Archive for November, 2012

Charles Darwin Learned Evolution Early, Mostly from Robert Grant

At the age of sixteen, Charles Darwin entered Edinburgh University in the autumn of 1825 to study medicine with his brother Erasmus in Scotland. Edinburgh, at the time, was the leading European medical school of the day. Attendance at Edinburgh fulfilled a long Darwin alumni tradition.

During the two years at Edinburgh, however, Darwin was drawn to the study of nature rather than medicine under the guidance of Professor Robert Edmund Grant (1793 – 1874). Grant was a progressive radical, politically and socially.
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The Origin of Life Cul-de-sac

Life originated in “a warm little pond” was Charles Darwin private answer to the larger challenge of how did life began in a letter to Joseph J. Hooker. How, where and when did the first species get started? A defendable natural process to the origin of life question, however, completely escaped Darwin.

Without a natural process, Darwin was forced to embrace a supernatural process for the origin of life. On this issue, Darwin was forced to reject atheism. In his autobiography, Darwin explains why the “mystery of the beginning” was his reason for becoming an agnostic – Continue Reading

New Bird “Tree of Life”?

Scientists last week have proposed evolutionary relationships among all 9,993 of the world’s known living bird species. In a study published in the prestigious Nature journal, scientists used DNA-sequence data to create a radiating phylogenetic tree — a branching map of proposed evolutionary relationships among species. From the genetic data, rates of global bird speciation across space and time were estimated.

Walter Jetz, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was the leading author of the study entitled “The global diversity of birds in space and time”.

“This is the first dated tree of life for a class of species this size to be put on a global map,” says Walter Jetz, in an interview with science writer Virginia Gewin of Nature News.

Gewin noted, however, that the “endeavor is also controversial, owing to the large number of species for which no sequence data are available.”

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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.

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