Evolution

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Category archives for Evolution

Frankenstein Freak-outs

Radiolab is a show about science that briliantly uses radio’s greatest strength–sound–to bring stories to life in ways we print goons can only dream about. I wrote a story about how animals sleep. The Radiolab folks played the sound of brain waves from a sleeping cat. And so on. I’m particularly fond of their latest…

All Dad

These biologists are holding out on me. I’ve been writing about biology for quite some time now, and sometimes I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of the scope of life. Neurosurgeon wasps–got it. Eels with alien jaws–check. And then I stumble across something new, or should I say, new to me. This week’s…

Language Evolution Live Blogging

Science writer Edmund Blair Bolles is in Barcelona at the Evolution of Language conference, and he’s live-blogging like crazy. Fascinating stuff well worth checking out. [Link fixed-cz]

The Mind of the Hyena

Hyenas are fascinating in many ways, such as the way female spotted hyenas are equipped with a penis of sorts (pdf). In tomorrow’s New York Times, I look at a new kind of fascination: hyena brains. Hyenas have a remarkably complex social life, and it appears to have altered the shape and size of their…

The Encyclopedia of Life, about which I blogged and wrote about in the New York Times, has gone live earlier than previously scheduled. So go check it out. A few people have left comments here, and others are blogging too. I’m very curious to see what hard-core bioinformatics folks think as they take this baby…

A Hairy Archaeopteryx?

I guess it’s only appropriate that the week of Darwin’s birthday is seeing a bunch of new reports about evolutionary transitions. On Monday there was news about how ancient whales with teeth turned into whales with baleen–thanks to the discovery of a fossil of an ancient whale that appears to have had both teeth and…

On the Path Towards Leviathan

It’s time to add a new chapter to the Whale Chronicles…. …more below the fold…

I’m always learning something from the readers of the Loom. Yesterday, I wrote about how scientists had inserted their names into a synthetic genome, and how such signatures would erode away like graffiti inside real organisms. But how about the opposite case–what if evolution has produced sequences of DNA that happen to form words? In…

How do new kinds of bodies evolve? It’s a question that obsesses many scientists today, as it has for decades. Yesterday, Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist and book author, published a blog post entitled “The Monster is Back, and It’s Hopeful,” in which she declared that these transitions can happen in sudden steps. Even before…

End of the Journey?

Sorry to start the New Year on a down note, but the January 1, 2008 issue of the New York Times has a review I wrote about a book called No Way Home. It’s a sobering look at the decline of the world’s great migrations. I’ve written a fair amount about the marvels of migration…