Pharyngula

Archives for August, 2012

Friday Cephalopod: Superhero of the sea

It’s wearing a cape! (via Real Monstrosities)>

How the turtle got its shell

In my post bashing that silly article claiming to have figured out how endoskeletons evolved from exoskeletons, there was a good question buried in the comments, and I thought I’d answer it. Are there any models pulled out of arses which explain the turtle’s unique skeleton? Yes! I mean, no, not pulled out of arses,…

Botanical Wednesday: It’s Hammer Time!

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s got a cute trick.

Fish are not inside-out insects

It’s a shame I have to say that right from the beginning. I’m beginning to develop a distaste for computer models of biological processes, which is a shame. From Andrulis to Fleury to Pivar, the field is tainted with people who don’t know a lick of biology but are good at inventing algorithms that go…

Do you remember Terry Hurlbut? Of course not. He’s another boring creationist whose schtick is to claim that creationists really are scientists — after all, Isaac Newton was a creationist. He also maintains something called the “Creationist Hall of Fame” which lists a lot of legitimate pre-Darwin thinkers and 20th century crackpots. His “Hall of…

(via NatGeo)

The stupidification of all media

I saw that Doonesbury made a joke of it, so I had to look it up. It’s true. Americans were surveyed to see which presidential candidate they thought would handle a UFO invasion best. The channel surveyed 1,114 Americans in late May to get their thoughts on all things alien in anticipation of the channel’s…

Friday Cephalopod: Squeee! Babies!

(via Smithsonian)

The mirror test is a well known indicator for some degree of self-awareness: surreptitiously mark an animal’s face, show it a mirror, and see if it recognizes that the reflected image is of itself by whether it reaches up to touch or remove the mark. We see that behavior and infer that the animal has…

Who’s conscious?

A recent meeting of neuroscientists tried to define a set of criteria for that murky phenomenon called “consciousness”. I don’t know how successful they were; they’ve come out with a declaration on consciousness that isn’t exactly crystal clear. It seems to involve the existence of neural circuitry that exhibits specific states that modulate behavior. The…