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Evolution Revealed?

When the news reports evidence for evolution in the fossils or genes, it sounds like Darwinism has been all but proved, because scientists have observed its effects.  Can these stories withstand deeper scrutiny? Lungless frog:  Science Daily reported a frog without lungs in Borneo.  Lunglessness in tetrapods has been reported in salamanders and other amphibians, […]

Moths Navigate in the Dark Against the Wind

A moth weighs little more than a piece of paper, but it does things no paper blowing in the wind can do: it can navigate with and against the wind to get where it needs to go.     Science Daily reported on work by UK scientists who used “entomological radar” to monitor where the […]

Evolution After the Fact

Many scientific theories are evaluated on their ability to make predictions.  Good theories suggest experiments that lead a researcher to discover new things.  In biology, however, “evolution” is a word often invoked as an after-market explanation for observations that emerged outside of the theory.  Here are some recent examples: Ant farm:  Science Daily reported on […]

Tuatara Genes Are Running in Place

One would expect a living fossil to show extreme stasis at the genetic level.  Not so for the tuatara, a New Zealand reptile, reported EurekAlert: researchers found that “although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving – at a DNA level – faster than any other animal […]

The Gecko in the Flight Simulator

It’s a lizard!  It’s a plane!  It’s Supergecko!  Researchers at UC Berkeley (where else) put a gecko into a wind tunnel to watch it fly.  News about gecko’s magic feet that allow it to run vertically up glass is almost old hat now (08/27/2002, 01/04/2005).  Even a gecko can lose its footing, though, and thereon […]

Animal Feats Inspire Imitation

Imagine carrying 850 times your own weight.  Step aside, Hercules, and meet the Hercules beetle: the strongest creature in the world.  Science Daily said that researchers in Belgium are not just impressed with its show of strength.  They are finding inspiration for “intelligent materials.”     The Hercules beetle has a shell that is able […]

A Step Closer to Gecko Adhesive

Scientists are getting closer to imitating the amazing wall-climbing ability of geckos.  Science Daily reports that a team from UC Berkeley manufactured tape with hard polymer fibers just 600 nanometers across that mimic the spatulae on gecko feet.     This latest attempt at imitating the gecko works only on smooth, clean surfaces, but requires […]

Butterfly Wings Flash Shiny Optical Tricks

You can get brilliant colors without pigment if you build patterns near the wavelengths of light.  Butterflies have the trick down to a science.  Their wings shimmer and shine with brilliant colors produced by nanostructures that scientists want to imitate.     Science Daily told how butterflies and moths, even the white-winged varieties, use nanostructures […]

Monarch Butterflies as a Test of Evolution

The Discovery Institute and the National Academy of Sciences have recently published books with butterflies prominently displayed on the cover.  The two books give opposite viewpoints on whether life was designed or a product of evolution.  Maybe a look at a real-world butterfly research project can shed light on the debate.     A paper […]

Yet Another Dinosaur Extinction Theory: Bugs

A press release from Oregon State claims that insects may have finished off the dinosaurs.  Two main reasons were given for this hypothesis: (1) the extinction coincides with the rise of flowering plants and their pollinators, and (2) the impact theory has serious problems. “There are serious problems with the sudden impact theories of dinosaur […]

Accurate Chemical Classifier Mimics Insect Nose

Two Germans have built a better chemical classification system by taking their inspiration from insect olfactory organs.  Here’s how they described their achievement in an abstract from PNAS:1 The chemical sense of insects has evolved to encode and classify odorants.  Thus, the neural circuits in their olfactory system are likely to implement an efficient method […]

Nature Inspires Useful Products

Some day soon you may be able to extract water out of thin air, decorate your walls with detachable wallpaper, read street signs clearly in fog, and employ reusable tape underwater.  These are some of the innovations coming from biomimetics – science inspired by nature’s designs. Venus flytrap:  Alex Crosby at University of Massachusetts was […]

Amphibian Imprints Found

Full-body imprints of amphibians claimed to be 330 million years old have been reported from Pennsylvania.  “The imprints show the unmistakably webbed feet and bodies of three previously unknown, foot-long salamander-like critters that lived 100 million years before the first dinosaurs.”     The story in a press release from the Geological Society of America […]

Nanofabrication Imitates Shells, Butterflies

A new plastic “strong as steel” has been manufactured according to the specs in seashells, reported PhysOrg.  “By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that’s as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.”  (See these previous entries about how marine organisms manufacture their shells: 06/26/2003, […]

New Atomizer Mimics Bombardier Beetle

There’s a new technology coming to market, thanks to a little bug.  The bombardier beetle has long been used by creationists as a creature with a weapon against evolutionary theory.  Its tightly-integrated combustion apparatus would be useless or dangerous to the beetle unless all the parts worked together from the start.  This, creationists argue, is […]
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