Category Archives: evolution

Aeon tries to revive Lamarck, calling for a “paradigm” shift in evolution

UPDATE:  As reader Michael found out and reveals in a comment below, Skinner is well funded by Templeton. It crossed my mind, but I thought, “naaaah. . .” and couldn’t be arsed to look it up. But yes, Skinner is eating well from the Templeton trough. It’s pretty clear that Templeton is deeply invested in […]

Thursday: My duck

On the way back from the hospital (verdict: no surgery, just finger therapy—yay!), I passed the pond and called for Honey, my female mallard (hen), which I do by emitting three quick whistles. She didn’t come swimming towards me as usual, and at first I thought she’d flown the coop for good, which is going […]

When evolution goes wrong. . .

Here’s a cartoon sent by reader Thomas; it’s from “Wrong Hands“, drawn by John Atkinson: I don’t mind the birds evolving from dinosaurs, or the evolutionary stasis of the platypus (if indeed there was any stasis, for the earliest monotremes, which did exist about 110 million years ago, looked nothing like a platypus). But oy, […]

The complex evolution of the big cats

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 […]

Nice BBC show on science communication; Dawkins and Deborah Kelemen talk about evolution

I’m just going to steal reader Colin’s email, which called my attention to a 42-minute BBC4 program featuring several people, although, as usual, Richard Dawkins gets top billing (see screenshot below). I’ve just listened to the show and recommend it. Here’s what Colin wrote me: The program is now be available here. It discusses with Richard […]

Glen Loury interviews Bret Weinstein

Two days ago, Glen Loury, a professor of social sciences at Brown University,  had a conversation with Bret Weinstein on Bloggingheads tv, and it’s just appeared on YouTube. Weinstein, you may recall, is the professor of evolutionary biology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington who refused to leave campus on the Day of Departure […]

The origin and migration of domestic cats: a genetic study

I think about fifty people sent me articles about a new genetic study of domestic cats and their ancestor, Felis silvestris—an analysis published in a paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution by Claudio Ottoni et al. Thanks to all for calling this to my attention, as it combines two of my favorite subjects, cats and genetics; but […]

You have vestigial muscles that moved the whiskers of your ancestors

This is the kind of post I envisioned writing—once every few weeks or so—when I started this website. My intention was to use the site to publicize new evidence for evolution. Not that we need any to show that that well evidenced theory is true, of course, but to support the book and alert people […]

A new paper defends the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis against the buzzword purveyors

There’s a movement afoot by money-hungry but misguided scientists to claim that the Modern Synthesis (MS) of evolutionary biology is fatally flawed. (Many of these researchers are funded by the John Templeton Foundation, which recently handed out $11 million dollars for work on this fruitless endeavor.) According to the critics, the areas that supposedly have […]

Artificial selection in action: more elephants are being born without tusks

What do you expect if hunters or poachers selectively kill elephants with big tusks—either for trophies or their ivory? This is actually a form of artificial selection, and it will have the expected results: elephants with smaller tusks will be more likely to survive and reproduce, and if there’s genetic variation for tusk size or […]