Category Archives: evolution

RadioLab distorts some science

There’s been a lot of publicity about David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, which tells the story of the discovery of a new domain of life, the Archaea, the discovery that chloroplasts and mitochondria are the remnants of anciently absorbed microbes, and, most novel, the recent discovery of […]

A new review (and critique) of Richard Prum’s book on sexual selection

I’ve now read Richard O. Prum’s new book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us (I’d highlighted the work earlier in my critique of his NY Times article about the book). Click on the screenshot to go to the book’s Amazon site. (Prum is a professor of ornithology, ecology, […]

Epigenetics: the return of Lamarck? Not so fast!

I noticed that there’s a new book out by Peter Ward, a biology professor at the University of Washington who’s done a lot of work on nautilus cepalopods. (He’s also written several trade books in biology.) Here’s his new book, and, as you can see, the cover touts epigenetics as “Lamarck’s Revenge” (Jean-Baptiste Lamarck [1744-1829] […]

My WaPo review of David Quammen’s new book on evolutionary trees (and a comparison with other reviews)

I’ve just reviewed David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, for the Washington Post. Click on the screenshot to see my review. (Note that the original title, which was a bit misleading, has been changed to the new one below.) It will be in the paper version of Sunday’s […]

32-year study: Australian students become less creationist and more accepting of evolution, almost certainly because of growing secularism

This new study at Evolution: Education and Outreach (reference below, free access and free pdf here) reports the results of 32 annual surveys of first-year biology students in at The University of New South Wales (UNSW). Unlike the data from the U.S., which I’ll discuss briefly below, the Aussie data show a tremendous and salubrious change […]

Here we go again: a Templeton-sponsored conference designed to “expand” evolutionary biology

When I was sent this announcement of a conference on evolution at Cambridge University next year (click on screenshots), and when I read the program and saw the speakers (links at third screenshot), I smelled a RAT (abbreviation for “rubbish and Templeton”), but I didn’t know for sure that the John Templeton Foundation was one […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs (and videos)

Reader Olen Rambow sent a video demonstrating = convergent evolution: a “hummingbird moth”, one of several species that hovers before flowers like hummingbirds and sucks nectar from them with a large proboscis. This one is probably the white-lined sphinx moth, Hyles lineata. His notes are indented: While visiting Santa Fe, NM, I ran across a moth […]

A field-trip course in England on Darwin and evolution

Every year my friend Andrew Berry, a lecturer and student advisor at Harvard, teaches a summer course at Oxford for Harvard undergrads. Its theme is Darwin and evolution, and the best part is that since the course takes place in DarwinLand, he can take the students to various historical sites and show them the science […]

Hangin’ on in the wind: Natural selection, hurricanes, and lizards

by Greg Mayer At the Anolis Symposium at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in March, one of the stars of the show was Colin Donihue of Harvard University, who gave a talk on the effect of last fall’s Hurricane Irma on Anolis scriptus, the endemic (and only native) anole of the Turks and Caicos. Colin and […]

My short intro to the genetics of speciation

UPDATE: If you want a pdf of my article, which seems to be behind a paywall, just inquire judiciously. _________________   The journal Molecular Ecology is producing a special issue on “Sex chromosomes and speciation”, which will contain about 17 papers. Some of these have already been published online, and though there’s not yet a […]