Does Gene Expression Evolve?
November 17, 2005
“Mutation is the ultimate source of biological diversity because it generates the variation that fuels evolution,” wrote four scientists in Nature November 10.1 Conventionally, theorists have focused on gene mutations for that fuel; what about mutations to gene expression? That’s what they set out to discover. One would think that positive natural selection […]
March of the Little Penguins Down Darwin Lane?
November 10, 2005
Penguins are on people’s minds since the movie, but there are other species of the handsome-yet-funny waddlers besides the reigning emperors. The news media are saying one species demonstrates evolution – another word on the public mind these days. MSNBC News talked about “Penguin evolution,” and Science Now proclaimed “Evolution on Ice.” Actually, it’s only […]
Is Darwin or ID the New Halloween Spook?
October 30, 2005
Scary, isn’t it? A textbook committee in Montgomery, Alabama approved dozens of new textbooks, but found objectionable material in three of them: they contained material on evolution that was deemed controversial for children. They decided that pictures of reptiles evolving from amphibians and humans evolving from apes was not appropriate for elementary children who were […]
Archaeopteryx Meets Its Younger Grandpa, and Other Flights of Fancy
October 24, 2005
Science Now said that a “slightly embarrassing gap” in the fossil record has been filled by a find in Wyoming. The oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx was older than its presumed ancestors, the Maniraptorans, its closest dinosaurian relatives. A team near Thermopolis, Wyoming found a maniraptoran dating from about the same time as Archaeopteryx. This new […]
Carl Sagans Cosmos Is Back
September 27, 2005
MSNBC News reported that Carl Sagan’s popular 13-part series Cosmos is returning to TV this week, digitally remastered and enhanced with new up-to-date animations. The 1980 series, which began with its own Agnus Dei invocation “The cosmos is all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be,” went far beyond the […]
Bird Brains: No Evolutionary Pattern in Size
September 7, 2005
A scientist went looking for evolutionary patterns in bird brain size, but his chart shows data all over the map. Fahad Sultan (U of Tuebingen, Germany) measured brains in a wide variety of birds, and published his results in Current Biology.1 How does brain size and design influence the survival chances of a species? A […]
Men Arent Going Extinct Yet
September 3, 2005
Not long ago, evolutionary biologists were predicting the demise of manhood (see 11/01/2001, 03/31/2004). The idea was that the Y chromosome, with no redundant copy (unlike the female’s two X chromosomes, and all others) appeared to be shriveling up and mutating itself out of existence. Now that the chimpanzee genome has been published (see 09/01/2005 […]
Is Intelligent Design the New Cussword?
September 2, 2005
The phrase “intelligent design” is being bandied about everywhere. Pro-Darwin scientists generally put it in quote marks with palpable derision; it has practically sunk to the level of the older cussword, “creationism.” Yet a groundswell of support for I.D. continues not only in America but in other countries. Here are recent events, attacks and counterattacks […]
Chimpanzee Fossil Upsets Early Man Speciation Theory
September 1, 2005
Paleontologists need no longer lament the complete dearth of chimpanzee fossils. Nature announced the discovery of the first fossil chimpanzee teeth. The location, however – the Great Rift Valley in Africa – was unexpected. The discoverers, Sally McBrearty and Nina G. Jablonski,1 explain: There are thousands of fossils of hominins, but no fossil chimpanzee has […]
Chimpanzee Genome Published: Is There a Monkey in Your Genes?
September 1, 2005
Nature’s cover story September 1 is about the publication of the chimpanzee genome. Evolutionists are digging through the data for evidence of human common ancestry. Have they found it? The results, as usual, are mixed: MSNBC News states the situation concisely: “Genome comparison reveals many similarities – and crucial differences.” Here is the gist of […]
Molecular Motors Galore: How Did They Evolve?
August 26, 2005
Myosin is one of the cell’s little monorail motors that trucks cargo around the cell, pushes false feet into the surrounding environment, forces packages out the cell membrane, makes muscles move and wiggles hairlike cilia. Scientists reporting in Nature1 found twice as many varieties of myosin (37) than were previously known (17) and decided to […]
Do Fossil Counts Match Sediment Counts?
August 25, 2005
If evolution is true, the number of species coming and going should track the number of rock layers in which they are fossilized, at least roughly. The more sediments per unit time, the more new genera should arise within them. Shanan E. Peters (U of Michigan) decided to test this “novel” approach with marine fossils […]
Paleoanthropology: Start Over?
August 22, 2005
The September issue of National Geographic, featuring the African continent, has arrived in homes. On page 1, Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post wrote about the quest for early man, asking, “Are we looking for bones in all the right places?” The bulk of the article describes the “messy” story of human origins. It used […]
Cambrian Fossil: What Is It?
August 17, 2005
A Cambrian fossil discovered in China may represent a new phylum, reports BBC News. Vetustodermis, discovered in 1979, looks like a flatworm with eye stalks and antenna. It resembles a mollusk or arthropod in some ways, but scientists aren’t sure how to classify it. Forcing it into any existing group requires “pushing and pulling” that […]
Evolution vs. ID: This Means War
August 13, 2005
President Bush’s mild off-the-cuff remarks about students needing to hear alternatives to evolution (see 08/02/2005) set off a firestorm of reaction pro and con in the media. Get your ringside seat here for the war of the words: Mad Scientists: Nature, as reported this week (08/10/2005), expressed outrage at the President’s remarks – a reaction […]