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New World Record for Winged Migration

The BBC News reports that a female bar-tailed godwit flew 11,500km (almost 7200 mi) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand.  The journey took about a week.  Observers at Massey University used electronic tags to catalog the birds’ flight.     This distance is nearly double what ornithologists used to consider an “extremely long” flight.  This […]

Dinosaurs Stretched, Shrunk and Twisted Into Birds

Size matters, thought paleontologists envisioning the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.  The old story was that dinosaurs shrunk as their arms were becoming wings.  That view has been challenged by a new fossil reported in Science.1  Alan H. Turner (American Museum of Natural History) and four others reported a “basal dromeosaurid” that was small long […]

Whale Sonar: Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

Biosonar is a complex ability possessed by toothed whales and dolphins, bats and some birds.  It includes both the ability to produce signals and to process the echoes to locate prey.  How could such a system evolve?  Scientists at UC Berkeley proposed an answer.  The press release promised a developing story: Behind the sailor’s lore […]

Birds Eat Dark Moths, Therefore God Does Not Exist

Michael Majerus watched birds eat peppered moths from his window for seven years (06/25/2004), then drew his conclusions.  In a presentation to a science conference in Uppsala, Sweden on August 23, he said that the peppered moth story proves evolution, which means there is no supernatural being to save us, there is no second coming, […]

Evolution Takes Credit

It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but evolution often just takes.  The following news stories show evolution taking credit for a variety of phenomena when it is not quite clear how it earned it. Big insects:  Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory surmised that insects were larger in the past because there […]

Fossil Gorilla Forces Hominid Ancestor Earlier

A set of gorilla teeth found in Ethiopia pushes the evolutionary story of a split between apes and humans back almost twice as far as previously thought.  Nature reported the fossil announcement that estimated the date of the teeth as 10.5-11 million years old.1  The prior estimate for a human-ape divergence was about 6 million. […]

Crows Use Tools on Tools

Crows can use one tool on another to get food.  A report in Science Daily says they appear to use analogical reasoning, not just trial and error, to figure out how to manipulate objects.  They used a short stick to get a longer stick out of a toolbox in order to reach a snack too […]

Two Ways to Look at a Fin

Two science articles this month showed very different ways to look at a fish fin.  One looked for evolution; the other looked for design.  One tried to trace an evolutionary story with no practical application; the other tried to find ways to improve our lives.     The evolutionary story involved a fossil coelacanth.  Science […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Shark Chefs and Finger Food

A press release from University of Florida wins this week’s prize for trying to make dogmatism funny (or at least appealing to snackers): When the first four-legged animals sprouted fingers and toes, they took an ancient genetic recipe and simply extended the cooking time, say University of Florida scientists writing in Wednesday’s issue of the […]

Monkeys Prefer the Sound of Silence

Given a choice, chimpanzees choose silence over music.  The Random Samples page in Science1 mentioned experiments by scientists from MIT and Harvard where monkeys were given a choice of booths playing a flute lullaby, a Mozart concerto, techno-rock, and silence.  Between the musical booths, “The monkeys spent an average of about two-thirds of their time […]

Darwinism Seen in Action!

An example of Darwinian evolution in action was reported by EurekAlert.  This dramatic announcement called it a “rare example” of a “controversial theory of genetic conflict” in the reproduction of certain fish: The conflict has been likened to a “battle of the sexes” or an “arms race” at the molecular level between mothers and fathers.  […]

Deep Sea Vents Tantalize Evolutionists

A team of Chinese and American scientists pulled up fragments of deep-sea vents and analyzed their contents, reported Science Daily.  They said the creatures inhabiting these vents are the “most primitive life forms on Earth,” and so thought that the fragments might provide clues to the origin of life.  Timothy Kusky of Saint Louis University […]

Motorized Ears Give Mammals Acoustic Acuity

f=”crev03.htm#amazing11″>03/27/2001), we reported on the discovery of prestin, a motor protein that acts as an amplifier in the inner ear.  One of the fastest-acting molecular motors known (02/21/2002), prestin works by stiffening the rod-shaped cell body with its cilia.  Somehow, the action of this motor protein amplifies hearing in mammalian ears by several orders of […]

It’s Not a Bird, It’s a Plane

Look to the birds of the air, and they will teach you aeronautics.  That’s what designers of the Robo-Swift did.  PhysOrg reported about a new plane that imitates a swift thing on the wing: RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with shape shifting wings, inspired by the common swift, one of nature’s most efficient flyers.  […]

Mosquitos Are Water-Walking Champions

We hate ’em, but in one sense we should admire them: mosquitos are the water-walking champions of the animal kingdom.  They even beat out water striders, reported Live Science and EurekAlert based on research from Physical Review E.  Science Daily wrote of “miraculous mosquito legs” and had a picture of the intricate fan-shaped superhydrophobic structures […]
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