Were cave symbols early writing attempts?

Maybe, 10,000–40,000 years ago. From CBC News: Deep inside the Oxocelhaya cave in southern France, Canadian anthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger points at a small red marking barely noticeable on a rock wall. It looks like someone deliberately drew an X using two inverted V’s. … While cave paintings have long been cited as early evidence […]

Uganda chimps number three times estimate

From ScienceDaily: Chimpanzees found to survive in degraded and human-dominated habitats (Well, given that—according to the BBC—), they have entered the Stone Age … No, but seriously, wouldn’t even reasonable people expect chimps to be at least as smart as urban raccoons? A chimpanzee population in Uganda has been found to be three times larger […]

Dr. Hawking, relax, this is the auto-eject model

From New Scientist: Stephen Hawking says he has a way to escape from a black hole What you may not know is that physicists have been arguing for 40 years about what happens to the information about the physical state of those objects once they fall in. Quantum mechanics says that this information cannot be […]

Dr. Hawking, your black hole is ready now

From the Independent: Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking Black holes in fact aren’t as “black” as people thought and could be a way of getting through to an alternative universe. “The existence of alternative histories with black holes suggests this might be possible,” Hawking said, according to a report […]

Epigenetics: The carnies have caught up

Unfortunately. Had to happen though. While I (O’Leary for News) was preparing a post on the significance of evolution via epigenetics—changes within parents’ genes in their own lifetime are passed on to offspring— this ScienceBlogs item whistled past the desk and crashed into the Later pile. Well, later is now: For those not familiar with […]

Some Things are Really Simple

Here is an example: Barry to Popperian: Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so. Popperian responds: Note how Barry is making my point for me. I wrote: From time to time, […]

Note from a reader on free macroevolution excerpt

Re the excerpt from Evolution: Making sense of life by science writer Carl Zimmer and evolutionary biologist Doug Emlen (from 2012, hardcover valued at $80): In response to the offer noted here, the reader kindly writes to say, The free download is only the first part of the chapter, not the whole thing. Most of […]

DK, Euthyphro and God as the claimed ultimate case of “might makes right”

Sometimes UD’s comment exchanges are highly informative. In this case, in a Quote of the Day thread: DK, 15: >> [To WJM] [WJM to Seversky, 14:] If I can one minute decide for myself that a moral code is binding on me, and decide for myself the next minute that it is not, exactly how […]

Free chapter on macroevolution from $80 2012 book

From Evolution: Making sense of life by science writer Carl Zimmer and evolutionary biologist Doug Emlen: Science writer Carl Zimmer and evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen have teamed up to write a textbook intended for biology majors that will inspire students while delivering a solid foundation in evolutionary biology. As .pdf, courtesy the Darwin in the […]

Pushback against accepting non-evidence-based science?

At Not Even Wrong, Columbia mathematician Peter Woit notes, Online media stories with skepticism about the multiverse continue to appear. The latest one is by Shannon Hall at Nautilus, with the title Is it Time to Embrace Unverified Theories? (I think it’s a general rule that the answer to all questions in titles is No). […]

Remember when red wine was heart healthy?

From CBS News: HARTFORD, Conn. – A University of Connecticut researcher known for his work on the benefits of red wine to heart health falsified his data in more than 100 instances, and nearly a dozen scientific journals are being warned of the potential problems after publishing his studies in recent years, officials said Wednesday. […]

Arguing for separate but same eel species

Because Darwin. From Science Nordic: Both groups breed in the same area in the Caribbean, the Sargasso Sea, but typically you would expect a long-term physical separation of the two, to allow them to develop in different directions. This makes them a great mystery of evolution. Now scientists have solved this puzzle. It turns out […]

Violence is Not a Bug of Materialist Metaphysics; It is a Feature

I have already featured the following from Seversky as our quote of the day: I do not hold that there are no binding moral principles. I say we are entitled to decide for ourselves which moral codes should bind us. This does not mean that abominations like the Nazis or Stalinist Russia or Pol Pot’s […]

Epigenetics: Lamarck, the evolution desk is yours again, if you like

At Evolution News & Views: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room! To recap, Darwinism entails vertical transfer of genes from a common ancestor to descendants. Horizontal gene transfer means transfer of genes from one organism to another on contact, irrespective of the ancestry of either life form. HGT is a […]

Quote of the Day

Seversky I do not hold that there are no binding moral principles. I say we are entitled to decide for ourselves which moral codes should bind us. This does not mean that abominations like the Nazis or Stalinist Russia or Pol Pot’s Cambodia are inevitable. Those regimes imposed their policies by the most brutal violence […]

How did 20-30 myo salamander in amber get IN there?

From ScienceDaily: More than 20 million years ago, a short struggle took place in what is now the Dominican Republic, resulting in one animal getting its leg bitten off by a predator just before it escaped. But in the confusion, it fell into a gooey resin deposit, to be fossilized and entombed forever in amber. […]

World’s first flower (?) 125-130 mya

Montsechia/Oscard Sanisidro From Indiana University, Indiana University paleobotanist David Dilcher and colleagues in Europe have identified a 125 million- to 130 million-year-old freshwater plant as one of earliest flowering plants on Earth. The finding, reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents a major change in the presumed form of one […]

Can new genes arise from junk DNA?

From Quanta Magazine: Emerging data suggests the seemingly impossible — that mysterious new genes arise from “junk” DNA. Genes, like people, have families — lineages that stretch back through time, all the way to a founding member. That ancestor multiplied and spread, morphing a bit with each new iteration. For most of the last 40 […]

Re-thinking “adaptive radiation”

One of biology’s most important concepts, no? From Pos-Darwinista: A lizard lineage which has evolved over the last 19 million years has helped scientists to re-think one of the most important concepts of modern biology. ‘Adaptive radiation’ is recognised as a pillar of evolutionary science. It describes the development of new biodiversity, and is triggered […]

Without respect for fact, Wikipedia reform hopeless

Further to Wikipedia is a reliable source. – yrs, Easter Bunny (“Controversial,” we repeatedly find, means only that some powerful lobby doesn’t like the information presented. It often has nothing to do with whether the information was accurately or adequately sourced), From ScienceDaily: On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage As society […]

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