WEIT at the USNM

by Greg Mayer In an earlier post, I’d noted that I was unable to see the new Hall of Human Origins exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History when it opened in March. As promised at the time, I was able to see it this summer, and will provide a review here soon. […]

Harvard expedition places WEIT atop Mount Darwin

There is a section of the Sierra Nevada in California called The Evolution Range, which includes appropriately named peaks like Mount Mendel, Mount Wallace, Mount Haeckel, and Mount Spencer, and inappropriately named ones like Mount Lamarck.  (A new peak, not yet formally named, will be called Mount Gould. I suggest Mount Improbable for the next […]

A day at the museum

by Greg Mayer Last Monday I spent a few hours at the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of Natural History (originally known as the United States National Museum, and still known as the USNM to scientists, even after the Smithsonian began collecting art, airplanes, tchotchkes, etc., and thus gave its museums more specific names), and came across […]

They can’t start too early!

I have a four-year-old fan! An alert reader writes: Dear Dr. Coyne, I am writing to let you know how much I am enjoying reading your book ‘Why Evolution Is True.’ While I have long been interested in the sciences my eyes have been opened even farther with the evidence this book presents. And if […]

The Geography of Tapirs

by Greg Mayer Although far from the longest chapter in WEIT, I find the chapter on biogeography the single most persuasive one for showing why evolution is true.  I think Jerry finds it compelling as well. This might seem surprising since he’s a geneticist: one might think he would find some of the genetic evidence […]

The vestigial grasp of infants

In WEIT there is a chapter on vestigial traits, defined as those traits that are evolutionary remnants of features useful in an ancestor, but now either useless or used in a different way.  The paradigmatic case is, of course, the appendix, the remnant of a caecal pouch used to digest leaves and vegetation in our […]

What counts as evidence for evolution?

A couple of reviewers of WEIT (and some of my friends and colleagues) have pointed out the book’s dearth of molecular evidence for evolution.  For example, why didn’t I stress that organisms thought to be related based on morphological similarities also show similar relationships in their DNA sequences?  That is, DNA phylogenies generally match morphologically-based […]

WEIT reviewed in Christian Science Monitor

by Greg Mayer Why Evolution is True receives a favorable review today in the Christian Science Monitor from Todd Wilkinson.  Money quote: Coyne methodically lays out the complete trail of evidence supporting evolution, ranging from the fossil record of dinosaur bones to sophisticated DNA analysis, and many decades of rigorous peer-reviewed scrutiny in between. In […]

Caturday felid

by Greg Mayer Until Jerry settles back in there’ll be a bit of overlap in our posting, so I’m providing this Caturday’s felid. Actually it’s two felids: the lion and the tiger (both of these links come from a wonderful page maintained by Virginia Hayssen of Smith College), both photographed today at the Racine Zoo […]

The palimpsest theory

by Greg Mayer One of the things Jerry mentioned in introducing me was that I had coauthored, with my late friend and mentor John A.W. Kirsch, a paper entitled “The platypus is not a rodent”.  While there’s a certain pure amusement value in such a title (which alludes to a series of papers concerning the […]


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