Evolution

Category archives for Evolution

How the Venus Flytrap Evolved

The trick to understanding evolution is less about finding good answer to questions, but rather, finding good questions to answer. Read that sentence twice, because it is very important. Years ago, Niko Tinbergen developed a method of formulating questions about biology. I’m pretty sure the Tinbergenian method has not been integrated into most science standards…

Sean B. Carroll is coming out with a new book called The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters. This is the molecular biologist Sean Carroll, as distinct from the physicist (who wrote this). Homeostasis is one of the basic principles of biology. The term can be applied broadly…

This is a review of The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution. Fossils are cool. Why? Two very big and complex reasons. First, fossils allow us to reconstruct species that don’t exist any more. This is usually done by studying species that do exist, and…

Books On Fossils and Evolution

Over the last several months, a lot of great books on fossils and evolution (as in paleontology) have come out. I’ve selected the best for your consideration. These are great gifts for your favorite science-loving nephew, life science teaching cousin, or local school library. Actually, you might like some of these yourself. Let’s start off…

What happened to the dinosaurs?

Did you ever wonder? And if you did wonder, did you Google it? And if you did google it, did you get the results shown above? And if you did, did you click “feedback” and do something like the following? No? Do so now, please. This is important. Why? Because we have been hearing rumors…

This is one of those great examples of research you can probably use in an advanced biology classroom (high school) or intro college bio pretty effectively. It includes birds. It includes hormones. It includes evolution. What else is there, really? I did a very brief writeup on it here, and you can get the original…

In a previous life (of mine) my father-in-law, an evolutionary biologist, kept an oil painting of a fish on the wall of the living room. At every chance he would point out, to visitors or to anyone else if there were no visitors, that he kept a portrait of his distant ancestor hanging in a…

The Accidental Species

The Accidental Species by my friend and colleague Henry Gee is a new, and excellent, book on Human Evolution. I recommend it. I’ll even review it soon. But in the meantime, you can get a free chapter of it by clicking this link to download a PDF supplied by the NCSE.

Reproductive Success (RS) is defined in many ways in different places by different people, but one of the most common definitions is simply the number of offspring an individual produces. This definition is further modified in most cases to mean only those individuals that will be fertile, i.e., capable of producing further offspring. RS is…

How do snails coil?

Typically, snails coil as they grow. The exact shape and characteristics of the coil are known to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, depending on the snail. There is an interesting story involving snails and the young Jean Piaget. Piaget is famous for his work in psychology, but before that, when he was…