Saturday, February 18, 2006
[Evolution News] "The discovery in coastal Waikato (New Zealand) of a giant penguin fossil, believed to be about 40 million years old, is being described as the find of a lifetime.
The fossilised remains of the one-and-a-half metre tall ancient giant penguin were uncovered in Kawhia Harbour by a 22-strong expedition of children on a field trip from Hamilton. "
[Evolution News] "MADISON, Wis., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The state bill that University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists helped draft is getting attention by proponents and opponents nationwide.
The bill would ban the teaching of intelligent design as science in the state's public schools, reported the Madison Capitol Times (Wisconsin) Friday."
Friday, February 17, 2006
"Tyrannosaurus rex may have been a big beast, but it appears to have possessed the sensory skills of much smaller, more agile animals.
The finding is something of a puzzle in light of other evidence showing it had only a limited range of movement.
Palaeontologists presented their latest research on the carnivorous dinosaur at a conference in St Louis, US.
The results inform the hot debate over T. rex's feeding behaviour: was it more scavenger than top predator?"
[Evolution News: "Sex, cleaner of genomes"] Scientists have wondered for decades why sex evolved. It's a costly process that produces less offspring than the alternative, asexual reproduction.
Now, researchers say they have found evidence to back up one leading theory: sex occurs because it helps prevent the buildup of harmful mutations.
[Evolution News] Dinosaurs seem bigger than life - big bones, big mysteries.
But ironically, the next big answers about dinosaurs may come from very small remains, researchers say.
'Molecules are fossils, too...' said zoologist Peggy Ostrom of Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
[Evolution News] "Need to get somewhere fast? Growing longer legs is the cane toad's answer. The amphibian pest is accelerating its march across the Australian landscape, leaving a trail of ecological devastation."
"Tempe, Ariz. -- Arizona State University anthropologist and Institute of Human Origins researcher Gary Schwartz, along with fellow anthropologist Dan Gebo from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, have studied fossil anklebones of some early ancestors of modern humans and discovered that they walked on the wild side.
It seems some of our earliest ancestors possessed a rather unsteady stride due to subtle anatomical differences. Schwartz and Gebo's findings will be published in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, but the article is available online at
"New fossils found in Australia tell us that enormous snakes evolved from predatory lizards like goannas, scientists say.
Palaeontologist Dr John Scanlon describes the well-preserved 25 to 20 million-year old snake skulls from the Riversleigh World Heritage site, in today's issue of the journal Nature.
'There's been quite a bit of controversy about what sort of lizards snakes evolved from,' says Scanlon, of the Riversleigh Fossils Centre in Mount Isa (Australia)." [Evolution News]
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The state of Ohio has changed its mind about the teaching of evolution, dropping a rule mandating inclusion of anti-evolution material* in biology classes.
The Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 Tuesday to discard the rule requiring 10th-grade biology classes to include a critical analysis of evolution, as well as an accompanying model lesson plan, The New York Times reported Wednesday. (*eg Intelligent Design)
Neuquen, Feb 14: Archaeologists in the southern Argentine province of Neuquen are rushing to remove dinosaur bones from an excavation site before water levels rise in a nearby lake and flood the area.The site is located on the northern coast of Lake Barreales, and experts fear that melting snow and ice on the nearby Andean mountains in the summer season may cause the water levels to rise and flood the area. As a result, a team of international archaeologists and paleontologists are working against the clock to save the fossils from the floods.
[News] Panel Backs Evolution Alternatives: Debate Heads Back to State
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
Feb. 14--The state's Education Oversight Committee recommended Monday that theories other than evolution -- such as "intelligent design" -- should be taught in high school biology classes.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
To scientists such as Gorka Sancho, there isn't much to discuss.
Reams of measurable data support evolution. Intelligent design, in his opinion, is nothing more than unsubstantiated bunkum, a questionable theory from the scientific fringe.
It's partly why reading the newspaper has become so frustrating for Sancho, an assistant professor of oceanography at the College of Charleston.
The pairing of intelligent design and evolution in news stories has led to what Sancho views as a false equivalency. Intelligent design, he contends, has no business being discussed in the context of science.
An underwater mountain that forms the world's third-largest atoll has some of the richest diversity of marine life ever found in the Caribbean, according to scientists who recently explored the area.
The two-week expedition in January encountered new species of fish, seaweed and other ocean life at little-studied Saba Bank Atoll, a coral-crowned seamount 250 kilometers southeast of Puerto Rico in the Dutch Windward Islands.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Life on Earth was unlikely to have emerged from volcanic springs or hydrothermal vents, according to a leading US researcher.
Experiments carried out in volcanic pools suggest they do not provide the right conditions to spawn life.
The findings will be discussed on Tuesday at an international two-day meeting to explore the latest thinking on the origin of life on Earth.
It takes place at the Royal Society, the UK's academy of science, in London.
By experimentally promoting rapid, small-scale evolution within a lab population of yeast, researchers have shed light on the kinds of genetic changes that may underlie the emergence of new species.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A fossil found in Tasmania could hold the answer to what wiped out the last of the dinosaurs, says an Australian researcher.
Scientists have produced the first-ever three-dimensional images of 850-million-year-old microscopic fossils using preexisting laser technology.
They don't even have to break open the rocks.
In the future, the technique could help researchers figure out when exactly life began on Earth and determine whether life has ever existed on Mars.