Color-Blind Cephalopods Perform Colorful Camouflage Tricks
June 6, 2007
Roger Hanlon has studied octopi, squid and cuttlefish for decades. He stands in awe of their ability to camouflage themselves. In a Primer article for Current Biology,1 he detailed some of their sleight-of-skin magic tricks. His article has frames from a movie clip that show an octopus changing its skin from plain to […]
Did Walking Evolve in the Trees?
June 4, 2007
The news media are all echoing a report from Science1 that orangutan behavior in trees tells us something about the evolution of human bipedalism (see National Geographic, Fox News, and MSNBC News). If this new view gains acceptance, it means the old iconic image of man emerging upright from a stooped-over ape posture (05/03/2007) is […]
Origin of Multicellularity: Back to the Drawing Board
June 1, 2007
Micro-RNAs have been found in green algae. So? What’s the big deal? If you read the statements in Nature,1 it sounds like evolutionary biologists consider it a big, bad deal: The discovery, made independently by two labs, dismantles the popular theory that the regulatory role of microRNAs in gene expression is tied to the evolution […]
Resisting Science, or Resisting Purposelessness?
May 29, 2007
Why do so many adults “resist science”?, asked Yale psychologists Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg in an essay on The Edge. They argued that childhood common sense impressions lead to a teleological view of the world. These impressions conflict with evolutionary ideas presented at school, but are reinforced by religious authorities. The job of […]
Science Is for the Birds
May 19, 2007
Birds, with all their variety and functionality, are a never-ending source of study for scientists. Here are some recent feathery findings: Memory masters: Scrub jays are like us: they can plan ahead, regardless of mood. Current Biology did a study that proved these common western birds can cache tomorrow’s breakfast regardless of their motivational state. […]
Can Morality Be Evolutionized?
May 17, 2007
A psychologist at the University of Virginia is probing the evolutionary origins of morality: [Jonathan] Haidt shows how evolutionary, neurological and social-psychological insights are being synthesized in support of three principles: 1) Intuitive primacy, which says that human emotions and gut feelings generally drive our moral judgments; 2) Moral thinking if [sic] for social doing, […]
New Theory for Introns: Mutation Sponges
May 8, 2007
When you don’t know where damage will occur, it makes sense to spread the assets around. Scientists from City of Hope Medical Center (a cancer care and research institute) have a new idea about introns, those regions of DNA “junk“ between the more interesting exons (parts of genes). Perhaps the introns are mutation sponges. […]
More Optical Design in Eye Retina Than Seen Before
May 2, 2007
For decades, evolutionists have used the vertebrate retina as an example of poor design (dysteleology). They have mocked how any designer could have been so unintelligent as to get the wiring backwards – with the photoreceptors behind a jumble of light-scattering cells. Creationists have countered that despite the arrangement, it works well.1 Now, they may […]
Earliest Comb Jelly Fossil Looks Modern
April 3, 2007
One would think that a paper listed in the category “Evolution” would include supporting evidence that evolution had occurred, but a new Evolution paper in PNAS provides more arguments against it than for it.1 An international team studying early Cambrian fossil beds in China found a comb jelly embryo essentially identical to those alive today. […]
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: The Evolution of Shoppers Arm
March 31, 2007
This week’s prize goes to the Society for Experimental Biology, which, according to EurekAlert, said this in a press release: The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact, be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all! […]
New Dinos Found; What Do They Mean?
March 27, 2007
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. […]
Questions to Ask a Reductionist Neurobiologist
March 21, 2007
Can the totality of the brain be described in terms of its neurons? Is consciousness an artifact of the movement of signals in the brain? Can the complexity of the brain be described in terms of its evolutionary history? Does the hardware define the software that runs on it? Gy�rgy Buzs�ki attempted to address these questions […]
Missing Link, or Just Jawboning About Ear Evolution?
March 19, 2007
Tetrapod vertebrates (four-footed animals with backbones) comprise a dizzying array of species, both living and extinct. When is it justifiable to arrange different forms into an ancestral evolutionary sequence, especially when some members are extinct and others are still alive today? On what basis can scientists claim that a discovery demonstrates evolution? Some Chinese scientists […]
Immature Kid? Blame Evolution
March 14, 2007
Why do older children linger at home longer than they should? Evolution, says Ker Than for Live Science. This insight of his is based on growth patterns of teeth from an alleged 160,000-year-old juvenile skeleton in Africa. Tanya Smith [Max Planck Institute] said of the bones, “These early fossils show a mix of primitive and […]
Were Australopithecines Violent? Should Humans Not Be?
March 12, 2007
One wonders how a scientist could infer behavior from skeletal dimensions, but David Carrier (U of Utah) believes he can visualize that evolutionary ancestors of humans were good fighters. A report on EurekAlert begins, “Ape-like human ancestors known as australopiths maintained short legs for 2 million years because a squat physique and stance helped the […]