I have one hour to analyze in detail a new article about a bird. Can I do it? The answer, yes I did! When the New Yorker publishes a piece about pure science, as it does in this article about a South American bird, I always suspect there’s a hidden agenda. That’s because the magazine … Continue reading The New Yorker writes about the hoatzin, implies that Darwin’s idea of evolutionary trees may be a phantom
I first mentioned this about two weeks ago, when I posted this: *According to Al Jazeera, the Hinducentric government of Prime Minister Modi of India has slowly been removing mention of evolution from school curricula; now it’s available only in classes 11 or 12, when students are 16-18 years old (many have left school by … Continue reading More on (the banning of) evolution in India
Once again the magazines are hyping Big New Changes in Evolutionary Theory. This time, though, it’s the respected The Economist, which has a policy of not showing the authors’ names. They should have, for some authors should be given an education about their subject, or at least be held accountable for errors. I am surprised that … Continue reading More “evolutionary theory overturned” hype, but, as usual, it’s overrated
There are many reasons why we want to know how often distinct species hybridize, i.e., form individuals resulting from the mating of a male from one species with a female from a different species. For one thing, if this kind of mixing was very frequent, it would be hard to recognize distinct species as the … Continue reading How often do bird species hybridize?
Note: If you can’t access the paper, judicious inquiry might yield you a copy. __________ Many readers called my attention to new paper in the Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society (click on the title screenshot below, and see the pdf here), reporting on a case of convergent evolution— two independent cases of evolution producing … Continue reading Railing about rails: new paper on flightless birds is grossly misreported and distorted by the popular media
A new paper in Science Advances by Henrique V. Figueiró et al. (reference below, free download with legal UnPaywall app) resolves the contested phylogeny (family tree) of five big cat species: lion, leopard, jaguar, snow leopard, and tiger. In so doing, the researchers uncovered some interesting evolutionary history. Previously, the family tree of this group had … Continue reading The complex evolution of the big cats
This is a video after my own heart, since it’s about speciation: the splitting of a single lineage into two or more lineages unable to exchange genes. The question at hand, since this series—put together by PBS and “It’s Okay to be Smart”—is a long refutation of common creationist arguments, is this one: “Can we … Continue reading 12 days of evolution. #5: Have we seen new species arise?
by Matthew Cobb This sketch of human origins was made by Darwin in 1868, and reflects the knowledge of the time. Humans are on the left, with our closest relatives, gorillas and chimps, grouped together. Darwin seems to mistakenly suggest that the gibbons (Hylobatus) are more closely related to the other apes – gorillas, chimps … Continue reading Darwin’s primate tree