Archive for November, 2011

Lynn Margulis, Controversial Evolutionist Remembered

In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded evolution theorist Lynn Margulis the National Medal of Science Award. Amazingly, in 2008, Margulis was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London.  Margulis, who died on Tuesday in Amherst, Massachusetts, however, was no friend of the Darwinian theory evolution.

At the center of the raging theory of evolution debates, Margulis emerged as a strong critic of Darwin during the late twentieth century. In the words of Margulis, “Darwin’s claim of ‘descent with modification’ as caused by natural selection is a linguistic fallacy”. Continue Reading

The Strongest Single Class of Facts

“[E]mbryology is to me is by far the strongest single class of facts in favor” of my theory of evolution, was the claim of Charles Darwin. The nineteenth century embryological evidence was pivotal for the development of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Just two months before the release of the first edition of The Origin of Species in September 1859, Darwin wrote to Charles Lyell, “Embryology in Chapter VIII is one of my strongest points I think.”

Founded as a field of science by German biologist Karl Ernst von Baer (1792–1876), embryology was just an emerging science in the nineteenth century. As the first to discover the mammalian ovum, Baer is now recognized as the founder of modern embryology. Continue Reading

Ancient Eel Defies Evolution

Charles Darwin proposed a theory that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry in The Origin of Species through a process he coined natural selection. Since its publication in 1859, this theory of evolution has been one of the most hotly contested theories in the history of science. A recent ancient eel discovery is the latest example of why.

In February of 2009, research diver Jiro Sakaue, descending into a dark fringing reef cave in the Pacific Ocean Republic of Palau, discovered a small unusual eel-like fish. The species of the fish has since been named Protaguillae palau. Prot(o) means prototype, first, or original, guilla means eel (a shortened form of Anguilliformes an order of fish) with palau referring to the discovery location. Continue Reading

Unlinking Karabo as a Human Ancestor

In a blaze of excitement in September of this year, a recent fossil discovery in South Africa was headlined one of the missing links in the evolutionary ancestry of humans.

National Public Radio (NPR) ran an article entitled “Examining Ancient Fossils for Clues to Human Origins”. The Wall Street Journal chimed in with “Fossil Trove Sheds Light on a Stage of Evolution”. The Boston Globe speculated with the title “Skeleton could be human relative”; TIME with “Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree”. New Scientist ran the article: South African fossils halfway between ape and human.

To name the fossil, a competition was launched in South Africa. Omphemetse Keepile, a 17-year-old student from St. Mary’s School in Johannesburg. Keepile’s winning entry was selected from more than 15,000 submissions in a naming competition sponsored by Standard Bank and Palaeontological Scientific (PAST) in association with Wits University and the Department of Science and Technology. The winning name was Karabo that means “answer” in Setswana.

Once the excitement started settling, questions started circling. Does the fossil evidence really point to Karabo as an ancestor to humans? Continue Reading

Book Description

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.