Step right up ladies and gentlemen, here for one month only under the big top is the one, the only, the carnival of evolution. For your delectable delight we have a range of articles, covering everything from bacterial evolution to Neanderthal hearing to T. rex‘s eating habits.
As someone who spends a lot of time focusing on human evolution it can be rather easy to get tunnel vision and miss all of this excellent writing on non-evoanth subjects. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being given a taste of the world outside my field. I only wish there were some way to get people to send me these stories every month.
But before I start trying to contract out my science reading, I better get round to the reason we’re all here. So without much further ado: Welcome to the September edition of the Carnival of Evolution!
Joachim sent in Ecology & Evolution Footnotes: Predecessors of Darwin and Wallace, a fascinating discussion of pre-Darwinian ideas of change over time that can be found over at the Mousetrap.
Joachim also submitted another post on the history of evolution, this time from Jerry Coyne’s top notch blog “Why Evolution Is True.” This one explains how Darwin did not cheat Wallace out of his rightful place in history
In other Wallacian news is a post from Why Evolution is True about how Wallace and Darwin were more than happy to share credit. It’s called Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House and was submitted by Michael Barton
Bradly Alicea sends in a post more about the nature of science than it’s history, describing Four reasons why evolutionary theory might not add value to economics which can be found over at Evolving Economics.
Greg Laden sends us another post about the nature of science (specifically evolution) with a post about how reproductive success at fitness aren’t necessarily the same things. These are terms us evolution peeps use all the time, so it’s interesting to see how they definitions are much more nuanced than people Reproductive success and fitness are not the same thing and can be found over at Greg Laden’s blog (imaginative title).
Bjørn Østman, the mastermind behind the Carnival of Evolution, submitted an interesting piece on how bacterial evolution is witnessed during experiments, and how the creationist adage of “they’re still bacteria” doesn’t hold any water. It’s called Experimental Evolution And The False Solace of “They’re Still Bacteria” and was posted at The Loom.
Continuing along the creationist bent, Sam Hardman presents Coelacanths are not living fossils trashing yet another creationist talking point. Turns out they’ve been evolving just like everything else! Who would’ve thought the creationists would be wrong about something? This post can be found at Ecologica
Michael Barton sent in another critique of creationsim, this time addressing a bit of quote mining going on in the new intelligent design book Darwin’s doubt. The post is called Stephen Meyer: workin’ in the quote mines and can be found at The Panda’s Thumb.
Anne Buchanan sends in a recent repost of a rather excellent blog on creationism. Except this time it’s about how a large bit of the creation controversy may be being manufactured by the pro-evolution side. It’s well worth reading. The post is called The recreation of creationism; a sporting event and can be found at eco-devo-evo (who have far too many hyphens for me to figure out how to capitalise it properly).
Luckily there’s more to evolution than bashing creationists, so we’ve got a set of interesting articles with a more positive spin.
Kathy Orlinsky explains why T. rex wasn’t just a scavenger. It’s nice to know my childhood hero has been returned to the top of the food chain, where it should be. This was posted at The Stochastic Scientist.
Bjørn Østman submitted Cleaning up toxic waste: directed evolution vs. designed machines an great post about how evolving bacteria to clean up heavy metals is much better than trying to design the organisms from scratch; once again proving the old biologist parable: “evolution is smarter than you.” This post can be found at Lab Rat.
Bradly Alicea sent in another post about the relationship between evolution and design, this time with evolution helping our designs rather than rendering them obsolete. The Biomimicry Manual: what can the Bombardier beetle teach us about fuel injection? posted at Inhabitat.
As complex as humans are, we have a relatively small genome. Bjørn Østman sends in a fascinating post that ponders whether those species with a bigger genome are helped or hindered by it. It’s called What is the survival advantage of a larger genome? and is located at Keats at his Telescope.
Benjamin Haller sends us a blog post from eco-evo evo-eco (I think they’re just trying to one-up EvoAnth with extra evos there) talking about his first published research paper. It’s called Evolutionary branching in complex landscapes. I think Congratulations are in order!
And because I can’t escape from it, we also have a smattering of posts dealing with human evolution. They’re just as eclectic as the rest of them, dealing with topics from language to mitochondrial eve.
Bradly Alicea sent in several
- None of Your Neurons Know Who You Are… Myths of Human Genetics posted over at Olduvai Gorve
- Y and mtDNA are not Adam and Eve: Part 2 – What it means to be the Most Recent Common Ancestor posted at mathbionerd. An excellent article, although I think they missed out on a chance for a great pun in the title. “Y mtEve and Y-chromosal Adam aren’t Adam and Eve” anyone?
- Genetics of smell and population history that can be found at John Hawks Anthropology Weblog. Because no mention of human evolution is complete without John Hawks!
Submissions from others include Pushing back the origins of language posted at The Stochastic Scientist and submitted by Kathy Orlinsky. An interesting little post about how early language may have developed in the human lineage, showing that Neanderthals could speak after all.
Anne Buchanan sends in a post discussing recent research into Why we have pubic hair. Don’t like, we’ve all thought about this at one point or another. This can be found at Evo-devo-evo, who clearly aren’t afraid to ask questions that make me snigger like a teenager.
And being a bit selfish, I’d like to use this opportunity to pimp my post discussing the question of Did language evolve to help us gossip?
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of evolution using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.