Evolution

Laelaps

Tag archives for Evolution

Color-coded diagram of a small bone bed containing at least twelve individuals of the Permian synapsid Suminia. From Frobisch and Reisz (2009) When I hear the phrase “early human relative” I cannot help but think of an ape-like creature. Something like Sahelanthropus fits the bill nicely – it may not be a hominin but it…

In the Fayum desert of northern Egypt, not too far from the banks of the Nile, the vestiges of ancient forests are preserved in the sand-covered strata. The fossils are ghosts of a vanished oasis in which prehistoric cousins of modern elephants wallowed in lush wetlands and a host of ancient primates scrambled through the…

Tracks and Traces 5.8.2010

Written in Stone is now available for pre-sale on Amazon.com (as well as a few other online stores)! The description of the book, author bio, etc. will have to be updated, but otherwise it is good to see it get its own page, and many thanks to the several of you who have already pre-ordered…

NCSE Classic

Way back in 1989 (I was only six!), Eugenie Scott and other members of the National Center for Science Education got together for a mock debate pitting evolutionary scientists against creationist impersonators at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. How things have changed (well, except young earth creationist arguments)…

Utah may seem like an odd place to search for primates, but you can find them if you know where to look. Although scrubby and arid today, between 46-42 million years ago what is now the northeastern part of the state was a lush forest which was home to a variety of peculiar fossil primates.…

In defense of paleontology

Fossil fish from the Eocene age Green River Formation in Colorado. From Wikipedia. I am pretty tired of Richard Dawkins putting down paleontology. In his 2004 tome The Ancestor’s Tale, as well as in his latest book The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins felt compelled to cast the fossil record as an unnecessary bonus when…

For at least 30 million years, bone-eating worms have been making their homes in the bodies of decomposing whales on the seabottom, but the rotting cetacean carcasses are not just food sources for the polychaetes. The term “worm” immediately conjures up images of the red, squiggly things which crawl all over the sidewalk after it…

A red panda (Ailurus fulgens, left, photographed at the Bronx Zoo) and a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, right, photographed at the National Zoo). As the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould observed in one of his most famous essays, the thumbs of giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are nothing at all like the large digits on our own…

An African wild dog (Lycaon pictus, left) compared to a spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta, right). Both photographed at the Bronx Zoo. It never fails. Whenever I visit a zoo’s African wild dog exhibit someone inevitably asks “Are those hyenas?”, and when I visit spotted hyena enclosures I often hear the question “Are those dogs?” These…

Now that the details about Australopithecus sediba have been published, I am faced with an important question – how am I going to fit the new hominin into Written in Stone? When I started composing Written in Stone I was determined to make it as up-to-date as possible. This was not only out of a…