At one time, squishy invertebrates constituted most of the animal life on Earth, but about half a billion years ago, something remarkable happened: an evolutionary explosion known as the Cambrian Period.
An appreciation of the rich inner lives of nonhuman animals dates back at least to Aristotle and gained support from Charles Darwin, who saw any differences between humans and other animals as a matter of degree, not kind. Still, the notion that humans stand above and apart from our fellow creatures dies hard. In her new book, "Animal Wise," science journalist Virginia Morell takes us on a tour of labs and field sites around the world to show us that many of the traits once thought uniquely human appear in even our most distant evolutionary relatives.
Eugenie Scott, longtime director of Oakland's National Center for Science Education, has won numerous awards for helping the public understand science and defending evolution, especially against threats to replace it with “creation science” in public schools. She shares her thoughts on the challenges of communicating science in a climate of denial.
Watching Prometheus the other day with my son got me to thinking about panspermia. This is the idea that life sometimes spreads through the universe by riding on interstellar flotsam and jetsam like meteors or asteroids.
I was super-excited to see Totem because A) a friend who saw it in San Francisco raved about it, and B) it's about evolution! How cool is that? Cirque du Soleil says of their latest touring show, "TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly."
Have you heard of the Poisonous Fiddlerfrog, whose tadpoles grow up into crabs? Or the Hummingshrew, who eats flies as well as nectar? These animals aren't real, so you'd only know about them if you've seen Voyage Through a Hidden World.
Evolving from something simple like a single celled beast into a slug, mushroom, cactus or a human seems impossibly hard. The series of precise DNA changes you need is mind-boggling to think about. Unless, of course, the changes are easier than we imagine.
As a hunting bat closes in on a flying insect, its echolocation calls get closer and closer together, and shorter and shorter in duration. Scientists recently discovered how their muscles can produce more than 160 calls every second.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a fun new video about climate change, called Change for the Ocean, to go with their exhibit Hot Pink Flamingos. Narrated by John Cleese and produced by Free Range Studios, the animated video is cute, funny, and pretty effective at conveying the fact that people can change their ways much faster than sea life can adapt to climate change.
Post on Oct 04, 2010 by Jennifer Skene
See author Chris Mooney discuss his new book "Unscientific America" Monday evening, August 3rd in Santa Clara.
Post on Jul 30, 2009 by Kishore Hari
Scientists used evolutionary theory to figure out where to find the bones of this fishibian. Lately I have been reading Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. And so far it is a fascinating read. What is so great about this book for a scientist is that it gives the big picture on evolution. This sort [...]
Post on Mar 02, 2009 by Dr. Barry Starr
Today QUEST TV broadcasts its half-hour documentary "Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin," which tells the story of California Academy of Sciences beetle expert David Kavanaugh's unusual prediction that a new species of beetle would be found in Northern California's Trinity Alps.
Post on Feb 10, 2009 by Gabriela Quirós
This year marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin – and the 150th anniversary of his landmark work, "On the Origin of Species". One of the iconic fossils that supports Darwin's theory of evolution is called the Archaeopteryx.
Post on Feb 06, 2009 by David Gorn