Category Archives: evolution

Kelly Houle’s Darwin cards available again

I’ve sent out tons of Kelly Houle’s fantastic Darwin greeting cards, and was disappointed to learn that they were out of stock and that no more were available. Here’s what they look like: they are gorgeous, with Darwin’s famous “I think” phylogeny, and the memorable phrase from the final paragraph of The Origin—all in heavy raised […]

An upcoming book by Dan Dennett

Lord is this man prolific! Like Steve Pinker (another man I admire), Dan just keeps cranking out the books, and they’re often very good ones. These two men seem to have books arrayed in their heads like planes coming in for a landing at O’Hare, all arrayed in a sequential order. Dan’s latest book, which […]

A MOOC on Homo floresiensis, the “hobbit” hominin

I just want to let you know about a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Homo floresiensis that reader Dermot C. called to my attention. As you may recall, new dating methods have shown that this 3.5-foot diminutive hominin died out about 50,000 years ago rather than the 12,000 originally posited, and arrived in Flores (Indonesia) […]

Nature Ecology and Evolution begins publishing

This journal, one of the family of Nature spinoffs, has been in the works for a while, and I have great hopes for it. Headed by editor Patrick Goymer, who used to work for the Mother Nature, comes out with its first official issue next January, but has already published four online articles that you can […]

John van Wyhe debunks Darwin myths

Last night after my talk I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with John van Wyhe, a Darwin/Wallace scholar at the National University of Singapore, where I spoke last night. We continued our conversation this morning when he joined Melissa Chen and me at the Orangutan Breakfast at the Singapore Zoo. Here’s a bit […]

Evolution rejection in the American South: It’s the religion, stupid!

Here’s a 9-minute video featuring science educator Amanda Glaze, who’s deeply concerned with the rejection of evolution by students and their parents in the American South. It was featured on NPR’s Science Friday, and imparts two important lessons: How much students know about evolution doesn’t affect whether they accept it as true. I believe earlier studies have verified […]

Hybrid speciation might be rare

Data show that the “normal” mode of speciation—the process in which one lineage divides into two or more species—involves the geographic isolation of populations of a single species. Over time, natural selection (and genetic drift) causes those populations to become more and more genetically different. When the genetic differentiation has gone to the extent that the separate populations […]

Is evolution “contingent” or repeatable?

Aeon is a nonprofit science and technology magazine that occasionally has some good pieces, though I’m not a frequent reader. However, several readers called my attention to a new piece by Dan Falk, a Canadian science writer, about whether or not human evolution was inevitable. Click the screenshot to go to the article: Falk poses […]

The evolutionary level of human violence

There’s a new paper in Nature about the level of intraspecific violence in humans and other species, written by José Maria Gómez et al. (free reference and download below).  The question is how often members of single species kill each other in the wild, and whether humans are outliers. It’s already gotten a lot of attention in the press, […]

Scientific fame—Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin: the Wikipedia page hit data

JAC:  Last week my friend Andrew Berry, a lecturer at Harvard and expert on Darwin and, especially, Alfred Russel Wallace, was telling me about some interesting data he’d gleaned from Wikipedia about the two Fathers of Evolution. I suggested he write it up as a post for this site, and he kindly obliged: Scientific Fame […]