Posts tagged with ‘evolution

Afternoon science: The difference between evolution and natural selection

A lot of people use the terms “evolution” and “natural selection” interchangeably, but before you make that mistake again, watch this video from Minute Earth.

Forty eight percent of Republicans don’t believe in evolution

A new Pew Research study finds that 48 percent of Republicans continue to believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” while 27 percent of Democrats continue to deny that species change and adapt.

via http://gawker.com/a-new-pew-research-study-finds-that-48-percent-of-repub-1492245345

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/publics-views-on-human-evolution/

One-third of adults are complete fucking morons.  Happy fucking new year.

What happened to the hominid species that was way smarter than humans?

Over the past several decades, the number of hominid species early Homo sapiens lives alongside has exploded from Neanderthals plus a few pockets of dying, small stupid apelike hominids to a whole range of humanoids that might resemble something out of Tolkien— big ones, small ones, slight ones, hairy footed ones etc. But most of these species were either about our intelligence level to somewhat less. Yay, we’re the smart ones, we survived. But a new find in South Africa brings to light a new hominid species— one that probably had an average IQ of 150, which is considered genius level for us lowly Homo sapiens. Average. That means that the top half of the population would have made Einstein look like kind of a window-licking moron. So we’re not the smartest, just the most adaptable. But what happened to these super smarty pants hominids?

Read more here

Hard-carved javelin spear tips pre-date the origins of humans by 80,000. Probably aliens.

image

The oldest known stone-tipped projectiles have been found in Ethiopia, clocking in at around 280,000 years old. That’s about 88,000 years older than Homo sapiens. We know that we were not the only intelligent, tool building hominids— there were ones that came before us and existed at the same time as us, and this new find confirms that the rise of abstract intelligence was a long, slow process that occurred through many different hominid species over time. We weren’t the first, and we probably won’t be the last either.

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Afternoon animation: “Sticky”

A short animated documentary telling the astonishing story of the stick insects from Lord Howe Island and the scientists who brought them back from the brink of extinction. A love song to evolution, uniqueness, life and the little creatures underfoot. 

Life on Mars could have developed more quickly than here on Earth

Despite some people’s ideas that Earth is the little blue gem from which all life sprouts, new evidence suggests that not only may have Mars developed life much quicker and sooner than Earth, but the seeds of life on our planet may have come from the red planet before it was “the red planet”.

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How throwing became humanity’s best evolutionary weapon

As human beings, it seems like we’re outgunned in terms of evolutionary advantages. Okay, so we’ve got big brains that allow us to think abstractly, plan ahead, pass on knowledge and culture, and paired with deft hands, we can make powerful tools. But we don’t have claws or body armor or ferocious teeth or venom. We can’t run all that fast and we can’t jump very high. But what we do do very, very well… better than anything else, is throw stuff. 

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Did Homo sapiens destroy all the other human races or did we just interbreed them out of existence? A little of both.

Ever since Neanderthals were discovered to have been a separate human race, anthropologists have been asking where they went. Now we know there were a couple other ancient non-Homo sapien human species, and they’re gone as well. So what the hell happened? Did Homo sapiens come out of Africa fighting or did modern Homo sapiens come about as the product of interbreeding between us and other hominid species? Turns out, it was a little of both.

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Why Evolution is True and Why Many People Still Don’t Believe It

Jerry Coyne, professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, reviews the evidence for evolutionary theory and why Americans (in particular) are so resistant to accepting evolution as fact.

Highly recommended watch, even if you consider yourself well-versed on the topic.  The pace is brisk and he’s not boring at all, and I found myself learning a new thing or two. The final analysis won’t surprise many of you, but he takes great care in getting there.

In general, an excellent review for the 12% (an embarrassing figure) of Americans that accept evolution as fact, and time well spent for the rest having their convictions challenged.

Simulated soft bodied robots provide one of the simplest visual explanations of evolution ever

Here we evolve the bodies of soft robots made of multiple materials (muscle, bone, & support tissue) to move quickly. Evolution produces a diverse array of fun, wacky, interesting, but ultimately functional soft robots.

Jawbone found in 1957 could be the first known remains of a Neanderthal/human hybrid

Scientists now know that mating and offspring did occur between humans in Neanderthals, but it looks like we now have tangible proof. Actually, we’ve had the proof in our possession since 1957, but we didn’t have the techniques and the genetic knowledge for someone to test the jawbone until now. And it looks like this old jawbone likely did come from a Neanderthal/human hybrid.

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The Guillemot is a seabird that lays its eggs on a bare rock ledge on a cliff face. When an egg is accidentally dislodged, its shape causes it to spin in a tight circle, which prevents it from falling off the ledge into the sea. (Springwatch - BBC)

The Guillemot is a seabird that lays its eggs on a bare rock ledge on a cliff face. When an egg is accidentally dislodged, its shape causes it to spin in a tight circle, which prevents it from falling off the ledge into the sea. (Springwatch - BBC)

Fossilized arthropod reveals an ancient horror of feeding limbs and mouth parts

The problem with trying to study the evolution of arthropods is that there isn’t much to leave behind. The best thing scientists could find were bits of carapace, which doesn’t give you much idea of how a creature works. Above however is the fossilized imprint of a 520 million year old arthropod that shows a head and a long string of mouth part feeding tubes, that the thing would use to rake hapless victims into its gut.

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