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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Treasure Trove of Rare Species Found in Papua New Guinea

There are still untouched areas on our planet.  Scientists announced the discovery of a “lost world” of new species of birds and mammals in a remote section of Papua New Guinea with no sign of trails or roads.  The news media are all abuzz with the exciting announcement: see MSNBC, National Geographic, BBC News, EurekAlert […]

How Reporters Exaggerate Darwinism

“Scientists force evolution in the lab,” announces Robert Roy Britt for LiveScience (see MSNBC copy).  A scientist forced a mutation that turned a green caterpillar into a black one.  The reader doesn’t get the rest of the story till the last line: “The next step, the researchers said, is to see if the variations do […]

Observing Animals for Fun and Profit

Whether scientists watch Animal Planet for inspiration or not, they often are fixated on the wonders in the animal kingdom and want to understand and imitate them.  Here are some recent examples: Waddle of the Penguins:  Max Kurz at U of Houston enjoys watching cuddly penguins like most of us, but wonders how they waddle […]

Evolutionary “Arms Race” – Is Coevolution Relentless?

Camellias and the weevils that attack their seeds seem locked in conflict.  The thicker a camellia grows its protective woody covering around its seeds, the longer the feeding tube on some weevil to break through and devour.  John R. Thompson talked about such “coevolutionary arms races” in Current Biology1 and asked whether such wars can […]

Eyes on the Prize: Science Sees Gold in Biomimetics

A fly eye made the cover of Science this week.1  It’s not that the compound eye is interesting to entomologists; MSNBC News picked up on the real message: “Animal eyes inspire new technology – Researchers learn optics lessons from biology.”  The cover story is about biomimetics, or reverse-engineering nature.  Scientists are looking for ways to […]

Butterflies Invented LEDs First

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were a prized invention of physicists, improved greatly in 2001, but now we find butterflies invented them first.  We already knew that butterfly wings achieve their shimmering iridescence by means of photonic crystals (01/29/2003), as do some birds (10/13/2003), but now it appears that the butterflies have even more exotic tricks up […]

News from the Cretaceous

Here are some recent stories about extinct reptiles and bird-like creatures from the age of dinosaurs. T. Rex Smelled Good:  A story in Science1 listed evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex had a large olfactory bulb, giving it a good sense of smell.  Analysis of the visual and auditory parts of the skull suggest that it also […]
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