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Lungs

Bird lungs operate quite differently from mammalian lungs, a fact which Explore Evolution treats as mysterious. In fact, ongoing research by paleontologists, anatomists, and other biologists has rendered this diversity of forms readily explicable. As in so much else of the book, interesting biology is ignored in preference for obscurantism and a lesson that students should learn that certain things cannot be known scientifically.

Birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs, and understanding the anatomy of dinosaurs is an important step in understanding bird lungs. Unfortunately, Explore Evolution offers no background in modern paleontological knowledge about dinosaur lungs or the relationship of dinosaurs to birds. A hands-on exercise for students is suggested, but it offers no meaningful insight into the models of lung evolution proposed by any scientists. The views of scientists who are in the fringes of paleontology are presented uncritically, with no comparable (let alone proportionate) coverage of the views of the overwhelming majority of scientists. This chapter misinforms students about how science works, how lungs work, and, as always, how evolution works.