Posted on August 14, 2015 * Comments

This week on Fossil Friday we have an unusually colorful specimen. Take a look!

 

Posted on August 13, 2015 * Comments

I love biology in general, and evolutionary science in particular. As a biology major in college, I came to understand how evolution truly ties together all branches of the biological sciences. I find great comfort and peace in the concept that we are connected to all of nature, and by extension, to the entire universe.

Posted on August 12, 2015 * Comments

Cover of The Dante Club

The evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, it’s simply not the case that I select my leisure reading with a keen eye to the possibility of developing a theme for a blog post from it. And yet here I am again, with a copy of Matthew Pearl’s historical novel The Dante Club (2003) at hand. Set in Boston, Massachusetts, and its environs after the close of the Civil War, The Dante Club takes a historical episode of which I was ignorant—the controversial translation of Dante’s Divina Commedia by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with the aid of a circle of friends, including James Russell Lowell (later one of Darwin’s pallbearers)—and interweaves it with a fictional mystery involving the gruesome murders of a number of prominent Bostonians in ways reminiscent of the punishments accorded to the sinners in the Inferno. Honestly, I had no idea when I removed the book from the shelf at the library that it would afford any fodder for the Science League of America.

Posted on August 12, 2015 * Comments

When you think of climate change and animals, what do you think of? Birds? Butterflies? Maybe if you’re a biologist. But most people think of… yes, you guessed it, polar bears.

Posted on August 11, 2015 * Comments

Do me a favor. Go to your favorite search engine and enter “vaccines.” Then click on “images.”

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

OMG HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SO MANY NEEDLES IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE!!!??!?!?!?

Want to slap your forehead? Now search for images of “childhood vaccination.” I’ll wait again.

Posted on August 11, 2015 * Comments

Josh Rosenau sent this to Glenn Branch who sent it to me. What is “this”? It’s The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by artist Albertonykus (real name Albert Chen), an undergraduate student in geology at the University of Maryland. About this amazing creation, he writes on his Deviant Art Gallery page:

In which I discover the pain of drawing non-avemetarsalian archosauriforms (so many osteoderms!) and ungulates.

Posted on August 10, 2015 * Comments

NCSE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so we can’t endorse candidates. Exactly what that entails is tricky, but it means we generally don’t jump in on campaign events. What happened at last week’s first Republican primary debate is so important as to make that moot.

Because they simply didn’t talk about science.

Posted on August 10, 2015 * Comments

This week’s fossil comes from the Ediacara Hills in southern Australia. The so-called Ediacaran fauna are a strange set of multicellular organisms that date back, way back, to before the Cambrian “explosion” made famous by the Burgess Shale. The Ediacaran critters are about 560 million years old, which places them in the Ediacaran (also called Vendian) period of the Proterozoic Eon of the Pre-Cambrian Era. (Got that?

Posted on August 07, 2015 * Comments

You know what makes a Friday better? A fossil. Here is one from a very famous assemblage…but what is it? Here’s an ironic tidbit to help you to identify it: no one knows what it is.

Any guesses? If you can’t identify the particular organism, perhaps you can at least get the locality?

You can do it!

Posted on August 07, 2015 * Comments

This month on Friday Flicks, Flickmaster Max Yipp brings us a great video from PBS’s Idea Channel. The featured video asks the question: Was the discovery of global warming humanity’s greatest scientific achievement?