March 1, 2014 | 6
Welcome to the 69th edition of the Carnival of Evolution! As February 12th was Darwin’s birthday, this is a Darwin’s Day carnival edition. To start with there’s a celebration of all things Darwinian at Synthetic Daisies, and a letter to the man himself for his 205th birthday.
Darwin didn’t know it existed, but nowadays the study of evolution is often the study of genetics and DNA. L. Moran has a follow-up post to P.Z Myers comments on the neutral theory of genetic drift. There’s further discussion about the role of genetic selection and drift over at eco-evolutionary dynamics and a post on horizontal gene transfer on phylonetworks.
Carl Zimmer puts the genetic principles into practice looking at the family tree of the calabash plant while Anne Buchanan explores the evolution of biomineralization; the process of laying down minerals such as calcium within the body. Meanwhile Danielle Whittaker uses mathematical modelling to explore how changes in the environment affect phytoplankton.
The recent “Ham vs. Nye” debate sparked discussion all over the internet, as a scientist and creationist discussed the issue of evolution. Greg Laden discusses who ‘won’ the debate (Bill Nye!) while Dr. Zachary Blount adds his own views while discussing his work on evolution in bacteria. Chris Reynolds looks at the debate in the context of the evolution of human brains and intelligence. There’s also a post from Troy Britain, which discusses the difference between lizard hipped and bird hipped dinosaurs in the context of misinformation from Answers in Genesis. Jeremy Yoder questions whether a prominent creationist should be able to lecture in a university microbiology course.
One of the biggest challenges for the creationists of Darwin’s time was human evolution. There’s a post about our ape-like ancestors from The Mermaid’s Tale with some exciting new research on the ape in the trees and a discussion of the definition of the human genus from John Hawks. From the university of Vermont, we also have a study on sexual selection in human populations.
As well as studying genetics evolutionary scientists also explore populations such as in this study of mating behaviour in water striders. There are also strong evolutionary pressures on bringing up young, as shown in studies of birds. There’s a great critical analysis of the theory of group selection focusing on research on a population of monkeyflowers from the same blog, along with a post on breeding designs and the use of contextual analysis to study community ecology.
That’s it from this edition of the Carnival of Evolution. For more evolutionary goodness, follow on twitter or facebook and check out previous editions on the carnival blog. Don’t forget to submit your posts for next weeks carnival!
All the Darwin images are from wikimedia commons.