them more closely. Foraging: Live Science says that […]

Envying the Tooth of the Sea Urchin

Did you know the lowly sea urchin has a tooth?  It’s not just any tooth: it’s “a remarkable grinding tool,” according to a team of international scientists.  They even used the word “exquisite” in the title of their paper in PNAS.1  Humans might benefit from knowing more about this tool.  “The improved understanding of these […]

Fossil Fish Pushes Evolutionary Time

Quick!  When was the Age of Fishes?  If you said “Devonian,” you were correct according to the textbooks and museums, but where’s your evidence?  Look at this diorama in the Smithsonian depicting the seas of the Silurian, the period preceding the Devonian: crinoids, trilobites, corals and nautiloids, but no fish.  It may be time to […]

Is a Hippo a Pig or a Whale?

Two teams of evolutionists are having a spat over whale evolution.  Thewissen and team (Northeastern Ohio U) say the hippo is close to the pig, but Jessica Theodor (U of Calgary) and Jonathan Geisler (Georgia Southern U) say it’s in the whale family tree.  Their arguments and counter-arguments were published in Nature last week.1  Science […]

Amazing Fossils: Do They Help Darwin?

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 […]

More Functional Non-Coding DNA Found

Another finding undermines the concept of “junk DNA.”  A team of scientists in Massachusetts found over a thousand functional RNA transcripts from intergenic sequences.  These RNA transcripts, coming not from genes but from regions earlier thought to be non-functional, take part in diverse functions from stem cell pluripotency to HOX gene developmental processes to cell […]

See Like a Bee, Fly Like a Fly

An aerospace engineer in Australia was inspired by insects to design a better way for missiles to find their targets.  Aviation Week reported on work announced by the Australian Government Department of Defense.  “Bioseeker,” a new guidance system for smarter weapons, was inspired by insect navigation.  The Hon. Warren Snowdon, on his website as Minister […]

Using Engineering to Prove Evolution

David Deamer smiling at a tide pool: is there an evolutionary connection?  The picture accompanies an article on Science Daily about Deamer’s latest thinking on the origin of life.  He’s going to share his ideas at a symposium in Oakland, California, organized by Eugenie Scott of the NCSE. According to Deamer, life began with complex […]

Can Evolution Keep You Safe?

A new practical use for Darwinism has come to light: natural security.  Two recent articles claim that we can learn from evolution how best to protect ourselves. Natural security:  Darwinism can be practical, thinks Rafe Sagarin, an ecologist at Duke University.  Science Daily reported that he is using Darwinian principles to write and speak about […]

Songbirds Sing on a Fast Wing

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 Uses of Wood Rot

Wood rot fungus doesn’t sound like a useful thing.  Most people would rather get rid of it – especially those who have seen their houses decay because of it.  Some scientists, however, are intrigued by it.  It may have properties that could some day help power your car.     Science Daily reported that the […]

Modeling Solar Cells on Butterflies

Sunlight is free – if we could just learn how to use it better.  For decades, engineers have been trying to improve the efficiency of solar cells.  Why not look at nature?  Science Daily reported on work going on in China and Japan: “The discovery that butterfly wings have scales that act as tiny solar […]

A Tale of Two Sites: Moby Dog and The Claw

Discoveries portrayed as major evolutionary missing links were announced this week.  One is a putative transitional form from land animal to whale, and one is a Cambrian trilobite-like creature said to be evolving the first claw. Moby dog:  The current evolutionary scenario for the origin of whales is that they evolved from dog-like hoofed animals […]

What Mean These Observations?

Science news outlets report many interesting findings every week.  It’s not always clear, though, whether the conclusions drawn from them are warranted by the data.  Here are some recent cases: Jaws of steel:  A skull labeled Australopithecus robustus was studied for the force its jaws could generate.  Interpretation: “Early humans had jaws of steel.”  With […]

The Early Bird Gets the Just-So Story

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 […]
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