Pharyngula

Archives for December, 2015

BERGMAN.

Over on Twitter, I was startled by the assertion that many scientists convert from evolution to creationism, convinced by the evidence. Many scientists convert from evolution to creationism, convinced by the evidence. #science #evidence https://t.co/G83RRSQvKl — yecisscience (@Prophecy_YEC) December 26, 2015 What was startling about it was that I’m getting used to mainly hearing from…

Dinosaur 13

Last night, I watched an excellent documentary, Dinosaur 13, so I’m going to recommend it to you all — it’s available on Amazon streaming video and Netlix. It’s the story of the fossil T. rex, Sue, and it’s enthralling and depressing. The fun part is the beginning, when some commercial fossil hunters discover tyrannosaur bones…

Evo devo in the real world

I disagree with Razib Khan on a lot of things, but he’s exactly right on recent fads in biology. Periodically I get frankly stupid comments that seem to imply that the incredible swell of results coming out of molecuar genetics and genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of evolutionary and population genetics. Over the past generation…

An honest appraisal of evo devo

In a review of a new book edited by Alan Love, The evolution of “evo-devo”, Adam Wilkins makes a few telling criticisms of the sub-field I enjoy. Evo-devo has come a long way since 1981 though the Dahlem Conference laid some of the important groundwork for what followed and was, indeed, widely appreciated as having…

Building a chordate: the notochord

I know this is a horrible photo — I just snapped a picture of the journal hardcopy, which I own, instead of grabbing a PDF from the web, because it’s from 1985 and I’d have to pay to get a copy of my own paper — but this is what I was doing in grad…

Japan and the awesome Christmas miracle

Toyama Bay got a visit from a mythological being, all dressed in red, on Christmas day. It was beautiful. It seems to be Architeuthis dux, and is about 4 meters long. It just cruised in, ambled about, and the authorities plan to just let it swim away. If it can — giant squid on the…

Spider gastrulation

It’s my first completely free day of Christmas break! Grades are all submitted, nothing is hanging over my head, but I still got up at 5:30am and needed to do something, so I learned about spider gastrulation. This was a disgraceful gap in my knowledge — I’ve worked on insects and on vertebrates, and am…

Friday Cephalopod: Big Octo is watching you

Taking a phylogenetic approach to the law

Nick Matzke has just published a very amusing analysis of American anti-evolution efforts. Evolutionary biology has all these tools that allow one to, for instance, assemble trees demonstrating lines of descent for molecular characters, which are ultimately just strings of letters. And what is a law but a string of letters? We can relatively easily…

We’ll have to advance the invasion plan. A scout squad of paper nautiluses have been exposed off the coast of California. Several of the scouts bravely tried to wrest the camera from the spy, but failed. We’re going to have to send some muscle to accompany the reconnaissance patrols from now on — all we…