The Loom

Archives for November, 2004

Getting Sexier All The Time

I have a short piece in today’s New York Times about how male swallows are evolving longer tails, which female swallows find sexy. Here’s the original paper in press at The Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Measuring the effects of natural selection is tough work, the details of which are impossible to squeeze into a brief…

Canada Evolving

On Wednesday I spoke on "The Current," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s morning radio show. The hour-long segment focuses on various aspects of evolution, such as the evolution of diseases and the ongoing creationist circus in Georgia. I spoke about how humans are altering the evolution of other species. You can listen to the entire episode…

Hobbit Limbo?

Last month saw the bombshell report that a tiny species of hominid lived on an Indonesian island 18,000 years ago. Since then there has been a dribbling of follow-up news. Some American paleoanthropologists have expressed skepticism, pointing out that while bones from several small individuals have been found, only one skull has turned up. The…

Technology for Nature

In tomorrow’s issue of the New York Times, I have an essay that grew out of a meeting I went to earlier this month on natural history illustrations through the ages. The essay is accompanied by some of the cooler images I saw there, some of which are also included in the web version. Here’s…

Old Apes and Bad Links

There are lots of news stories today (as well as PZ Myers’ take) about the fabulous new discovery in Spain of Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, a 13-million year old fossil close to the common ancestor of all living great apes. The early evolution of apes is where some of the most interesting developments are emerging. Until the…

Apparently so. …Actually, this new Gallup report shows that 35% of people believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution is not supported by the evidence, while another 29% don’t know enough to say, and 1% have no opinion. So perhaps I should say, wrong or uninformed.

An Award (And An Apology)

A little more horn-tooting: The Loom has just been named a winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2004 Science Journalism Award. The judges considered three pieces: Hamilton’s Fall, Why the Cousins Are Gone, and My Darwinian Daughters. Here’s the press release. Thanks to the judges–it’s gratifying to see that it’s possible…

Best of 2004

Soul Made Flesh made Amazon.com’s Editor’s Pick list of the ten best science books of 2004. It’s an honor, although it seems a little premature to call 2004 over!

What is Old is New

Thanks to Wired for excerpting my post on what DNA has to say about one-man-one-woman marriage. When the editors told me that they were going to run the excerpt, I thought at first that it might be a bit stale by the time the magazine came out. But it seems today that the proper form…

The Morula Solution?

It’s obvious from yesterday’s vote that embryonic stem cells will continue to split the country (California versus Washington DC, for one thing). But in an ironic bit of timing researchers at the Reproductive Genetics Institute have just published some results at Reproductive BioMedicine Online that could–possibly–short-circuit some of the arguments against using embryonic stem cells.…