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  • On the Origin of Life on Earth

    01/16/2009 12:31:14 PM PST · by js1138 · 51 replies · 2,819+ views
    Science ^ | January 8, 2009 | Carl Zimmer
    An Amazon of words flowed from Charles Darwin's pen. His books covered the gamut from barnacles to orchids, from geology to domestication. At the same time, he filled notebooks with his ruminations and scribbled thousands of letters packed with observations and speculations on nature. Yet Darwin dedicated only a few words of his great verbal flood to one of the biggest questions in all of biology: how life began.
  • Math theories may hold clues to origin, future of life in universe

    06/09/2009 10:01:50 AM PDT · by ckilmer · 34 replies · 1,081+ views
    physorg ^ | June 9th, 2009
    Math theories may hold clues to origin, future of life in universe June 9th, 2009 How did we get here and where are we headed? These are some of life's biggest questions. To get the answers, one Kansas State University professor is doing the math. Louis Crane, K-State professor of mathematics, is studying new theories about why the universe is the way it is. He has a grant from the Foundational Questions Institute to study new approaches to the quantum theory of gravity, his primary research area as both a mathematician and a physicist. Crane hopes to uncover implications of...
  • Papal preacher says intelligent design is truth of faith, not science (Catholic Caucus)

    03/16/2009 12:17:08 PM PDT · by Coleus · 13 replies · 826+ views
    cns ^ | 03.13.09 | cindy wooden
    Affirming the reality of an intelligent design for the creation and development of the universe is not a scientific theory, but a statement of faith, said the preacher of the papal household. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, offering a Lenten meditation to Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials March 13, said the controversy that has arisen between scientists supporting evolution and religious believers promoting creationism or intelligent design is due mainly to a confusion between scientific theory and the truths of faith. The intelligent-design theory asserts that the development and evolution of life is such a hugely complex process that...
  • Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab

    06/10/2008 12:07:34 PM PDT · by mnehring · 161 replies · 372+ views
    A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait. And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events.
  • Lowly females pick mediocre mates

    10/10/2009 11:50:11 AM PDT · by JoeProBono · 49 replies · 3,478+ views
    news ^ | 8 October 2009 | Victoria Gill
    Low-quality females prefer low-quality males, at least in the avian world. This is according to research published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, testing female zebra finches' taste in males. As adults, the low-quality females showed a preference for the songs of males of the same quality, and for the male birds themselves. Evolutionary biologists previously thought that females would always opt for the best male available. The study was led by Marie-Jeanne Holveck from the Centre of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, France. She explained that low- and high-quality birds differ in almost every important characteristic, including...
  • New Creatures in an Age of Extinctions

    07/26/2009 2:54:17 PM PDT · by neverdem · 19 replies · 723+ views
    NY Times ^ | July 26, 2009 | NATALIE ANGIER
    In the inner precincts of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, along a corridor that could easily accommodate a string of bowling alleys, Kristofer M. Helgen, curator of mammals, pulled open one of the thousands of metal cabinets stacked against the walls and gestured grandly at the contents. Inside was a tray of a dozen dried rodents, chestnut-furred and with tails neatly extended, like campfire wieners on sticks. He opened other drawers, revealing small, fox-faced bats, and a pair of giant bats with fierce, bicuspid canines, and a weasel-sized mammal with a pendulous snout, and a bat whose...
  • "Missing Link" Primate Likely To Stir Debate

    05/20/2009 6:42:42 AM PDT · by steve-b · 25 replies · 933+ views
    MSNBC ^ | 5/19/09
    A discovery of a 47 million-year-old fossil primate that is said to be a human ancestor was announced and unveiled Tuesday at a press conference in New York City. Known as "Ida," the nearly complete transitional fossil is 20 times older than most fossils that provide evidence for human evolution....
  • Fossil Backs Theory Linking Dinosaurs To Birds

