Evolution

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Category archives for Evolution

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…

The Discovery Institute thinks axon guidance mechanisms are evidence for intelligent design. I think they just trawl the scientific literature for the words “complex” and “purpose” and get really excited about the imaginary interpretations in their head of papers they don’t really understand. There’s no mention of evolution here, nor in the full paper in…

A couple of years ago, I wrote a rebuttal to a crackpot claim for the origin of humans, which I called the MFAP Hypothesis. “MFAP” is short for “monkey fucked a pig”, which actually pretty much summarizes the whole idea. Eugene McCarthy (no, not that Eugene McCarthy) assembled a list of superficial similarities between humans…

The magical world of epigenetics

Let me tell you the hard part about writing about epigenetics: most of your audience has no idea what you’re talking about, but is pretty sure that they can use it, whatever it is, to justify every bit of folk wisdom/nonsensical assumption that they have. So while you’re explaining how it’s a very real and…

Ken Ham says something stupid and dishonest again. The fish that forgot to evolve? Here’s the difference between observational and historical science: https://t.co/gDBi6iQhjh — Ken Ham (@aigkenham) November 6, 2015 The fish that forgot to evolve? Here’s the difference between observational and historical science: ow.ly/Ug1wU If you bother to read the awful article, it includes…

TONMOCON VI (#tcon6) is on youtube

The whole dang conference is available in one giant 8 hour video, and here it is. That’s kind of indigestibly huge, so I’ve been going at it in small pieces. I started with Gabrielle Winters at about 5 hours in, with Cephalopod Neurogenomics: Insights into the Evolution of Complex Brains, just because that’s what I’m…

Another children’s science book

We need more of these, and here’s another: Great Adaptations: A Fantastical Collection of Science Poems. It contains short rhyming summaries of scientists’ work on adaptations, all nicely illustrated. Here’s one from Sarah Hrdy’s work on empathy and cooperation. Doesn’t that make you want to run out and buy it right now? How much would…

Casey Luskin vs. Homo naledi

The Intelligent Design Creationists are always getting annoyed at the third word in that label — they’re not creationists, they insist, but something completely different. They’re scientists, they think. They’re just scientists who favor a different explanation for the diversity of life on Earth than those horrible Darwinist notions. But of course, everything about them…

Anthropology is so entertaining!

John Hawks makes a very good case that Homo naledi is a distinct species from H. erectus. He persuaded me, anyway, and it’s well worth reading. Also entertaining. There is some savage snark in there aimed at Jeffrey Schwartz (oh, man, I’ve long known Schwartz as a hack, not for his anthropology, but for his…

This video includes snippets showing exactly what it was like to crawl through those narrow tunnels to get at the Homo naledi fossil site. No, thank you. Can we get one of those big subway tunnel excavators to the cave? It needs widening.