Archive for August, 2012
Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species first published in 1859 refers to humans only once: “light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” By the time The Descent of Man was published in 1871, Darwin’s intent was clear: advance the concept that “there is no fundamental difference between man and higher animals.”
In developing a theory of human origins, however, amazingly Darwin addresses the problem of the human fossil record evidence only once in The Descent of Man –
Charles Darwin had first eluded to the Galapagos finches in the second edition of the Journal of Researches, published in 1845, more than 20 years before the publication of The Origin of Species: “Seeing this gradation and diversity in one small, intimately related group of birds [finches], one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends [different species].”
Last week, the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering at the University of California in Santa Cruz (UCSC), California, announced last week that “scientists have sequenced the genome of one of the iconic Galapagos finches first described by Charles Darwin.” Continue Reading
Embryology played a pivotal role in the development of Charles Darwin’s nineteenth century theory of evolution. In a letter to Asa Gray in September 1860, Darwin argued that “embryology is to me by far the strongest single class of facts in favor” of the theory. Embryology was advanced as preeminent evidence to support his theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
“Thus, as it seems to me,” Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species, “the leading facts in embryology… are second to none in importance.” Darwin’s declaration launched a 150 year long fishy fiction saga. Continue Reading
In August, the journal Nature published an article entitled “a complete insect from the Late Devonian Period” by an international research team from Europe and the United States lead by Romain Garrouste of the Muséum National d’Histoire.
The report centers on a 8 millimeter insect discovered in Strud, Belgium that was highlighted in the media as “Belgian bug is world’s oldest insect”, “humble bug plugs gap in fossil record”, “insect fossil from Devonian may shed light on birth of insect flight”, “amazing fossil discovery shows how insects got their wings” even though the fossil was wingless. Continue Reading