Fathered by the mailman? Well, not the mailman—it was the PM’s private secretary

by Greg Mayer A lot of work in behavioral and evolutionary biology concerns the evolution of mating systems—polyandry, polygyny, monogamy, promiscuity, and the like—and elucidating the factors that lead to the evolution of one or another. Mating systems can be variable within a species, and human societies exhibit a range of mating systems, with monogamy […]

Darwin’s pigeons

by Greg Mayer In today’s Science Times, Carl Zimmer has a nice article on Darwin’s favorite birds, pigeons. “Whoa”, you say, “Pigeons? Don’t you mean finches?” No, pigeons it is. While we’ve grown accustomed to associating Darwin’s name with the 15 or so finches of the Galapagos Archipelago (plus one species on Cocos Island), the […]

Evolution: Making Sense of Life

by Greg Mayer Another book that was just published in August is a new textbook of evolution intended for biology majors, Evolution: Making Sense of Life, by Carl Zimmer and Douglas Emlen; the title evokes Theodosius Dobzhansky‘s famous 1973 paper “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” (pdf). Carl Zimmer, a […]

Science goes to Hollywood– what are your favorites?

by Greg Mayer Jerry recently posted on a piece by Carl Zimmer on the depiction of science in movies. Carl doesn’t think Hollywood films have shown very realistic views of science and scientists, and is not sure Hollywood can or should do anything about it. Carl’s more jazzed by the promise and accomplishments of smaller […]

Sean Carroll and Carl Zimmer quit Bloggingheads for promoting creationism

Bloggingheads.tv was founded (and still largely run) by Robert Wright, and was once funded by the Templeton Foundation.  What does that tell you?  For one thing, to expect a lot of faitheism and sympathy for religion — even on Science Saturday, where it doesn’t belong.  But what I didn’t expect was sympathy for creationism.  Although […]

Darwinius, the “link” and the book

Over at the Times Literary Supplement, paleontologist Ian Tattersall reviews Colin Tudge’s new book on Darwinius, The Link. As you may remember if you read this and other evolution-related websites (see Greg Mayer’s post on this site), Darwinius masillae is an extraordinarily complete primate fossil that was revealed to scientists and the public in May, […]

Darwinius: what’s at issue?

by Greg Mayer I’m leaving in a few days for Costa Rica, and Jerry is back, so this will be my last post on Darwinius, at least for awhile. At least three different issues have been debated in the blogosphere concerning “Ida“: 1) What are her phylogenetic relationships; 2) Was the media campaign excessive; and […]

The evolutionary biology of the swine flu virus

Carl Zimmer has a good article in today’s New York Times describing the swine flu virus (“H1N1”) as well as other pathogenic viruses, where they come from, and how they evolve.  It turns out that the swine flu virus actually derived from humans — from the strain that caused the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918 […]

Good new paper on the fish-tetrapod transition

Thanks to Carl Zimmer for pointing out a new paper by Jenny Clack in Evolution: Education and Outreach: “The Fish-Tetrapod Transition: New Fossils and Interpretations.” This is a good paper for the non-scientist who wants to know more about the documentation of this important transition. In WEIT I wrote mostly about the Tiktaalik roseae transitional […]

Are we ready for an “extended evolutionary synthesis”?

Over at Time magazine, Carl Zimmer has a good essay, “The Ever Evolving Theories of Darwin”, about Darwin’s contributions and what has happened in evolutionary biology since 1859. The essay was kind of spoiled for me, though, by the ending, in which Zimmer seems to buy into something he calls the “extended evolutionary synthesis”. To […]


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