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Do Genes Reveal the Cambrian Explosion?

A Croatian geneticist believes he can find the Cambrian Explosion in the genes.  Science Daily told about Tomislav Domazet-Loso from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, whose team employed a “novel methodological approach in evolutionary studies” they called “genomic phylostratigraphy.”  Looking for a “genetic trigger” for the Cambrian explosion, they hoped their method can “shed […]

Messy Evidence Proves Humans Evolved

An article from Live Science seems to suggest that the way to do science these days is to believe things in spite of the evidence – at least when it comes to human evolution.  In a juxtaposition of imponderables that might make a schizophrenic feel at home, Meredith Small asserted that evolution is a fact […]

Tales of Two Footprints

Footprints in the sands of time have been found at two different locations.  What tales do they tell?     One is a footprint of a Roman soldier.  EurekAlert described how the sandal print was uncovered at Hippos, or Susita, on a hill east of the Sea of Galilee.  It hints that soldiers participated in […]

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. […]

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 […]

Largest Dinosaur Mass Grave in Switzerland Found

As many as 100 plateosaurs may be buried in a mass grave in Switzerland, reported the Reuters news service.  “The finds show that an area known for Plateosaurus finds for decades may be much larger than originally thought” – as much as a mile in width in the town of Frick, near the German border.  […]

Homo habilis Contemporary with Homo erectus

Homo habilis couldn’t have been the ancestor of Homo erectus, because they lived side by side.  This has been all over the news since it was announced in Nature yesterday: see the Times UK, PhysOrg, the BBC News, Reuters Africa, National Geographic, and MSNBC News, which says the new discovery paints a “messy” view of […]

Romanian Neanderthal May Have Interbred With Modern Humans

A report in National Geographic says that a skull found in a Romanian cave is shaking up ideas about Neanderthal Man and its relationship to modern humans.  The mostly modern skull shows a feature that was characteristic of Neanderthals: “The otherwise human skull has a groove at the base of the back of the skull, […]

Trilobite Tree Is Upside Down

Darwin predicted that life would become more diverse over time, like the branches on a tree.  The pattern of trilobites in the fossil record is just the opposite: more diversity appears in the lower layers, and less diversity in the upper layers.  Surprisingly, evolutionary paleontologists are turning this into evidence for Darwin’s theory.     […]

Dinosaur Sex and Other Tales

How much do we really know about dinosaurs?  How much can be inferred from their bones?  Two recent stories illustrate conflicting themes: much of what we thought we knew was wrong, but that doesn’t stop evolutionary paleontologists from speaking with confidence. Walking with dino ancestors:  Paleontologists used to think that the alleged precursors of dinosaurs […]

Human Variability May Swamp Ancestral Hominid Claims

Here are some things to think about when paleoanthropologists draw inferences from fossils alleged to be human ancestors.  A seven-foot-nine-inch man in Mongolia just married a lady more than two feet shorter (see picture at National Geographic).  And a man with just a narrow rim of brain material inside his skull had no symptoms except […]

News Reporters Knuckling Under to Darwinian Storytelling

The science news media are virtually going ape over a claim about how chimpanzees might have evolved into upright-walking humans: what is going on?  It began with a paper in PNAS.1  Sockol, Raichlen and Pontzer measured the gaits of chimpanzees and humans and concluded that it is more efficient to walk upright than to propel […]

Roadrunner and Largest Flying Bird Described from Fossils

A bird with a 23-foot wingspan was described in the BBC News.  At an estimated 155 pounds, this bird probably had to jump from a height to get airborne and likely rode on thermals.  The article says the bird rivalled in size some light airplanes.  A diagram shows the Argentinean giant with wings upwardly stretched […]

But Is It Evolution?

Every week the news media cheerfully present the latest finding that is claimed to be evidence for evolution.  The following recent examples, though, might leave a perceptive reader wondering, “What’s Darwin got to do with it?” Slow? No!:  If you thought evolution was a gradual process too slow to watch, get a load of this: […]

Baby Frozen Mammoth Found Intact

The BBC News has a picture of a baby frozen mammoth that was found intact in northwest Siberia.  The article says it is one of the best-preserved frozen mammoths ever found, complete with eyes, fur, and trunk.  One investigator said, “In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world’s most valuable discovery” of […]
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