Tag Archives: Sharks

Genome Size and Complexity

the groups in this figure are arranged along made-up "scala naturae" to emphasize the lack of relationship between genome size and intuitive notions of organismal complexity -- please do not construe this figure as an endorsement of a progressionist view of evolution!).

(Note: the groups in this figure are arranged along made-up “scala naturae” to emphasize the lack of relationship between genome size and intuitive notions of organismal complexity — please do not construe this figure as an endorsement of a progressionist view of evolution!).

The chart above and note are from genomesize.com

As the note says, the bars in the chart indicate ranges of genome size. The measurements are given as a C-value, which here is a measure of weight in picograms. As we can see, genome size and complexity do not go hand in hand. Salamanders, flatworms, and algae are just a few of the groups which have members with genomes sizes larger than that of the mammals. Et tu, Chondrichthyes? Members of the protozoa have the largest. Isn’t it bad enough that humans have to deal with penis envy, now this? If there is a creator, he has an “inordinate fondness” for amoebae. All that sexy amoebic swaying and oozing is what did it. It’s a damn popularity contest. The swimsuit contest lost us the most points; the amoeba slipped out of its top, showed some membrane, and won the day.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Biology, Intelligent Design

Robotic Fish

These robotic fish can organize themselves into a school. This type of research touches on the study of emergent behavior and self-organization. Ants, for example, don’t consciously decide how they will perform their work. Each individual ant has basic programmed behaviors. But when ants interact as a group, behaviors emerge that aren’t inherent in the individual ants. Only as a groups do they truly shine. As a society, ants are more than the sum of their parts. A great book on the subject of self-organization is Artificial Life by Steven Levy

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Charles Darwin Accused Of Theft

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.

www.TheDarwinReport.com

10 Comments

Filed under darwin

Darwin Day World Wide Celebration 2008

February 12th is Charles Darwin’s birthday (Feb 12, 1809 – April 19, 1888). And people world wide are celebrating his life and remembering his achievements. Unfortunately the average person seems to know very little about Darwin and his work. Creationists systematically slander the man without actually having read any of his books. And public school teachers are forced to expose their students to dry factoids and poorly written textbooks. But there is much more to the fascinating history of evolutionary biology and its founder. Countless resources are available online for those who have an interest in learning more about Charles Darwin the man, the explorer, the naturalist, and, of course, the scientist. Here are just a few:

The Darwin Day Page

About Darwin: Dedicated To The Life And Times Of Charles Darwin

London Natural History Museum: Charles Darwin, the Young Explorer

University Of California Museum Of Paleontology

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

Talk Origins: Exploring the Creation Evolution Controversy

Darwin Day: Stony Brook University 2008

Darwin Day at Cal UCMP

University Of Wisconsin-Whitewater: Darwin Day Lecture

Check the web and see if a university near you is hosting an event.

HAPPY DARWIN DAY TO YOU ALL!

www.TheDarwinReport.com

2 Comments

Filed under darwin

Happy New Year With The Natural World

After a night of partying (or not partying), let’s begin 2008 by appreciating a small corner of our beautiful planet Earth. The Galapagos Islands were where Darwin stopped to smell the ‘roses’, so they come highly recommended. Enjoy!

www.TheDarwinReport.com

2 Comments

Filed under Biology

What In The Name Of Biology Is It?

Mystery Creature

First, take a good look at the creature in the above picture. What do you think it is? We’ll give you a clue. It’s the larval stage of an aquatic vertebrate. On first appearances it does kind of look like a snail; it has eyes on stalks. But the eyes seem a bit too massive for those flimsy stalks to hold up. And the body isn’t gastropod-like at all. Our wacky imaginations tell us that it’s a type of snake which has had its eyes violently yanked out. That would be wrong too though.

But before we reveal the creature’s identity we want to explain our reason for mentioning it in the first place. According to good old fashion creationism and Intelligent Design creationism, a creature, like the one above, is designed by a designer. Thus it is well suited to its environment. Perfectly suited. But we’d argue that this creature isn’t designed at all, and it’s not perfectly adapted. We’d say that an insufficient field of vision is the very reason for its eyes being on stalks.

Now click here to see the adult stage of the mystery creature.

It’s called a Dragonfish, and it’s from the genus Idiacanthus. According to Australian Museum Online

The Black Dragonfishes (Family Idiacanthidae) are long, slender fishes which live in mesopelagic to bathypelagic waters down to depths of about 2000 m.

Like many deepsea fishes, the Black Dragonfish can produce its own light. This species has tiny photophores scattered over its body and two rows of larger photophores along the side of the body. The chin barbel of the female has a a slender luminous tip. This may be used to attract prey.

Larval Black Dragonfishes are most unusual. They are long, slender, transparent fishes that have their eyes at the ends of long stalks which can be up to half the length of the body.

The Family Idiacanthidae contains three species.

Nature does find a way. The long stalks provide a better field of vision for larval Dragonfish, enabling them to see more food. If Dragonfish were designed, the designer made a poor design choice and then covered it up with another equally poor design choice. We’ll stick with evolution, which allows species to adapt, but not perfectly. Perfection is for fools and gods.

7 Comments

Filed under Biology