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Posts tagged evolution

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awkwardsituationist:

the waitomo caves of new zealand’s northern island, formed two million years ago from the surrounding limestone bedrock, are home to an endemic species of bioluminescent fungus gnat (arachnocampa luminosa, or glow worm fly) who in their larval stage produce silk threads from which to hang and, using a blue light emitted from a modified excretory organ in their tails, lure in prey who then become ensnared in sticky droplets of mucus.

photos from spellbound waitomo tours, forevergone, blue polaris, and martin rietze. (more cave photos) (more bioluminescence photos)

(via weloverhabarber)

Filed under life biology ecology evolution

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 What Evolution Is Not 

The term “evolution” is commonly misused, often accidentally but sometimes with purpose, so it is also necessary to clarify what evolution is not.
Most importantly, evolution does not progress toward an ultimate or proximate goal (Gould 1989). Evolution is not “going somewhere”; it just describes changes in inherited traits over time. Occasionally, and perhaps inevitably, this change results in increases in biological complexity, but to interpret this as “progress” is to misunderstand the mechanism. For instance, that single-celled organisms eventually gave rise to multicellular organisms might appear to exemplify directed movement towards so-called “higher” life-forms. But as Gould (1996) and others point out, there is a left-hand wall to complexity; by definition, the simplest possible organism can only become more complex or stay the same. In this sense, evolution is a “drunkards walk” (Figure 1), wherein certain lineages inevitably attain unexplored novelty in form and function. By the same token, terms like “reverse evolution” and “devolution” are nonsensical; similar traits and gene sequences may recur at different moments in biological history, but this is still just evolution: change over time.

The term “evolution” is commonly misused, often accidentally but sometimes with purpose, so it is also necessary to clarify what evolution is not.

Most importantly, evolution does not progress toward an ultimate or proximate goal (Gould 1989). Evolution is not “going somewhere”; it just describes changes in inherited traits over time. Occasionally, and perhaps inevitably, this change results in increases in biological complexity, but to interpret this as “progress” is to misunderstand the mechanism. For instance, that single-celled organisms eventually gave rise to multicellular organisms might appear to exemplify directed movement towards so-called “higher” life-forms. But as Gould (1996) and others point out, there is a left-hand wall to complexity; by definition, the simplest possible organism can only become more complex or stay the same. In this sense, evolution is a “drunkards walk” (Figure 1), wherein certain lineages inevitably attain unexplored novelty in form and function. By the same token, terms like “reverse evolution” and “devolution” are nonsensical; similar traits and gene sequences may recur at different moments in biological history, but this is still just evolution: change over time.

Filed under evolution

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When did scientists begin classifying living things?
Before the advent of modern, genetically based evolutionary studies, Europeanand American biology consisted primarily of taxonomy or classification of organisms into different categories based on their physical characteristics and presumed natural relationship.  The leading naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries spent their lives identifying and naming newly discovered plants and animals.  However, few of them asked what accounted for the patterns of similarities and differences between the organisms.  This basically nonspeculative approach is not surprising since most naturalists two centuries ago held the view that plants and animals (including humans) had been created in their present form and that they have remained unchanged.  As a result, it made no sense to ask how organisms have evolved through time.  Similarly, it was inconceivable that two animals or plants may have had a common ancestor or that extinct species may have been ancestors of modern ones.

When did scientists begin classifying living things?

Before the advent of modern, genetically based evolutionary studies, Europeanand American biology consisted primarily of taxonomy or classification of organisms into different categories based on their physical characteristics and presumed natural relationship.  The leading naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries spent their lives identifying and naming newly discovered plants and animals.  However, few of them asked what accounted for the patterns of similarities and differences between the organisms.  This basically nonspeculative approach is not surprising since most naturalists two centuries ago held the view that plants and animals (including humans) had been created in their present form and that they have remained unchanged.  As a result, it made no sense to ask how organisms have evolved through time.  Similarly, it was inconceivable that two animals or plants may have had a common ancestor or that extinct species may have been ancestors of modern ones.

Filed under life evolution darwin taxonomy natural selection

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Giant Virus Resurrected from Permafrost After 30,000 Years 


A mysterious giant virus buried for 30,000 years in Siberian permafrost has been resurrected.
The virus only infects single-celled organisms and doesn’t closely resemble any known pathogens that harm humans.
Even so, the new discovery raises the possibility that as the climate warms and exploration expands in long-untouched regions of Siberia, humans could release ancient or eradicated viruses. These could include Neanderthal viruses or even smallpox that have lain dormant in the ice for thousands of years.
In recent years, Claverie and his colleagues have discovered a host of giant viruses, which are as big as bacteria but lack characteristic cellular machinery and metabolism of those microorganisms. At least one family of these viruses likely evolved from single-celled parasites after losing essential genes, although the origins of other giant viruses remain a mystery, Claverie said. [Tiny Grandeur: Stunning Images of the Very Small]
The findings raise the possibility that other long-dormant or eradicated viruses could be resurrected from the Arctic. As the climate warms and sea ice and permafrost melt, oil and mining companies are drilling many formerly off-limit areas in Russia, raising the possibility that ancient human viruses could be released.
For instance, Neanderthals and humans both lived in Siberia as recently as 28,000 years ago, and some of the diseases that plagued both species may still be around.
"If viable virions are still there, this is a good recipe for disaster," Claverie said. "Virions" is the term used for the virus particles when they are in their inert or dormant form.

