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Laetoli Footprints Fully Modern Too Early

Science Daily has reported a bombshell announcement from the University of Arizona School of Anthropology: the famous Laetoli footprints in Africa said to be 3.6 million years old are identical to modern human prints. “Based on previous analyses of the skeletons of Australopithecus afarensis, we expected that the Laetoli footprints would resemble those of someone […]

Ida Not a Human Ancestor

If Ida known then what I know now: the media-frenzied presentation of Ida (Darwinius masillae) as a distant relative of human beings last year has been debunked.  “Many lines of evidence indicate that Darwinius has nothing at all to do with human evolution,” said Chris Kirk (U of Texas) in an article on Science Daily.  […]

Evolutionary Inferences: Are They Incontrovertible?

No matter what is found in plants or animals, it finds its way into an evolutionary explanation eventually.  Are these explanations driven by the data, or forced into a belief system?  Are other explanations possible?  Some recent reports might inform these questions. Your inner plant:  Get in touch with your inner plant with a report […]

Flabbergast: “Primitive” Human Ancestors Were Sailors

Could the headline be any more shocking if it read, “iPod found in King Tut’s tomb”?  Heather Pringle began a report in National Geographic News with, “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.”  Stone tools alleged to be up to 130,000 years old have been found on the island of Crete.     Since Crete […]

The Evolution of Religion – or Vice Versa?

A Harvard professor has evolutionized religion again.  Marc Hauser, the one who trains his little boy to adore Darwin (07/03/2007) and wrote a book on how natural selection created morality (10/27/2006), is now saying that religion is a by-product of our evolution.  “These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions,” he wrote in […]

Small Hobbit Brain Means Little

Central in the debate whether Homo floresiensis (nicknamed hobbits) were human is the matter of their small brains.  Could diminutive human-like skeletons really be human with such small skulls? (cf. 03/04/2005).     Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a detailed analysis of brain size vs. body size for a number of primates.  They […]

Barefoot Is Better

Who do we wear shoes?  It seems obvious; we expect that they help us avoid injuries and provide comfort.  Maybe we should think of the injuries we are getting by wearing them.     The image of the barefoot person is usually of someone poor, deprived, lower-class, hick, unclean, redneck or something else unattractive.  Shoes […]

Neanderthals Admired Beauty

This may be the last evidence needed to debunk the image of Neanderthals as dim-witted brutes: they wore make-up.  The BBC News reported the discovery of their cosmetics containers: seashells with pigments kept for the purpose of improving their self-image.  If that is not a human characteristic, what else is?     The shells contained […]

Evolutionary Explanations Assume Evolution Explains

The facility with which some evolutionary biologists appeal to almost magical powers of evolution to explain anything and everything is revealed in some recent science articles.  Whatever needs explaining is due to evolution – evidence or not.  These four examples can be considered representative of the genre. The evolution of shopping:  Both PhysOrg and Science […]

What’s Natural for Humans?

Should humans do what comes naturally?  What comes naturally?  And what do we mean by natural?     Nicholas Wade in the New York Times said, “We May Be Born With an Urge to Help.”  He began with the same question: “What is the essence of human nature?”  Then he discussed evidence that infants have […]

Ardi Party Is Over

The hubbub over Ardipithecus (10/02/2009) may have been premature.  Despite 600 pages of material submitted to Science in October, many doubts and questions remain about the status of this hominin, or hominid, or whatever it was (the nomenclature is confusing and inconsistent even among paleoanthropologists).  In an article by Katherine Harmon in the pro-evolutionary magazine […]

Evolutionary Explanation Is Always a Work in Progress

As evolutionary biologists examine diverse plants and animals, it seems they are never able to give a definitive answer as to how they got that way.  Their work merely begins or continues to search for clues.  Like mothers, their work is never done.  At least this provides them job security. Box jellyfish:  There are about […]

In Brains, It’s Quality, Not Quantity, that Counts

Most anthropologists are obsessed with brain size.  How many cc’s (cubic centimeters) of brain could fit in the skull of this or that hominid?  PhysOrg reminds us that “Bigger not necessarily better, when it comes to brains.”  Here’s a shocker from scientists at Queen Mary University: “Tiny insects could be as intelligent as much bigger […]

Darwinizing Everything

150 years after The Origin of Species, it’s clear that Darwin succeeded in one thing: granting biologists free rein to speculate about how everything under the sun evolved.  Anything not understood, or seemingly contrary to the law of natural selection, or to previous speculations, can be shuttled off to future research. Noble amoebas:  You may […]

Darwinizing of Religion Continues

In an ongoing series for the Year of Darwin in Science magazine,1 Elizabeth Culotta wrote an article with the Darwinesque title, “On the Origin of Religion.”2  The editor’s summary acknowledges that “No consensus yet exists among scientists,” but sought the only answer in Darwinian terms: “in the past 15 years, a growing number of researchers […]
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