Category Archives: evolution

Bob Trivers’ (and my) take on famous evolutionary biologists

Several readers sent me a link to a piece by Bob Trivers called “Vignettes of famous evolutionary biologists, large and small” (Trivers is of course also a famous evolutionary biologist.) His essay is at the Unz Review, whatever that is, so I would have missed it. Anybody who knows Bob, as I do, also knows that he […]

Dinosaur feathers found in amber

UPDATE: I’m a real dummy; I failed to check the dates of any of these items and a eagle-eyed reader noted that they’re all from 2011! I should have seen that from the dates on the Science paper, if not the links. Oh well, it’s still interesting stuff. ******* A paper in Science by Ryan McKellar […]

David Sloan Wilson tells the BBC that the evolution of altruism in humans is “solved”: it’s group selection (of course)

Reader Tony from the UK called my attention to yesterday’s “Start the Week” program on BBC Radio 4, which featured the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson discussing the evolution of human altruism with host Tom Sutcliffe. (Click the screenshot below to go to the page, then press the arrow at lower left on that page. […]

“Awesome” Darwin tee-shirt

How would you like to wear about 40,000 words of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, along with a picture of the great man (and a chimp), also formed of his words? If so, you can get this nice tee-shirt from Litographs for only $34. Here’s the front: and the back: The process: Every Litographs t-shirt is […]

Is natural selection making the Dutch taller?

A piece by Carl Zimmer in Thursday’s New York Times called my attention to a new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B (reference and link to download below) by Gert Stulp et al. on the remarkable height of Dutch people and some evidence that natural selection (probably via sexual selection) is acting to promote […]

Mae-Wan Ho and Suzan Mazur: the blind leading the blind about evolution

Mae-Wan Ho is a scientist known, to me at least, for unproductive work: dissing GMOs and biotechnology and, especially, relentlessly attacking “neo-Darwinism”, the modern theory of evolution. Ho is also head of an unfortunately named organization; as Wikipedia notes: Ho is the director of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), an interest group that campaigns […]

Bill Nye explains evolution (badly) using emoji

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of Bill Nye. He debates Ken Ham, he goes after GMO foods (apparently he will retract that opinion soon), and I dislike what I see as his grasping ambition to retain the fame he had as “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” I’ve also said that I never […]

How often do genes move between distantly related species?

Did you read Matthew’s post on the okapi yesterday? I hope so, because I’m worried, in view of the paucity of comments on science posts, that people are skipping them. Perhaps that just reflects the dearth of things that non-scientist readers have to say. I hope that’s the answer, for it takes about four or five times […]

Lunch with Dr. L.

I’m doing a bit of writing work at Harvard, and always make sure on these visits to reconnect with Dick Lewontin, my Ph.D. advisor, and perhaps the most famous evolutionary geneticist of the last generation. Although he’s retired, he still has space at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and, at age 86, he’s in very good […]

The new family tree of birds (spot the nightjar!)

Last December 12, the journal Science included a paper by Erich Jarvis et al. (reference and free download below) that undertook an ambitious revision of the family tree of birds. Although I read it when it came out, I didn’t post about it as I simply didn’t have the time (it takes about 4 hours to read […]


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