Evolutionary Biology

Category archives for Evolutionary Biology

An Interview with Don Prothero

Ikonokast interviews Don Prothero. Don Prothero is the author of just over 30 books and a gazillion scientific papers covering a wide range of topics in paleontology and skepticism. Mike Haubrich and I spoke with Don about most of these topics, including the recent history of the skeptics movement, the conflict and potentials between DNA…

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…

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…

Temperature and sex determination

Some interesting new research. The paper is, unfortunately, behind a paywall but they made a video, so it is worth posting. Here’s the press release for the paper: Scientists know that temperature determines sex in certain reptiles—alligators, lizards, turtles, and possibly dinosaurs. In many turtles, warm temperatures during incubation create females. Cold temperatures, males. But…

Ten Thousand Birds

There are over 10,000 species of bird on the Earth today. There is one blog called “10,000 Birds” for which I write a monthly article, in case you did not know. But this post is about Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology Since Darwin, a book by Tim Birkhead, Jo Wimpenny and Bob Monegomerie. Birds and various…

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…

Humans appear to have a reasonable amount of diversity in their sexual orientations, in what is often referred to as “gender” and in adult behavior generally. When convenient, people will point to “genes” as the “cause” of any particular subset of th is diversity (or all of it). When convenient, people will point to “culture”…