Category Archive: evolution

Sep 16 2012

Island of snakes and spiders


When I was a kid lo these many years ago, there was a comforting notion about the balance of nature. I didn’t know at the time, but an eclectic mix of computer hobbyists and assorted math and physics geeks were in the process of demolishing it with a new branch of study called Chaos Theory. That’s also comforting …

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Aug 31 2012

Good try, Science Guy

Here’s on the biggest problems with youTube in the view of many. Bill Nye the Science Guy posted a video that read in part:

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Aug 17 2012

Hey Kentuckians, are those students a’lern’n evolushun?

I was born in Lexington, but moved to Austin decades ago as a kid with the first wave of IBM immigrants traveling from blue grass to lone stars. Austin’s great, but Kentucky to Texas is not exactly a political improvement for a budding rational atheist. Because sadly, in many ways they’re the same, including creationism:

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Aug 13 2012

What pray tell is life?

On a hypothetical simmering ocean world, under an oversized blue-white star, the tendrils of one of sci-fi writer Steven Baxter's "Qax" reach out to the limb of another in the distance.

It’s fair to think we know life when we see it. But is that really true? Scientists have worked on defining life for decades, and in most cases they’ve ended up with a pragmatic suite a characteristics that’s both useful and clearly incomplete. With the recent focus on Mars, the effort is rejoined. Here’s one stab …

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Aug 09 2012

Homo rudolfensis muscles into a better place at the big, noisy hominid family table

Reconstruction of Homo habilis at the Westfälisches Museum für Archäologie, Herne, courtesy of the Wikipedia.

At one time the proposed hominid line taught to new anthropology students was pretty simple. It went something like Australopithicus to Homo habilis, habilis to H. erectus, erectus to us. This was debated, but it was a basic view the fossil evidence supported. It’s more complicated now, that tree is bushy, but the good news is some details have …

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Aug 08 2012

Your fluffy house kitty may be a Killer Kat when you’re not around


As has been noted, domestic cats descend from predators well honed by evolution to be killers. Not since the days of raptors have such well-engineered killing machines silently stalked and taken down prey. House cats have been bred by humans for traits we find appealing for a lot less time than dogs (Sorry, cat vs dog lovers), …

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Jul 31 2012

The great anatomically modern human leap


There is a debate in paleoanthropology, well, there are lots of them. But this one has to do with behavior that doesn’t fossilize well, and which suggest the presence or lack of modern cognition. The ancestors of the San, pictured above, are a great source of data for that question. A new find pushes back the …

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Jul 27 2012

It’s a termite Jihad!


If you think humans are the only ones dumb enough to pack explosives around themselves in the hope of blowing up enemies, think again. Termites do it, and they utilize the suicide bomb to disperse Weapons of Mass Destruction!

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Jul 23 2012

Pastor Rick Warren tries to blame shooting on evolution?

I suppose, in a roundabout way, pretty much any human behavior could be due to evolution for one reason or another. Can’t fire guns without hands and fingers for example. But when Tom DeLay tried to blame the Columbine shooting on teaching evolution he was roundly ridiculed. It’s not clear what was going through Pastor Rick Warren’s mind …

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Jul 13 2012

Australopithicus sebida found in old lab rock


A site first discovered by the nine year-old son of a fossil hunter in 2008 just keeps on giving. The Malapa has produced some of the most complete human ancestor fossils ever discovered, and some of the final missing pieces were just found in a boulder sitting quietly in a lab for the last three years. Until a researcher …

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