    05/06/2009 10:52:37 AM PDT · by steve-b · 33 replies · 1,200+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 5/4/09 | David Perlman
    Deep inside the single leg bone of an 80-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur, scientists have found a hoard of proteins and blood cells providing the first clear biochemical evidence that dinosaurs are indeed the ancestors of modern birds - linked by evolution. Until now those links had been based mainly on physical evidence - on feathers from dinosaur fossils, on their fossil eggs, on their fossilized birdlike nestlings and on the close resemblance of dinosaurs and birds like the famed "flying dinosaur" called archaeopteryx. Now the same team of scientists, which found similar biological material in a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex two years...
  • Darwin Still Making Waves 200 Years Later

    02/12/2009 6:49:28 AM PST · by steve-b · 2 replies · 331+ views
    CNN ^ | 2/12/09 | Azadeh Ansari
    Before there was an extensive fossil record, DNA sequencing or even a basic understanding of genetics, there was Charles Darwin. Today, the world commemorates the 200th birthday of a man who single-handedly revolutionized biology with an explosive theory that challenged the core of our existence.... Darwin devoted much of his adult life to questioning the unquestionable. Born February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England, he earned a degree in theology from Cambridge University and was known for his obsession with collecting things, especially beetles. His outlook on life changed after he embarked in 1831 on a five-year voyage around the world...
  • Culture Shock May Explain Similarity Between Humans

    01/10/2009 2:19:53 AM PST · by neverdem · 28 replies · 1,451+ views
    ScienceNOW Daily News ^ | 8 January 2009 | Ann Gibbons
    Although humans come in many shapes and sizes, from the compact Inuit of the Arctic to the willowy Masai warriors of Africa, any two people are a lot more alike genetically than any pair of chimpanzees or gorillas. The reason may be our advanced culture, according to a new study. Our ancestors' different tools, eating habits, and even body decorations limited their mate choices to individuals of a similar culture, the work suggests, reducing the spread of new mutations across many groups. Because only a few of these ancient groups survived, humans are much less genetically diverse than other primates,...
  • A simple fusion to jump-start evolution

    12/23/2008 5:00:16 AM PST · by CE2949BB · 21 replies · 655+ views
    EurekAlert! ^ | 18-Dec-2008
    With the aid of a straightforward experiment, researchers have provided some clues to one of biology's most complex questions: how ancient organic molecules came together to form the basis of life.
  • Earliest evidence of humans thriving on the savannah [carniverous 2 million yrs ago]

    10/23/2009 8:58:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies · 917+ views
    New Scientist ^ | Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Shanta Barley
    Humans were living and thriving on open grassland in Africa as early as 2 million years ago, making stone tools and using them to butcher zebra and other animals... All of the other earlier hominins that have been found in the geological record -- such as Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus afarensis -- known as Ardi and Lucy, respectively -- lived either in dense forest or in a mosaic of woodland, shrub and grasses, says Plummer... Plummer's team first started excavating Kanjera South in the 1990s, in search of primitive toolkits consisting of hammer stones, stone cores that were struck to...
  • Malawi could be the cradle of humankind

    10/23/2009 10:27:38 AM PDT · by decimon · 17 replies · 648+ views
    Reuters ^ | Oct 23, 2009 | Mabvuto Banda
    KARONGA, Malawi (Reuters) – The latest discovery of pre-historic tools and remains of hominids in Malawi's remote northern district of Karonga provides further proof that the area could be the cradle of humankind, a leading German researcher said. Professor Friedemann Schrenk of the Goethe University in Frankfurt told Reuters that two students working on the excavation site last month had discovered prehistoric tools and a tooth of an hominid.
  • Ethiopia 27 million years ago had higher rainfall, warmer soil

    10/22/2009 3:06:22 PM PDT · by decimon · 27 replies · 845+ views
    Southern Methodist University ^ | October 22, 2009 | Unknown
    Thirty million years ago, before Ethiopia's mountainous highlands split and the Great Rift Valley formed, the tropical zone had warmer soil temperatures, higher rainfall and different atmospheric circulation patterns than it does today, according to new research of fossil soils found in the central African nation. Neil J. Tabor, associate professor of Earth Sciences at SMU and an expert in sedimentology and isotope geochemistry, calculated past climate using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in minerals from fossil soils discovered in the highlands of northwest Ethiopia. The highlands represent the bulk of the mountains on the African continent. Tabor's research supplies a...
  • Oldest known pottery found in China: 18,000 years old