Doom…despair…agony on end…deep, dark depression…finally, setting in…

A mysterious giant virus buried for 30,000 years in Siberian permafrost has been resurrected.

The virus only infects single-celled organisms and doesn’t closely resemble any known pathogens that harm humans.

Even so, the new discovery raises the possibility that as the climate warms and exploration expands in long-untouched regions of Siberia, humans could release ancient or eradicated viruses. These could include Neanderthal viruses or even smallpox that have lain dormant in the ice for thousands of years.

In recent years, Claverie and his colleagues have discovered a host of giant viruses, which are as big as bacteria but lack characteristic cellular machinery and metabolism of those microorganisms. At least one family of these viruses likely evolved from single-celled parasites after losing essential genes, although the origins of other giant viruses remain a mystery, Claverie said. [Tiny Grandeur: Stunning Images of the Very Small]

The findings raise the possibility that other long-dormant or eradicated viruses could be resurrected from the Arctic. As the climate warms and sea ice and permafrost melt, oil and mining companies are drilling many formerly off-limit areas in Russia, raising the possibility that ancient human viruses could be released.

For instance, Neanderthals and humans both lived in Siberia as recently as 28,000 years ago, and some of the diseases that plagued both species may still be around.

"If viable virions are still there, this is a good recipe for disaster," Claverie said. "Virions" is the term used for the virus particles when they are in their inert or dormant form.

Doom…despair…agony on end…deep, dark depression…finally, setting in…

Filed under evolution past climate change virus pathogen dormant

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natskep:

#god #reality #reasoning #allah #atheism #atheist #antitheism #antitheist #logic #reasoning #commonsense #fairytale #yahweh #richarddawkins #evolution #theory #creationism #theism #christianity #judaism #islam #hypothesis #imaginary #brainwash #faith #believe #belief #universe #bigbang #deism

natskep:

#god #reality #reasoning #allah #atheism #atheist #antitheism #antitheist #logic #reasoning #commonsense #fairytale #yahweh #richarddawkins #evolution #theory #creationism #theism #christianity #judaism #islam #hypothesis #imaginary #brainwash #faith #believe #belief #universe #bigbang #deism

Filed under religion evolution

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Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained
The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to new research, iron in the dinosaur’s body preserved the tissue before it could decay.
The find was also controversial, because scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. In most cases, microbes feast on a dead animal’s soft tissue, destroying it within weeks. The tissue must be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued.
Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T. rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue was collagen, they reported in the journal Science, and it shared similarities with bird collagen — which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex.
Dinosaurs’ iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They’re also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone.

Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained

The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to new research, iron in the dinosaur’s body preserved the tissue before it could decay.

The find was also controversial, because scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. In most cases, microbes feast on a dead animal’s soft tissue, destroying it within weeks. The tissue must be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued.

Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T. rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue was collagen, they reported in the journal Science, and it shared similarities with bird collagen — which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex.

Dinosaurs’ iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They’re also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone.

Filed under evolution history fossil paleontology science

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Christen Zombies: Proof That We Are Apes
Sometimes girls just want to have fun. And sometimes, they just want to play football. Twelve-year-old Maddy Blythe is one such girl. The middle-schooler was her team’s first-string defensive tackle, with four or five sacks to her credit, when Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, Georgia kicked her off the team.
"Just for being a girl," Blythe said in an interview with wsbtv.com.
When Maddy and her mother, former cop Cassie Blythe, pressed for further explanation, they said they were told the reasons inlcuded the fact that the boys might have “lustful thoughts,” and that they would likely use “rough language” in the locker room. Other explanations included, “Middle school girls should play middle school sports.” Finally, the head of the school told the Blythes that prayer had informed his decision.

Christen Zombies: Proof That We Are Apes

Sometimes girls just want to have fun. And sometimes, they just want to play football. Twelve-year-old Maddy Blythe is one such girl. The middle-schooler was her team’s first-string defensive tackle, with four or five sacks to her credit, when Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, Georgia kicked her off the team.

"Just for being a girl," Blythe said in an interview with wsbtv.com.

When Maddy and her mother, former cop Cassie Blythe, pressed for further explanation, they said they were told the reasons inlcuded the fact that the boys might have “lustful thoughts,” and that they would likely use “rough language” in the locker room. Other explanations included, “Middle school girls should play middle school sports.” Finally, the head of the school told the Blythes that prayer had informed his decision.

