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Posts Tagged "darwin"

The Artful Amoeba

There’s Darwin’s Fungus!

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Last winter I wrote a post called “Darwin’s Neon Golf Balls” about a fungus called Cyttaria that Darwin collected during his journey on the Beagle. The fungus has a fascinating alien shape and neon orange color when fresh. At the time, I wrote: According to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, Darwin sent his specimen [...]

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Bering in Mind

Is Religion Adaptive? It’s Complicated

A group of Darwinian theorists discuss religion in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Cross-Check

Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution

Last year, on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, Darwin’s stock soared higher than Apple’s. It’s 2010—time for a market adjustment. The philosopher Daniel Dennett once called the theory of evolution by natural selection "the single best idea anyone has ever had." I’m inclined to agree. But Darwinism sticks in the [...]

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Culturing Science

The Evolution of Grief, Both Biological and Cultural, in the 21st Century

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Three months ago, I received an email informing me that a high school friend, Pat, had died. I read his obituary and my body stopped functioning. I froze on the spot, limbs tense but trembling. My mouth went dry, my vision blurred. As I waited for my train in the packed station, I could barely [...]

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Guest Blog

Our Ruly Nature

It is in our nature to need rules. By enabling better social productivity rules beats no rules. We can clarify our biological rule dependence by analogy with language and tools. Also by noticing that we are apt to ape more than apes. We are born able to automatically absorb the rules of our mother tongues [...]

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Guest Blog

Inheriting Second Natures

It is in our first nature to get second natures. Born with the habit of acquiring new habits we access a behavioral toolkit that is nowhere in our genes. A weakness of this otherwise wise strategy is that we often act without consciously thinking. You, at this precise moment, are using an easy and a [...]

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Guest Blog

It Is in Our Nature to Be Self-Deficient

It is in our nature to be self-deficient. This applies initially, chronically and inalienably. Now those once self-evident truths are obscured by errors of biology defying individualism. Though the opposite is often said, no human has ever been “born alone” and survived. Being human starts being unable to feed ourselves and being unable to avoid [...]

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Guest Blog

Bird guts, not muddy feet, may help snails migrate overseas

When I’m not spending my time writing about the weird bugs I find in the garden, or even weirder creatures I just think the world ought to know about, I study land snails from Pacific Islands. That means every time I give I talk I spend the first couple of minutes convincing people that – [...]

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Guest Blog

Beauty Pageants and the Misunderstanding of Evolution Meet….Again

Last week, self proclaimed "geek," Miss California, Alyssa Campanella made beauty pageant history…by default. When the interviewer posed a Theory of Evolution question, she was one of only two delegates to use the scientific definition of the word "theory" in her response. The honey-drenched, colloquial definition that the majority of her competitors clung to was, [...]

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Guest Blog

The Evolution of Common Sense

Arthur Stanley Eddington was an interesting fellow. The English astrophysicist who photographed the solar eclipse that validated Einstein’s theory of general relativity was also a Quaker, a pacifist, and a clever popular writer. In his 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World [1] he began by noting that he had before him two tables: [...]

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Guest Blog

Evolution isn’t easy, even in Galapagos

175 years and a few months ago a landing party rowed into this little bay. Their ship, a small, storm-weathered British sloop was anchored in the distance. As they approached the shore, a lanky, suntanned, salt-encrusted 26-year-old stepped out with a splash and clambered up onto a jumble of broken basalt. Charles Darwin had arrived [...]

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Guest Blog

Breaking our link to the “March of Progress”

It never fails. Whenever scientists announce the discovery of a hitherto unknown fossil species intermediate between two already known forms there is always one newspaper or magazine that calls it a "missing link". Score another point for evolutionary science—another gap in the fossil record has been filled in. I hate the phrase "missing link". It [...]

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Observations

Lonesome George, the Iconic Galápagos Tortoise, Gets Prepared for Taxidermy [Video]

Lonesome George in his pen, May 3, 2011

Lonesome George checks out a keeper in his Galápagos pen, May 3, 2011–a year before he died. Credit: Philip Yam The world’s most famous tortoise will soon make a return to public display—in mounted form. The last of his species, Lonesome George was an icon for conservation and evolution. He was found alone on Pinta [...]

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Observations

The evolution of emotion: Charles Darwin’s little-known psychology experiment

Charles Darwin is famous for his prolific writing about biology. In addition to publishing his theory of evolution, Darwin wrote books about coral reefs, earthworms and carnivorous plants. But the eminent naturalist made important contributions to more than just the life sciences. It turns out Darwin was also an early experimental psychologist. Darwin conducted one [...]

