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Baby Lucy Makes National Geographic Evolution Cover

No regime change is evident at National Geographic since Bill Allen left (see 02/15/2005).  The Nov. 2006 is vintage NG with alleged primitive human ancestors on the cover, this time “Baby Lucy” (see 09/20/2006, 10/02/2006).  Despite many passionate letters to the editor after their in-your-face Darwinist two years ago (see “Was Darwin Wrong?” 10/24/2004), this […]

Have Darwinian Anthropologists Learnt Their Lessons?

Chris Stringer, writing for the BBC News, talked about “Piltdown’s lessons for modern science.”  After telling the history of the famous “missing link” fraud, he discussed four “lessons learnt” by one of the most notorious hoaxes in science history.  For one, “we mustn’t let preconceived ideas run away with us.”  For another, “specimens have to […]

Wanted Dead or Alive: New Mammals

Do we know all our fellow mammals?  Further research has uncovered new furry creatures, fur sure.  Furthermore, some are dead and some are alive and well: Weird Tooth:  An “ancient mammal that defies classification” has been given a name, at least.  EurekAlert reported that Horolodectes sunae, found 30 years ago in Alberta, remains a mystery: […]

Oxygen YoYos and Wings

Molecular oxygen: you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.  We breathe it in constantly or else we would turn blue and die within minutes.  Yet we take antioxidants because of the harm that oxygen radicals can wreak in our cells.  Like fire, it is a useful substance, but only when tightly […]

Precambrian Cell Division Imaged

Embryos frozen in stone in the act of cell division were reported in Science.1  According to a press release from Virginia Tech, there are millions of fossilized embryos in the Doushantuo formation in south China, estimated to be 551 million years old, but “later stages of these animals are rare.”  The EurekAlert version of this […]

Early Hunters Evolved Into Marathoners

Why are humans so good at endurance running?  According to Dan Lieberman of Harvard, “our body shape evolved to allow our ancestors to run long distances, and reach animal carcasses before other scavengers.”  He figured that “chasing animals until they collapse from exhaustion yields more meat per hunt than hunting with spears or a bow […]

More Scientists Claim “Hobbit Man” Was Fully Human

It was not a primitive form of Homo erectus that shrunk to a small stature because of being isolated on an island: it was one of us.  That’s what more scientists are saying about Homo floresiensis, the small-skulled pygmy skeletons found in Liang Bua cave on the island of Flores in Indonesia (10/27/2004)  The new […]

Sea Monster Fossils Found in Arctic

The BBC News reported the discovery of over two dozen plesiosaurs, pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs (see 04/20/2005) north of Norway.  Skeletons of the large marine reptiles, completely assembled, were found buried in fine-grained sedimentary layers of black shale.  “Everything we’re finding is articulated,” said Jorn Harald Hurum, co-director of the dig.  “It’s not single bones here […]

Should Elephants and Lions Be Reintroduced to North America?

Believe it or not, some scientists think large mammals that existed in North America in prehistoric times should be brought back.  This is called “rewilding,” in hopes of healing some of the ecological disruption caused when early humans “played a significant role in their demise 13,000 years ago.”  A dozen scientists provided a detailed proposal […]

Was Baby Lucy Someone Else’s Kid?

Jeffrey Schwartz (U of Pittsburgh) thinks the “child” skeleton nicknamed “Lucy’s baby” celebrated in the news media last month (09/20/2006) was probably not the same species as Lucy.  In fact, he’s not sure if anyone knows what species the skeleton found in Hadar, Ethiopia is.  According to a press release on EurekAlert, without exposed teeth […]

The Trouble with Neanderthals

If nothing else, the scientific investigation of Neanderthal Man is valuable for illustrating how fluid scientific opinion can be.  Since we found out Sept. 1 that Neanderthal genes may be lurking among us, two more unexpected claims have been made about these wrestler-build members of genus Homo. Hideouts and Holdouts:  Some Neanderthals may have lived […]

Record Dino Trove in Mongolia

67 dinosaurs in a week: that’s what diggers from Montana State University found in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.  The team effort was led by veteran dinosaurologist Jack Horner.  Most skeletons were Psittacosaurs, thought to be predecessors of the horned ceratopsids, like Triceratops.  Seeking to understand the developmental biology of dinosaurs, the team was less […]

Dinosaur Bone Hunting Looks Promising

With probably less than a third of dinosaur types known, prospects are good for a new generation of young people to find one of their own, reports News@Nature.  New finds in Mongolia, South America and China over the last fifteen years indicate the vast majority of dinosaurs are still waiting to be discovered.  The authors […]

Express Your Inner Alley Oop

There’s a little Neanderthal in a lot of us, claims The Telegraph.  This is bad news and good news: People who have large noses, a stocky build and a beetle brow may indeed be a little Neanderthal, according to a genetic study.  But the good news is that other research concludes that Neanderthals were much […]

Meanwhile, Back on the Dinosaur Ranch

Sid Perkins went on a dinosaur hunt in Montana this past July, and wrote up his experiences for the cover story of the Aug. 26 issue of Science News.  It was more personal diary than science.  Perkins talked about the teamwork, hard work, and the occasional thrill of finding a fragment of bone that the […]
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