Evolution

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Category archives for Evolution

Methinks it is like a sauropsid

Eugene McCarthy, the author of that crackpot stabilization theory, has discovered my review and is now making a noise on twitter. He’s gone from thanking me profusely for mentioning him, to whining that I stole his figures, to complaining that I don’t understand his theory at all, all in the last 24 hours. But here’s…

This is another addition to my αEP series about evolutionary psychology. Here’s the first, and unfortunately there are several more to come. By the way, people are wondering about the α in the title. Don’t you people do any immunology? α is standard shorthand for “anti”. I mentioned in the last one this annoying tendency…

This is another addition to my αEP series about evolutionary psychology. Here’s the first, and unfortunately there are several more to come. I have a real problem with evolutionary psychology, and it goes right to the root of the discipline: it’s built on a flawed foundation. It relies on a naïve and simplistic understanding of…

Our rebuttal to claims about the adaptive significance of the female orgasm has been published, as Zietsch & Santtila's study is not evidence against the by-product theory of female orgasm. I blogged about this a while back, and also dealt with some counter-arguments, and Elisabeth Lloyd thought my arguments were strong enough to be incorporated…

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,…

Creationist FUD refuted

If you’re looking for a meaty weekend read, look no further than Paul McBride’s thorough dismantling of Science and Human Origins, the new bad book from the Discovery Institute, by Gauger, Axe, and Luskin. It’s in 6 parts, taking on each chapter one by one: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, a prediction about what…

Forever disappointed

I always have unwarrantedly high expectations of creationists. I know that there are some flamingly ignorant nutjobs out there, all your Hams and Hovindses and Luskins, but lurking in my mind is always this suspicion that somewhere there has to be one or two biologically competent ideologues on their side of the fence. And I…

Somedays, it’s just awful to have the mind of a 12 year old boy. So I’m reading this serious and interesting paper on Neandertals, and learn something new. Two particular characteristics have received considerable attention; pronounced humeral diaphysis strength asymmetry and anteroposteriorly strengthened humeral diaphyseal shape. In particular, humeral bilateral asymmetry for cross-sectional area, and…

Brains and beaks

I’m always telling people you need to understand development to understand the evolution of form, because development is what evolution modifies to create change. For example, there are two processes most people have heard of. One is paedomorphosis, the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood — a small face and large cranium are features of…

Swimming in the Cambrian

If you ever get a chance, spend some time looking at fish muscles in a microscope. Larval zebrafish are perfect; they’re transparent and you can trace all the fibers, so you can see everything. The body musculature of fish is most elegantly organized into repeating blocks of muscle along the length of the animal, each…