    06/06/2009 2:05:09 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 24 replies · 1,683+ views
    The Los Angeles Times ^ | June 6, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
    Chinese and Israeli archaeologists have discovered the oldest known pottery, remains of an 18,000-year-old cone-shaped vase excavated from a cave in southern China. The shards are about 1,000 years older than the previous record-holder, found in Japan. After flint tools, pottery is one of the oldest human-made materials, and tracing its development provides insight into the evolution of culture. The shards were discovered four years ago in Yuchanyan Cave in the Yangzi River basin by a team led by Elisabetto Boaretto of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The cave shows signs of human occupation from about 21,000...
  • Researcher speaks up on pressure to conform

    11/17/2009 8:03:18 AM PST · by GodGunsGuts · 11 replies · 841+ views
    CMI ^ | November 17, 2009 | Carl Wieland
    According to Thomas Bouchard, a US psychologist famous for his research on twins raised apart,[1] even scientists with good reason to believe that the majority are wrong can be silenced. The reason is...
  • A Darwinist Religious Experience Described

    04/13/2009 8:35:28 AM PDT · by GodGunsGuts · 8 replies · 755+ views
    CEH ^ | April 11, 2009
    A Darwinist Religious Experience Described April 11, 2009 — As millions of Jews just completed Passover, and as millions of Christians gather to celebrate Easter, a Darwinist reporter was experiencing “existential vertigo” – a sweeping sense of dizziness as her imagination zoomed in and out of the implications of her faith. It may be the closest thing that a secular materialist can call a religious experience. And religious experience is an accurate description: it was the outworking of an all-encompassing world view, with ultimate causes, ultimate destinies, moral imperatives, and heavy doses of faith. Amanda Gefter (see her previous attack...
  • New footprints from Ileret, Kenya, supposed to be from human evolutionary ancestor

    03/12/2009 7:34:12 AM PDT · by GodGunsGuts · 54 replies · 1,090+ views
    CMI ^ | March 12, 2009 | Michael J. Oard
    New footprints from Ileret, Kenya, supposed to be from human evolutionary ancestor And all based on the angle of the big toe! by Michael J. Oard 12 March 2009 A new discovery has just been made of “hominin” footprints at Ileret, Kenya, and dated at 1.51 to 1.53 million years ago.1,2 They were found along with footprints of animals on two different levels of strata, separated vertically by 5 metres, in what are described as fine-grained, normally graded silt and sand units deposited as overbank flood deposits. The dates were based on a tenuous interpretation of three volcanic layers within...
  • Plant Evolution: Where’s the Root? ("Lack of data...shielded behind hope")

    04/18/2009 1:43:54 PM PDT · by GodGunsGuts · 20 replies · 961+ views
    CEH ^ | April 16, 2009
    Plant Evolution: Where’s the Root? April 16, 2009 — To Darwin, the origin of flowering plants was an “abominable mystery.” Recently, some entries on Science magazine’s blog Origins have claimed the mystery has been solved, at least partially, and a full solution is near at hand. Here is a great test case for evolution. Angiosperms comprise a huge, diverse population of organisms. There should be an ample fossil record, and many genes to decipher. Let’s see if the optimistic claims are rooted in evidence...
  • Did Ribonucleoproteins Spark Life?

    06/15/2009 11:43:12 AM PDT · by GodGunsGuts · 32 replies · 1,040+ views
    ICR ^ | June 15, 2009 | Brian Thomas, M.S.
    Despite “decades of persistent failure to create life by the ‘spark in the soup’ method,”[1] evolutionary biochemists are still trying to find an exclusively naturalistic explanation for how the first cell developed. Many possible chemical precursors to life have been systematically ruled out by rigorous experiments. What they have found is that the molecules necessary for life are found exclusively within cells that are already living. One explanation proposed by evolutionists...