Category Archives: evolution

Happy Darwin Day!

My talk is over and I’m exhausted, but it went well, or so I was told (it’s hard to tell when you’re up at the podium). Tomorrow I have lunch with the Other Secularist with Famous Hair, and also a trip to the British Museum. If you know a good local in Bloomsbury, give me a shout. […]

A new paper showing the usefulness of the kin-selection model

There’s a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA by David A. Galbraith et al. (free link and reference at bottom) that has a very cool result: one predicted by kin-selection theory. Kin selection, as you may know, is the idea that the adaptive value of a gene (and hence its evolutionary […]

Why do zebras have stripes? II. It’s the flies, stupid!

Referring to the above, it may be flies; we still don’t know for sure. What I wrote above was clickbait inspired by James Carville. Four years ago (has it really been that long?), I reported about a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology showing that, on Hungarian horse farms, striped patterns are repugnant to horseflies (tabanids), for the flies […]

Bloom County on penguin evolution

From a Tw**t by “A Scanner Snarkly” via Grania, we get the entire set of penguin evolution strips from Berk Breathed’s “Bloom County”. Click to enlarge:

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 […]


by Matthew Cobb a pair of lungs being filled with air— 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 […]


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