Mr. Potato Head and Evolutionary Anomalies
Much effort has been expended in attempts to arrange living organisms in a pattern based on genealogy. However, a tree-like pattern is not as evident as evolutionary theory would predict.
Modern Bird Lung Design Documented in Rapidly Buried Fossil
A fossil bird recovered from Cretaceous lake deposits in China shows preservation of some soft tissues, including a pair of lungs that appear to have functioned in a way similar to those of living birds.
Pterosaurs of the Triassic: An Update
This post complements an article that was written in 2014. Since then, there have been some interesting developments in the area of Triassic pterosaurs that are worth mentioning, the most important being the recent description by Britt et al. (2018) of a Triassic pterosaur from the Nugget Sandstone of Utah.
Is There Biological Evidence of Life's Recent Creation?
During one of my frequent visits to the office of my high school headmaster, his individual tutelage yielded a life lesson that I’ve never forgotten. His exact words were, “You think you’re right!” Of course I thought I was right, wouldn’t anyone who thought they were wrong change their mind and then immediately think they are right? Now that I’m an adult biologist, I still think that I’m right. Inevitably…
A Review of the Nature Documentary “The Riot and the Dance”
Most nature documentaries include some language that refers to an underlying naturalistic understanding of origins. However, the recently released nature documentary “The Riot and the Dance” breaks this common pattern in a refreshing way.
DNA and Design
Imagine walking down the beach and coming across the words “Romeo loves Juliet” written in the sand. Most of us have experienced something like this and would not be surprised, but most people would be surprised to find the entire text of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in sand. Why is this? The obvious reason is that sand is the wrong material for large writing projects. Sand grains…
Archaeopteryx: Bird or Reptile? Or Not?
Archaeopteryx is arguably the most famous fossil ever discovered. It has a mixture of bird-like and reptile-like traits, and was first reported only two years after Charles Darwin published his book, The Origin of Species. Since then, another eleven Archaeopteryx specimens have been recovered from the limestones near Solnhofen, Germany.
Preservation of Dinosaur Soft Tissue: An Update
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This verse from Genesis 3 captures very well the fate of beautifully designed organisms after the entrance of sin into the world. But how long does it take for the organic molecules we are made of to break down after death? In general, the longer the time from death, the larger the amount of decay that should be observed. This is particularly true for soft…
Organisms in Their Niche: Passive Modeling Clay or Problem-Solving Entities?
One person’s cultural background can bias their view about people from other cultures… even before they have ever met. Could people also have a bias about how they think about other creatures? It may even be possible that scientific culture could prejudice the way researchers see creature-environmental relations with the potential to bias whole research programs.
Microbes, Symbiosis, and the Lesson of Interdependence
A very common reaction to the thought of “microbes” is a compelling desire to slather up in hand sanitizer! However, it is seldom realized that the greatest majority of microorganisms are at the very least not harmful, and at the most necessary for human life! Many aspects of microbial interaction with our environment allow it to be so perfect for humans. Some of these aspects include oxygen generation,…
Stability of Organic Molecules: Lessons from Vitamin C
The stability of organic (carbon-based) molecules is an interesting and challenging topic as there are many different types of functional groups, molecular configurations, and molecular collisions to consider. Research on the stability of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and other vitamins demonstrates which factors to consider when it comes to the preservation of carbon-based molecules. Ascorbic acid…
Teeming Creatures of the Sea!
The number of different kinds of living organisms is one measure of biological diversity, or what has become known as “biodiversity.” Our world’s oceans have the highest known biodiversity, second only to the number of species found in the tropical rainforest.
The True Colors of the Ocean
Have you ever snorkeled or scuba dove in a coral reef? If you have, and I asked you to describe the experience in less than five words, I bet your answer would be an explosion of color. Well, maybe you would express it slightly differently, but I am sure that you would include the word color in your description. Coral reefs are one of the most colorful spectacles of nature; electric blues, vivid yellows,…
Annotations from the Literature
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2015, covering topics such as phylogeny of moths, beak variations in species of Galapagos finches and scrub jays, functional synthetic chromosomes, horizontal gene transfer, Jurassic fossil snakes, stasis, trace fossils of swimming tetrapods, and habitat diversity in the fossil record. Published in Origins, v. 64.
Creation, Flood and Biogeography: Part 3
The third part of this series on biogeography examines how the flood might have influenced the present patterns of distributions of various types of living organisms.
Sociobiology and Creation
Picture a ground squirrel who spots a predator and gives an alarm call. The call alerts other squirrels who run for cover, but the call attracts the predator to the one giving the alarm. This unfortunate squirrel may give its life to protect its neighbors. How could this altruistic behavior, assisting other individuals at the expense of the calling squirrel, result from evolution? This seems contrary…
Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design
The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…
The Perfect Wing Stroke
What is the utility of a fourth or a fifth of a wing stroke? Could any insect or bird get by with a wing that is a fraction of its normal size? Could it serve its purpose working at a reduced capacity? These questions are a challenge for those who accept Darwinian gradualism and adaptation. According to the Darwinian evolution theory, biological traits arise by small genetic variations steadily modifying…
Birds and Flight
Recently I flew to London on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite what media hype might lead a Dreamliner passenger to expect, there were no fires on board and the experience wasn’t particularly different from what I’ve experienced on innumerable other flights. From my perspective, the seats were too small, too close together and too hard. That is not to say that there were not some differences,…
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