During a hectic visit to the California Academy Of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, I took this picture of my sister petting a starfish –excuse me, a sea star. (The Steinhart Aquarium –the aquatic section of the Academy– exhibits a tide pool where animals are available for gentle handling.) Only later in the day did I inform my sister that she had been fondling the sea-star’s anus. She asked my why I hadn’t informed her at the time. I suppose I just assumed everyone knows basic sea-star anatomy –that the anus is dorsally located, at the center of the disc. She wasn’t too perturbed. No harm done. But a good reason not to forget the hand sanitizer. And it does go to show that invertebrates are not given their due.
Just an afterthought, but I think Starfish Anus would be an excellent name for a rock band.
Fish farming has often been touted as the solution to our fishery problems. Proponents say that we can grow our own fish and give wild fish populations a break. It sounds good on paper. But as usual, reality doesn’t match expectations. Fish, even caged ones, need to be fed. Carnivorous fish require fish meal (ground up fish) in their diets. And humans are not overly enthusiastic about herbivorous fish as a food source. Fish markets sell Tilapia, a species which can be grown on a diet of algae, but humans still have a major hankering for Wild Salmon and Sea Bass.
Filed under Biology, Science
It’s unsupported claim time. Roy Davies, an author, has written a book, The Darwin Conspiracy: Origins Of A Scientific Crime, claiming that Charles Darwin stole the work of naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace and presented it as his own. The “theft” supposedly occured when Wallace wrote to Darwin. Conspiracy by snail mail. A UK article explains:
[Davies] crucial evidence, he claims, is in pinpointing the exact dates that letters from Wallace to Darwin explaining his theories arrived at Darwin’s home, proving that the Welsh scientist developed them first.
When Darwin received “the” letter from Wallace, Darwin had already been researching his theories for 20 years. Darwin’s famous sketch from 1937 clearly shows that he understood that evolution was a branching tree and not a straight line. Wallace had extensive experience in the field, but his published work at the time was practically nill. Science requires evidence.
Both men presented their theories to the scientific Linnean Society of London, but Darwin’s manuscript was published the following year, and he has since been universally credited with the theory, while Wallace’s name has largely been forgotten.
Both their papers were presented for them at the Linnean Society. Wallace was in Malaysia at the time and Darwin was cloistered at home. The papers fell flat and no one gave them much notice. The reason was that big claims require even bigger evidence. The papers simply weren’t enough. So, Darwin spent the next year writing his book, On The Origin Of Species. If anything, Wallace’s letter spurred him on to compile his book. Both men independently discovered how evolution works. However, Darwin was the first to explain it properly with mounds and mounds of evidence.
To say that Darwin stole Wallace’s material is pure speculation and contrary to the overall facts. Writers love to create controversy where none exists, because it sells. And dead men can’t defend themselves. No doubt creationists will misuse this new book by Roy Davies for their own sleazy agenda.