VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Spider Silk Admired, Not Duplicated

Spiders still maintain the edge in a technology humans want: a material that absorbs huge amounts of energy without breaking.  The dragline silk spun by spiders is extremely robust – ounce for ounce stronger than steel, yet more flexible than Kevlar.  If a web the size of a football field could be erected in the […]

New Dinos Found; What Do They Mean?

There is often a wide gap between the bones that are found and the stories that are told about them.  As new dinosaur bones come to light, some reporters cannot resist imagining all kinds of things about their lifestyles.  Here are two recent examples.  As a bonus, we’ll add a non-dinosaur reptile story or two. […]

Evolutionary Predictions Fail Observational Tests

Lately, some expectations by evolutionists have not been fulfilled.  Here are several recent examples of evolutionary upsets: Dinobird genes cook up scrambled eggs:  Scientists expected that the dinosaurs presumed ancestral to birds would show a decreasing genome size.  The thinking was that the cost of maintaining a large genome takes its toll on flight.  In […]

The Moth in Spider’s Clothing

National Geographic News has a picture story about a moth that mimics a jumping spider.  It appears to work.  Scientists staged a battle royale between contestants of mimics and non-mimics in the ring with their jumping spider enemies, and the mimics won hands down.  The spiders went for the normal moths 62% of the time, […]

Robot Legs Can’t Keep Up With Animals

Robot designers are envious of animals.  Insects, crabs and lizards leave them in the dust.  Alison Abbott in Nature (Jan 18) described the latest attempts to get the bugs out of insect-imitating “biological robots.”1  “Programming a robot to think like an insect is tough,” the subtitle reads, “but it could help breed machines as manoeuvrable […]

This Bug Is Whiter than White, Brighter than Bright

Detergent manufacturers should get a load of this beetle.  Cyphochilus, a resident of southeast Asia, is clothed in one of the brightest white surfaces (per unit thickness) known.  British scientists reporting in Science1  were intrigued how the bug accomplishes this shining performance.  Most bright-white surfaces, such as paint and paper, need a hundred times the […]

Amphibious Assault Against Gradualism

A State of the Salamander Address was printed in PNAS recently.1  An international group of scientists looked for evolutionary ancestry and “Global patterns of diversification in the history of modern amphibians.”  It would seem Mr. Darwin has a bit of frog in his throat: The fossil record of modern amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians) provides […]

Insects Pester Darwinian Story

It’s enough to bug any Darwinian: where did the insects come from?  Here are some problems right off the bat sonar: Insects are fantastically diverse. Insects are among the most successful animals. There are no insect fossils earlier than the Devonian (evolutionary date: 410 million years ago). The earliest segmented body plans appeared in the […]

Incredible Stasis in Evolution: What Does It Mean?

Quite often in phylogenetic research, evolutionists find examples of extreme conservation of genes or traits.  How they explain the lack of change is almost as interesting as the phenomenon itself.  Here are two recent examples. Your cousin the shark:  Surprise: you have more in common with horn sharks than bony fishes do.  Craig Venter’s international […]

The Physics of Gecko Toes

Why would anyone want to know the details of physical forces when gecko feet walk on glass?  Here’s why: “The results have obvious implications for the fabrication of dry adhesives and robotic systems inspired by the gecko’s locomotion mechanism.”  A team of scientists from Santa Barbara and China watched gecko toes peel off glass and […]

Darwin Missed the Beetle Can Opener Trick

You know those big horns on rhinoceros beetles?  They’re not just for showing off.  Scientists at Indiana University found a “surprising function” for them.  It turns out “horned beetles use their young horns as a sort of can opener, helping them bust out of thick larval shells.”  The function of horned beetles’ wild protrusions has […]

Little Animals, Big Technologies

You can’t always say bigger is better.  In the animal world, some of the smallest critters have capabilities that belie their size and compare well with their less dimensionally-challenged brethren.  Bee secure:  Honeybees are being trained to sniff bombs.  Really.  Read all about it in a press release from Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Bees were […]

Scientists Force Rapid Natural Selection in Lizards

Scientists transported a predator to a Caribbean island and watched some of the lizards evolve longer legs to run faster.  Then, as some of them took to climbing trees, their hind legs grew shorter.  They are calling this a test of natural selection, and are amazed the effects took effect so rapidly – in one […]

You’ll Love Beetle-Foot Tape

If beetles can do it, scientists should be able to: climb the wall, that is.  Some researchers at Max Planck Institute have invented an adhesive that sticks to glass like beetle feet.  The secret was to manufacture thousands of microscopic pads that adhere to smooth surfaces by van der Waals forces (the attraction of neighboring […]

Bees Make Beeline to the Headlines

The science journals and media were abuzz with honeybee stories this week.  We counted 18 press releases and half a dozen research papers related to aspects of honeybees, including the publication of the honeybee genome.  Many research labs seem to have gotten into the act of figuring out what makes bees tick.  The major stories […]
All Posts by Date