Evolution

Pharyngula

Category archives for Evolution

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…

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…