Category Archives: evolution

Top 10 evolution books: three are about creationism

It must have been ten years or more since advocates of Intelligent Design promised us that peer-reviewed evidence for a “Designer” (aka the Christian God) was right around the corner, but they’ve come up with. . . .bupkes.  Because they have no evidence, the ID websites, like those of the Discovery Institute (DI)m involve sniping at […]

Theistic evolution

Here’s a cartoon by reader Pliny the in Between inspired by yesterday’s post on theistic evolution. It’s called “Seems like a lot of work.” And indeed it is: God not only has to watch the sparrows fall, but make sure that every nucleotide in every individual either doesn’t mutate (after all, He’s “sustaining creation”) or […]

Complex interactions between caterpillars, ants, and butterflies

I don’t know the species of either the butterfly or the ant in this video taken in Peru, but the interactions are complex. One level is probable mutualism between the ants and the caterpillars. Although the authors don’t mention this for these species, there are a lot of caterpillar species that are guarded and protected […]

Larval fish mimic unpleasant, unpalatable, or nutritionally worthless invertebrate zooplankton

Mimicry is rife not just among animals, but among plants. But one group that’s been neglected in such studies is the juvenile stages of marine organisms. (This isn’t the case for juveniles of terrestrial animals, as seen by the numerous studies of caterpillar mimicry.) This has begun to be remedied by a brand new study by […]

Peppered moth mutation discovered at last

The story of the peppered moth, Biston betularia, is one of the most famous evolutionary tales known to the public, and is a staple of both popular literature and biology texts. It’s appealing because it’s an example of “evolution in action”: a case in which we could see evolution happening over only one or two human generations, and […]

Is the appendix a vestigial organ?

One of the main mistakes creationists make is arguing that if a vestigial trait is actually used for something, then it is neither vestigial nor gives us evidence for evolution. (Such features testify to common ancestry.)  Both creationist claims are wrong. They rest on the false argument that if the appendix, for instance, actually has some […]

Science magazine’s piece on the Giant Templeton Evolution Grant, and my response

About two weeks ago I was interviewed by Elizabeth Pennisi, a reporter for Science magazine, about the big grant (about $8 million, it seems—I was apparently wrong in claiming $11 million in my previous article) that the John Templeton Foundation gave to a group of researchers to “rethink” the modern theory of evolution and come […]

The best interactive tree of life ever!

There’s a new, fractally constructed tree of life—with dates of the nodes—called OneZoom, and you must have a look at it. It was created by Dr. Yan Wong (who helped write The Ancestor’s Tale with Richard Dawkins) and Dr. James Rosindell; Luke Harmon contributed to the original idea.  The background and methods are explained on a […]

Some evidence that life may have originated at least 4.1 billion years ago

For some reason I missed this paper published last November in Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA by Elizabeth Bell et al. , and it doesn’t seem to have been given a lot of attention by the press. That may be because its conclusions are questionable, and based on a very small sample. But if they’re right, it’s a […]

Tiny foxes on the Channel Islands lack not only mass, but also genetic variation and fear of humans

On the Channel Islands, 12-70 miles (20-113 km) off the Pacific coast of southern California, live six subspecies of the Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis), a dwarf species that is a close relative of the gray fox living on the mainland (U. cineroargenteus). Genetic data suggest that these foxes have been isolated from the mainland species for about 9000 […]

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