In part 1, I relayed a story of the common carp. Long ago, the carp was domesticated by monks to have fewer, patchy scales, making the fish easier to prepare and eat.

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I thought that I was doing my best to stay on top of evolution-related news, but now I fear that I’ve grown lazy, and for that I blame Ed Yong. Yong is a tremendously talented writer who, I can only assume based on his output, has somehow genetically engineered himself to require no sleep. We highlight his work every week in What We’re Reading posts, and I have come to rely on him to tell me what’s happening in the world of evolution research.

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New research from Neil Shubin's lab proves once again that when it comes to science, unexpected results are often far more exciting than expected ones.

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ScienceDebate logoHere at NCSE, we tend to frown on formal staged debates, especially about science itself. But in this political season, there’s an exception to be made.

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Let me begin by saying that while I’m not a Luddite, I’m also not a technology whiz. I’m one of those less-than-cool people who still use Facebook, have no idea what WhatsApp is, and don’t know which expresses approval—swiping left or swiping right. I recently asked my way-cooler-than-me au pair to show me SnapChat and I didn’t really get it. So it should come as no surprise that while most of the rest of the world was playing Pokémon GO, I remained happy in a cocoon of ignorance.

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“Silly,” “comically short,” “feeble,” “itty-bitty,” “teeny-tiny,” “useless,” and “wimpy” are not generally phrases you’d associate with a fearsome predator, but they are just some of the adjectives science writers used to describe one of the fiercest of the fierce—T. rex … or its arms, anyway. And now there is a new dino on the block with similarly disproportional arms. What if anything does it mean, evolutionarily, that there are now two predators with tiny arms? 

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Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is my favorite science quote, as it sums up perfectly how important evolution is to our understanding of biology. Unfortunately, in far too many schools evolution is not taught all, or not taught to its full extent. When it comes to human evolution in particular, the statistics are even more depressing.

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The other week The Washington Post’s Speaking of Science blog addressed the question: “Dear Science: Why aren’t apes evolving into humans?”

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