6 posts tagged with evolution by filthy light thief.
Displaying 1 through 6 of 6.
Vampirism — piercing or cutting animal skin to suck or lap up blood — is known throughout the animal kingdom. Mosquitoes come to mind, plus ticks, mites, vampire bats, and the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands. But … vampire moths? Wait, let's take a step back, did you say the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands? Yes. They're a subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch that outnumber every other finch species on all of the islands combined. While they don't seem to bother the adult Boobies whose blood they drink, they may be fatal to chicks* and even crack open eggs. Right, what of those vampire moths? [more inside]
The fossil remains of Helicoprion are limited to some crushed cartilage and its teeth, which aren't unusual for fossil remains of sharks and shark-like fish. But those teeth are unique: formed in a spiral saw-type formation, known as a spiral dentition or toothwhorl, with the older teeth pushed into the center of the spiral by the newer teeth. Since a whorl was first discovered in 1899, there have been a number of theories about how the teeth were used, leading to numerous creative but largely untested reconstructions, until 2013, when a new CT scan enabled the researchers to make a new, improved reconstruction of Helicoprion. That scientific article is not so visually exciting, so let's enjoy Ray Troll's illustrations, and Mary Parrish's updated illustration. [more inside]
A team of researchers, including University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte and Swarthmore College Associate Professor of Statistics Steve C. Wang, cataloging 853 skeletal characteristics in 150 dinosaurs and analyzing the rate at which these characters change, and they found that "there was no grand jump between nonbirds and birds in morphospace." In other words, birds didn't suddenly come into existence, but evolved, bit by bit, or characteristic by characteristic. But when birds were finally a thing, they went crazy. "Once it came together fully, it unlocked great evolutionary potential that allowed birds to evolve at a super-charged rate."
The 2014 Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, or BAHFest, is a month away. If you're not sure what is in store, you can watch the entire festival (1 hr 32 min), or jump to the winning presentation: Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game (Q&A), or why babies are so annoying and the competitive advantage crying babies likely gave to warriors from times past. "I don't want to get too much into the technical details, so let's not." [more inside]
Exquisite Beast is a tag-team tumblr, featuring an illustrated evolution that started with this little beastie, drawn by Evan Dahm (Rice Boy comics | Making Places worldbuilding blog). The next evolution was by Yuko Ota (Johnny Wander comic | forthcoming Lucky Penny comic), the other half of this illustrious duo. But their creature does not have a simple linear evolution chart, as seen in this cladogram showing the various fan-made offshoots. Some are linked from the Exquisite Beast posts, but you can find more from the Exquisite Beast tumblr tag.
On Friday, July 22, the Texas Board of Education voted 14-0 to support scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements, rejecting the proposed creationist materials. Instead of including such material, the education board voted to let Education Commissioner Robert Scott work with the publishing company Holt McDougal to find language that is factually correct and fits the standards adopted in 2009. "My goal would be to try to find some common ground," Scott said.