Science-- there's something for everyone

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Carnival of Evolution 51--Darwin's Restaurant

Welcome to the  51st Carnival of Evolution, henceforth known as Darwin’s Restaurant. You may have noticed that the motto of my blog is ‘Science—there’s something for everyone.’ Well, that’s also true of evolution. Whether your passion is transitional fossils or reducible complexity, you’ll find something tasty on this menu.


How should we define life on other planets so we’ll know it when we see it? Creationists objections notwithstanding, we should look for signs of evolution, as Faye Flam explains at Planet of the Apes.

Hypothesis-free science? Anne Buchanan defines the problem of doing science with messy biological data at The Mermaid’s Tale

Bradly Alicea explains degeneracy at Synthetic Daisies. It’s not as much fun as it sounds.

A history of the phylogenetic tree is presented by David Morrison at The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks. Don’t miss the diagrams by Ernst Haeckel.

            Ancient life:
Writing at Fins to Feet, Arvind Pillai gives us a tour of the Permian period and what was lost during the ensuing mass extinction. What caused that extinction anyway?

How “god” evolved is explored by Adam Benton, writing at EvoAnth.

In This Week in Evolution, R. Ford Denison reviews two books about ‘Darwinian Agriculture’ and ‘Darwinian medicine’ respectively. 

Gemma Reguera presents a positive spin on the fungi that make Zombie ants at Small Things Considered. It seems that ants do have allies against parasitic fungi… in the form of other parasitic fungi.

            For the Zombie:
Oops! The human genome does not exist! My bad. Ken Weiss sets me straight over at The Mermaid’s Tale

It turns out that our ancestors may not have interbred with Neanderthals. Suzanne Elvidge explains at Genome Engineering.

But your DNA could be used to identify your ancestral geographical origin. Suzanne Elvidge at Genome Engineering again.

Our pelvises limit our gestation length? Maybe not. Holly Dunsworth posts a great explanation at The Mermaid’s Tale.

What makes our brains different from those of the other apes? Genes, complexity and methylation, as explained at The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

            For the PETA hater:
How does the local adaptation of guppies affect their ecosystems? Ronald Bassar offers an explanation at Eco-Evo Evo-Eco (or is the other way around?). 

Finch beaks are not just for cracking seeds. Mostly Open Ocean explains how the evolution of beak size in Darwin’s finches may also depend on climate.

Meet the largest cat in the world at Why Evolution   is True.

Do chimpanzees have language? That seems to be the thrust of The Song of the Ape written by Andrew Halloran and reviewed at Variation Selection Inheritance.

For Dieters:
Elio writes a review of speciation by symbiosis at Small Things Considered. If you’re not swayed to read about how bacterial symbionts control their hosts’ reproduction, you may want to hear about Ivan Wallin whacking his students.

Steven Quistad, writing at Small Things Considered, discusses the expansion of our endogenous retroviruses. We owe 8% of our genomes to these ancient infections.

Looking for a book that explains the fallacies in Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth? Wayne Talbot has just the thing, as he explains in his plea for you to buy his book The Dawkins Deficiency. He even quotes ‘Professor of Evolutionary Biology’ as well as Christian apologist Dr. Johnson Philip to make his case.

Can non-living things evolve? David Morrison writing at The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks (which is hosting the next Carnival of Evolution) provides a diagram of the evolutionary network of Xerox 8010 “Star” computer.

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The Carnival of Evolution 52 will be hosted at The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks. Submit your own posts here and keep the conversation going.

Thanks, and Bon Appetit!

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