Posts Tagged ‘fossil record’
In The Origin of Species the giraffe was used as one of Charles Darwin’s most lasting examples of evolution. Darwin argued, that “by this process long-continued [natural selection] it seems to me almost certain that an ordinary hoofed quadruped [horse-like animals] might be converted into a giraffe.”
“The giraffe’, Darwin continued, “by its lofty stature, much elongated neck, fore-legs, head and tongue, has its whole frame beautifully adapted [evolved] for browsing on the higher branches of trees.”
A new study published in the October 26 edition of Science, led by paleontologists Darla Zelenitsky from the University of Calgary, describe the first the first dinosaur named Ornithomimus found with evidence of feathers preserved in a juvenile and two adult skeletons in North America that had been discovered in 1995, 2008, and 2009. The published study was entitled “Feathered Non-Avian Dinosaurs from North America Provide Insight into Wing Origins”.
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
In last week’s edition of Biology Letters, lead investigator Walter Joyce from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Tübingen in Germany gave an updated on nine fossilized pairs of turtles mating discovered 30 years ago.
The update received widespread media attention during the week. ABC News, BBC News, National Geographic, New York Daily News, MSNBC, FOX News featured the story along with the standard evolution barons, the journals of Nature and Science. Continue Reading
This week Andrew J. Wendruff and Mark V. H. Wilsonof the University of Alberta made a new contribution to the evolution of the coelacanth saga in the paper “A fork-tailed coelacanth, Rebellatrix divaricerca” published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Since the discovery in England by Louis Agassiz in 1839, the coelacanth has played a pivotal role in the history of evolution.
For Agassiz, the coelacanth fossil record pointed to “a correspondence between the succession of Fishes [evolution of fishes] in geological times”. Reflecting on Agassiz findings, Charles Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species: “this doctrine of Agassiz accords well with the theory of natural selection.” Continue Reading
Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species envisioned evolution to act “very slowly, only over long periods of time…. natural selection acts slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations”.
With these “slight, successive” changes, an endless cycle of species developing from a previous species was the foundation of Darwin’s theory. To illustrate this concept Darwin drew his infamous “I Think” Tree of Life. For Darwin, “natural selection… can produce no great or sudden modifications.” Continue Reading
Eugenie Scott, anthropologist and director of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California and recognized as one of the nation’s leading defender of evolution in public education, advocates a model of evolution marketing that uses and avoids specific terms.
One term to use is “accept” and one word to avoid is “believe”. Continue reading
In the sedimentary Golden Gate Highlands National Park rocks of South Africa in 1976 during road construction uncovered a paleontologist’s goldmine−a dinosaur nesting site.
The discovery eventually launched an international exploration the area the South African hills that started in 2006. This week, the results of the explorations were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Robert Reisz of the University of Toronto was the lead author. Continue Reading
A “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils, rediscovered in a “gloomy corner” of the British Geological Survey (BGS) building where it lay unnoticed for more than 150 years, was one of this week’s media highlights. The story was covered by CBS, FOX, ABC, BBC, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press, and the Wall Street Journal.
In April 2011, British palaeontologist Howard Falcon-Lang at Royal Holloway, University of London, walking through the GBS building of earth sciences spotted an old wooden cabinet hidden in a forgotten corner and “pulled open the door without breaking it, and found a series of drawers containing hundreds of rock samples.”
Normal enough stuff, until he took one out. Continue Reading
“The origin of birds is a contentious and central topic within evolutionary biology” in the WIKIPEDIA opening line of the article entitled The Origin of Birds gives insight to the current state of the dinosaur-to-bird evolutionary debate.
Famous British evolutionist Richard Dawkins in Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science on the supporting side simply declares “Feathers are modified reptilian scales.” Continue reading