Category Archives: evolution

Pop quiz on evolution

Okay, how much do you know about evolution? Futurity has a pop quiz comprising 7 questions. Some of them are a bit ambiguous, but take the test anyway, which should take about three minutes. My score is below, but given that I’m a professional evolutionary biologist, I would have been chagrined had I done worse. Give […]

Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

My old friend Andrew Berry, who teaches and advises biology undergraduates at Harvard, recently went on a trip en famille to the Galápagos—as a lecturer on a university alumni cruise. He’s a good photographer, using the same Panasonic Lumix camera as I do, and he sent me a selection of what he calls his “holiday […]

A very nice video on the evidence for evolution from cetaceans

At last! An evolution video that is informative and doesn’t have any big problems (at least none that I could find). This video, concentrating on cetacean evolution, might be useful for classes that give the evidence for evolution. There are some great photos and great evidence here. The video is made by Stated Clearly, which […]

Lungs

by Matthew Cobb a pair of lungs being filled with air https://t.co/DgwswKO9Bo— Science GIFs (@Learn_Things) December 06, 2015 The evolution of lungs was a decisive step in vertebrates coming onto the land. I know nothing about it – please chip in below with your knowledge or pet theories.

100 years of Genetics, and my own contribution to the fête

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the journal Genetics, still the premier journal of genetical research in the world. I subscribed to it for decades until e-journals became common, and was proud to have published in it a few times (its peer review was notoriously tough). For the year 2016, the editors decided to reprint […]

12 Days of Evolution. #12: Does evolution have a point?

This is the last video in the series produced by PBS and “It’s Okay to Be Smart”. And this one seems fine to me, dispelling the myths of evolution as a progressive process and of humans as the pinnacle of evolution. As for the notion that we should feel good about all that, well, tell […]

12 Days of Evolution #11: Are we still evolving?

By far the most frequent issue I’m asked about when giving public lectures on evolution is this: “Are humans still evolving? If so, how? Where are we going?” The short answer is “Yes, we’re still evolving, but not in ways that excite most people.” And what answer you give depends on whether you’re talking about whether […]

12 Days of Evolution. #10: Why are there still monkeys?

This the tenth video in the PBS/”It’s Okay to be Smart” series—and that series can’t end too soon for me—is a response to that perennial creationist question, “If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” The no-brainer response is decent, but it neglects the important part of the answer: both modern apes and modern humans […]

12 days of evolution. #9: Can evolution create new information?

One of the more sophisticated claims of creationists, especially used by advocates of intelligent design—I don’t think this term merits capitalization, for we don’t capitalize “creationism”, which is exactly what ID is—is that evolution “can’t create new information”, therefore, insofar as the process produces organisms doing novel things, God must have done it. This ninth short video […]

Why exaptation is an unnecessary term in the science of form

by Greg Mayer The most important finding of vertebrate comparative morphology and paleontology is that most of evolution is the gradual, adaptive, modification of pre-existing structures (or, better, pre-existing developmental programs, which result in the structures).  The point about pre-existing structures is very important– the history of evolution is to a great extent the history […]

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