Filed under evolution women religion apes christinsanity

29,371 notes

New Adventures in DNA the Military Christian Way 
Creationist wizard (Todd Akin) and theologian raconteur (David Barton), assisted by their supernatural beans genetically manufactured a creature made from the DNA of human beings and tarantula spiders. The resulting adroit creature is proof of the persistence of god crap, as its intelligent design is irrefutably divine.
God has blessed the US Military….do si do, one step two, it malfunctions and falls on you.

New Adventures in DNA the Military Christian Way

Creationist wizard (Todd Akin) and theologian raconteur (David Barton), assisted by their supernatural beans genetically manufactured a creature made from the DNA of human beings and tarantula spiders. The resulting adroit creature is proof of the persistence of god crap, as its intelligent design is irrefutably divine.

God has blessed the US Military….do si do, one step two, it malfunctions and falls on you.

(Source: ForGIFs.com, via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

Filed under evolution dna naked ape desmond morris religion

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Life On Earth


"The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree… As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications."


Charles Darwin, 1859

Filed under earth life species biodiversity evolution darwin

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I’ve done material about evolution before, and in Australia and in Britain, it barely raises an eyebrow, it’s just worth a chuckle. But in America, it’s quite contentious to do comedy about evolution, you know, it gets a gasp. It’s the equivalent of doing material about fisting anywhere else. It’s quite confronting for them.

(via khila-amin)

Filed under tim minchin evolution religion creationism

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War Of The Worlds: When Science, Politics Collide

Roger Cone is a microbiologist, not a politician. He struggles with a basic truth: For all the scientific acceptance of evolution, many Americans simply don’t believe it is factually accurate.

And when Tennessee lawmakers passed a measure allowing teachers to question accepted theories on evolution and climate change in the classroom, Cone acted. He and two other scientists wrote an op-ed in The Tennessean last month opposing the bill, which he says “started out as a backdoor attempt to get creationism, or ‘intelligent design,’ taught in the schools.” He fears it will be another black eye for Tennessee — a throwback to the 1925 Scopes “monkey trial,” when teacher John T. Scopes was put on trial for lecturing on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

"There are certain issues that have become political, such as climate change and the extinction crisis, in which there’s a very clear distinction between what we know scientifically and the claims some politicians make," he says.

The Tennessee controversy is only the latest example of scientists leaving their labs and universities, and clashing with politicians.

Darwin took us forward to a hilltop, from where we could look back and see the way from which we came.”

Filed under evolution scopes monkey tennessee bible humper religion creationist shool children myth faith based science

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Tennessee, The Asshole of the Known Universe
‘Don’t Say Gay’ One Step Closer in Tennessee
House lawmakers this week advanced the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, moving it forward from a House Education committee on a 8-7 vote.
Critics have said the legislation, even in its modified form, will have a chilling effect on how teachers deal with anti-LGBT bullying, that it is entirely unnecessary given that Tennessee already has a strict no sex education before highschool policy, and that it is simply about pushing a conservative religious agenda.
Tennessee Evolution Bill Becomes Law After Governor Bill Haslam Declines To Act 
A Tennessee bill meant to protect teachers who allow students to question and criticize “controversial” subjects such as evolution and climate change became law on Tuesday after Gov. Bill Haslam (R) declined to act.
The state legislature had sent the bill to Haslam earlier this month. He had until Tuesday to veto it, sign it or allow it to pass without his signature.
Critics of the legislation have dubbed it the “Monkey Bill” and charge that it is anti-science, backdoor approval of the teaching of religion in schools that reminds of the state’s history with the Scopes Trial.
Tennessee is still leading the way in backward, bigoted and homophobic agendas and Republican inbred bible humping honkies for a whiter corporate America. Afghanistan might be a better place to live.
GOP is SHIT.

Tennessee, The Asshole of the Known Universe

‘Don’t Say Gay’ One Step Closer in Tennessee

House lawmakers this week advanced the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, moving it forward from a House Education committee on a 8-7 vote.

Critics have said the legislation, even in its modified form, will have a chilling effect on how teachers deal with anti-LGBT bullying, that it is entirely unnecessary given that Tennessee already has a strict no sex education before highschool policy, and that it is simply about pushing a conservative religious agenda.

Tennessee Evolution Bill Becomes Law After Governor Bill Haslam Declines To Act

A Tennessee bill meant to protect teachers who allow students to question and criticize “controversial” subjects such as evolution and climate change became law on Tuesday after Gov. Bill Haslam (R) declined to act.

The state legislature had sent the bill to Haslam earlier this month. He had until Tuesday to veto it, sign it or allow it to pass without his signature.

Critics of the legislation have dubbed it the “Monkey Bill” and charge that it is anti-science, backdoor approval of the teaching of religion in schools that reminds of the state’s history with the Scopes Trial.

Tennessee is still leading the way in backward, bigoted and homophobic agendas and Republican inbred bible humping honkies for a whiter corporate America. Afghanistan might be a better place to live.

GOP is SHIT.

Filed under tennesse gop idiots race evolution science creationism