The Science of Sustainability

Tag: evolution

How People Drove an Evolution in Cliff Swallows

How People Drove an Evolution in Cliff Swallows

Find out how people and roadway designs have favored the survival and evolution of cliff swallows across America.

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The Animal Kingdom's Otherworldly Ancestors

The Animal Kingdom's Otherworldly Ancestors

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.

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Book Review: Animal Wise – The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

Book Review: Animal Wise – The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

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.

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In Defense of Science: An Interview with NCSE’s Eugenie Scott

In Defense of Science: An Interview with NCSE’s Eugenie Scott

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.

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Seeding Life Through the Universe

Seeding Life Through the Universe

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.

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The Circus of Evolution

The Circus of Evolution

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."

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The Fact and Fiction of Fantastic Hybrids

The Fact and Fiction of Fantastic Hybrids

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.

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Evolution, Easy as Can Be

Evolution, Easy as Can Be

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.

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Gaming to Understand Disease

Gaming to Understand Disease

By playing Phylo, you help scientists better understand human disease and you get to have fun. Doing good by having fun is a win-win for scientists and the public.

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‘Superfast’ Muscles Help Bats Find Their Dinner

‘Superfast’ Muscles Help Bats Find Their Dinner

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.

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Turning Chickens into Dinosaurs

Turning Chickens into Dinosaurs

If we are ever going to resurrect dinosaurs, it probably won't be like in the movie Jurassic Park. Instead, we'll have to throw evolution into reverse and turn a bird back into a dinosaur.

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Redesigning Life

Redesigning Life

All living things pretty much use the same language to read their genes. That is about to change.

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The High Cost of Sex

The High Cost of Sex

Biologically speaking, sex is ungodly expensive. One reason it may have evolved in to keep our genomes stable and intact.

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Color Evolution in Nudibranchs

Color Evolution in Nudibranchs

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, postdoctoral researcher from the California Academy of Sciences, tells why nudibranchs evolved to have such beautiful and brilliant color patterns to aid in their defense.

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Should Animals Adapt, or Should We Change Our Behavior?

Should Animals Adapt, or Should We Change Our Behavior?

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.

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Sin and Biology

Sin and Biology

What do scientists think about sin? I’ve recently read a book that provided an interesting connection between the biological idea of evolution and sin.

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Science Event Pick: Are We Scientifically Illiterate?

Science Event Pick: Are We Scientifically Illiterate?

See author Chris Mooney discuss his new book "Unscientific America" Monday evening, August 3rd in Santa Clara.

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Predicting Fossil Finds

Predicting Fossil Finds

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 […]

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Happy Birthday Charlie!

Happy Birthday Charlie!

This month marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of "On the Origin of Species". If Darwin were alive today, I think he would be very pleased.

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Producer's Notes: Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin

Producer's Notes: Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin

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.

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