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Observations

Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace’s collection unveiled for the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species

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Charles Darwin had been mulling over his observations of and theories about natural selection for years, but what finally prompted him to write On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (published November 24, 1859) was the arrival of a letter from fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 to 1913) on the very [...]

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Observations

Controversial caterpillar-evolution study formally rebutted

Butterfly metamorphosis from caterpillar

A contentious paper suggesting that butterflies and caterpillars descended from different ancestors has been rebutted in the same journal in which the original, controversial research appeared. In August, retired biologist Donald Williamson of the University of Liverpool in England posited in an online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS) paper that the [...]

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PsiVid

HHMI, with Sean B. Carroll, Premieres New Films for Teachers

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“Film is a powerful way to tell stories. … The right story, told well, can be engaging, informative, and memorable.” —Sean B. Carroll The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is adding four new films to its award-winning catalog of short science documentaries for the classroom. Click below to watch a composite sample of the four [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Acts of Kindness Explained [Video]

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        // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the sixth video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based in [...]

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Symbiartic

Scientists Discover the Very First Hipster

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You’ve seen the cartoon before: a fish hoisting itself up on land with its front fins, being greeted with some snarky sign like, “Evolve at your own risk,” or something similar. This fish has become a meme, so much so that when the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, a 375-million year old fossil that displays a [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt On Exhibit In May/June 2013

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If I only had a private jet at my beck and call, I could zip around the country to all these fine exhibits… sigh! _____________ EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION Princeton University’s ART of SCIENCE May 10, 2013 – Atrium, Friend Center Engineering Library Princeton University 35 Olden Street Princeton, NJ The Art of Science exhibition marks [...]

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Symbiartic

Windows on Evolution – can you outdo “March of Progress” imagery?

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  Charles Darwin’s grand discovery of evolution by natural selection (oh and hey – what’s up, Wallace!) has been with us for over 150 years and transformed medicine, society and any number of scientific disciplines. Paleoart and nature illustration are thriving, lively fields. So why are we still stuck with the Ascent of Man, March [...]

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Symbiartic

Copyright, Darwin, SOPA and ScienceOnline2012

So I’m sitting in an airport on a long layover in the middle of the night, excited to be heading to ScienceOnline 2012 for my 4th time.  CNN is on repeat, talking about the SOPA protest blackouts by Wikipedia and others. I’ve for science-based imagery on my mind. Like many science bloggers, I enjoy a [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: Hubble-Inspired Art, Linneaus’ Illustrations and…

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Lots of exhibits closing this week – don’t miss out! Also, an artist and an astronomer take data from the Hubble and turn it into an art installation at the AMNH; two new competitions to consider entering; and an evening with DJ Spooky at a science art exhibit in NY. The deets: SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS **NEW** [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 5: Lectures, Exhibits, News and more

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New this week: a New York City gallery is featuring three-dimensional topographic maps designed by cartographer Jeffrey Ambroziak; science artist Lynn Fellman hosts an open studio in Minneapolis; the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Greater New York Chapter’s member show closes; and ScienceOnline2012 nears registration time (Nov. 1st!) SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS **NEW** Artists’ Studio Open House: [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 4: Lectures, Exhibits, News and more

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This week, we’re adding a new science art exhibit in the UK inspired by the saline destruction of the Murray Darling basin in Australia and the bleaching of coral reefs as a result of sugarcane harvesting and another featuring work from the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators in Ontario. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 3: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

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This week, a new science art exhibit and a call for entries. Also, just six days left to submit a video in support of the James Webb Telescope. Get on it! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS SONSI’s 2011 Presentation Day (Toronto, ON) October 16, 2011; 12-5pm | An afternoon of illustration-related presentations by members of the Southern Ontario [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 2: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

This week, there are several new exhibits to note, as well as a monthly discussion forum on science and art in DC. Also, don’t miss the calls for entries in two new exhibit opportunities – one pays in cash, the other, glory! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS SONSI’s 2011 Presentation Day (Toronto, ON) October 16, 2011; 12-5pm | [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 1: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

The intersection of science and art is bustling with activity. With this weekly-ish post, we’ll try to keep you abreast of the most happenin’ happenings around the country. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS Beacon, NY’s Annual Open Studio Event (Beacon, NY) September 24-25, 2011; 12-6pm | Take a tour of scientific illustrator Chris Sanders‘ and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Haematothermia hypothesis

Here’s a slightly modified version of a Tet Zoo classic (from ver 2, first published March 2008)… Molecular, morphological and behavioural data convincingly demonstrates that birds are deeply nested within the amniote clade that also includes crocodilians, squamates and turtles – the clade most typically termed Reptilia. Birds are thus substantially removed from mammals, and [...]

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