We’re in this business for the unanswered questions

What I like about this episode of Crash Course Zoology is that it shows that it shows how scientists aren’t at all afraid of evolutionary mysteries, or of being wrong about something. Take that, creationists! That seems to be their primary line of attack, and all they’ll get out of me when they point out how our knowledge is incomplete is bafflement. Yeah, we know. That’s why we’re scientists.

Also, it’s got spiders in it.

The next episode is going to be about the species concept. Gosh, it’ll be nice when that one is finally explained!


  1. JoeBuddha says

    “Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise it would stop.” – Dara Ó Briain

  2. birgerjohansson says

    I think Darwin himself is a good example- he knew there was a problem with fossils (we now understand why his contemporaries found nothing beyond the Cambrian) but it did not stop him from publishing a good idea.
    Sometimes, being too conservative about your conclusions is an obstacle- I remind you evolution had a third discoverer beyond Darwin and Wallace.
    Wossname had studied species in gardens in Britain and worked out the important part, but he never mentioned the ‘controversial’ implications.
    Maybe he genuinely did not see it, or maybe he realised what a shitstorm it would lead to.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    birgerjohansson @ # 2: … evolution had a third discoverer … Wossname had studied species in gardens …

    Uh, do you allude to Edward Blyth, as rediscovered by Loren Eiseley in Darwin And The Mysterious Mr. X: New Light On The Evolutionists?

    IIRC from Eiseley’s recounting, Blyth worked out the core idea of natural selection very clearly – but, lacking Darwin’s geologically-informed sense of time, considered it a homeostatic selector.

  4. raven says

    and all they’ll get out of me when they point out how our knowledge is incomplete is bafflement. Yeah, we know. That’s why we’re scientists.

    Yeah, that is a good thing.
    If sicentists knew everything, we would all have to go out and get other jobs.

    Our civilization would also stop progressing, since one of the main drivers is…increasing scientific knowledge and advances in technology.

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    RE arachnids: comparing DNA is one aspect. But horseshoe crabs show up in the fossil record going back to 445 million years ago, which makes it difficult to believe that they are land dwellers returned to the sea.

    Another excellent case of sexual dimorphism complicating classification:
    Beleaf it or not, these 2 different-looking insects are actually the same species

    Phyllium asekiense… When the eggs hatched and the insects grew, he saw what looked like a different species of leaf insects, and put two and two together — what were previously classified as two different species are, in fact, males and females of the same species…

    The males tend to look more like sticks. They have … rolled leaves, so they’re very elongated, and they have wings.
    The females look a lot more like leaves that are a bit eaten on the sides, and come in different colours from green to orange and yellows…