Evolution news

Fossil Whales

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205103701.htm ... research by a student at the University of Otago in New Zealand took him to California, to a geological formation in San Francisco Bay. He has managed to piece together, with some help, 21 mammals, including dwarf baleen whale, double tusked walrus, porpoises and dolphins, and a fossil whale, an early relative of the Minke. Published in the journal Geodiversitas (2014), the fossils are said to date back 2 million years ago, when the water off shore from California were warmer.

Milk digestion amongst European people

Lactose tolerance evolved - it is a genetic change. At http://phys.org/print309711543.html ... we have a story about milk digestion and lactose tolerance. A research undergraduate has analysed DNA from the teeth of a human living in central Europe around one thousand years ago. Not exactly historical, as such, but the results showed that people at that time had a similar genetic predisposition for milk digestion as in present day people in the region. In other words, lactose tolerance was more widespread than previously believed.

Blind cave fish

At www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/blind_cavefish_offer_evidence_for_al... ... the eyeless cave fish from Mexico present evidence of a mechanism of evolutionary change that is distinct from natural selection of spontaneously arising mutations, according to a paper in the journal Science (Dec 2013). Gene variants that improve the animal's ability to adapt to a new environment can be passed on to progeny, a distinct difference from the established mechanism of chance mutations.

Alfred Wallace

At http://phys.org/print291361534.html ... news of a new book on the discovery of evolution, John Wyhe, Dispelling the Darkness: Voyages in the Malay Archipelago. Alfred Wallace was the contemporary of Darwin and both reached the same conclusion at virtually the same point in time - evolution was a viable biological explanation for the development of life, and the species.

Complex Brains

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/05/the-human-neocortex-more-complex-t... ... a blog post with an interesting video to watch, Carl Sagan and Roger Penrose discussing the neocortex and the make-up of the human head (and the complexities of the brain). According to Penrose, what is in our heads is orders of magnitude more complex than anything one sees in the Universe. Our brains are a tiny part of the cosmos but they are perfectly organised.

Evolution of legs in the trees

Coming hot on the heels of the news that Lucy lived in the trees is another spike in the hide of the consensus hymn sheet. A new study questions some cherished beliefs central to the hypothetical, and uniformitarian, concept of how humans evolved from apes - from swinging in trees to walking on two legs. It took a lot of time. It involved small changes over loads of time. It involved habitat change and enforced adaptation ... and so forth.

Genetics and Evolution

A good article on evolution can be found at www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/Far_from_random_evolution_follows_a_... ... which raises the possibility evolution may not be random but may be driven by a simple and repeated genetic solution to environmental pressure that a broad range of species just happens to share.

10 million years ... evolution is slow and tedious, according to the latest

At http://phys.org/print257320509.html ... it is being claimed it took 10 million years for the eco-system to recover after the end of the Permian mass extinction event. A recent paper suggested the bounce back was rapid but now the opposite is being said as the basic cause of the extinctions was nothing so dramatic as catastrophism but grim conditions that lingered, global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification and ocean anoxia. All this was enough to wipe out 90 per cent of life forms on Earth. No wonder these scientists scare themselves silly just thinking about CAGW.

Crocodiles riding ocean currents

See www.physorg.com/print194859447.html ... not really SIS material but interesting as it may have evolutionary implications. How did they learn to do it, for example, aand are crocodiles really such brutes. Crocodiles in Australia cross large expanses of sea by riding the current. They will lay in wait until the right current comes along to get where they want to go. Literally, they surf, as crocodiles are not particularly good swimmers. In this way they are able to migrate and populate South Pacific islands.

Nature's batteries

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100525094906.htm there is an interesting article on research done by Leeds University and published in Chemical Communications. How did life on earth emerge from inanimate matter billions of years ago? What prompted abiogenesis?