Darwin Fail: Surprising Organisms Follow Their Own Path

first_imgThere are organisms that change too fast, others that change too slow, and others that change without natural selection. What’s a Darwinist to do?The horses that evolve by intelligent design: Here’s a surprising bit of news from Science Daily: “Most modern horses are descendants of recently imported Oriental stallions.” How recently? Just 700 years ago. “Researchers who have analyzed the Y chromosomes of more than 50 horses representing 21 breeds have found that the paternal lines of nearly all modern horses trace to stallions brought to Europe from the Orient over the last 700 years,” this article says. “The findings reported in Current Biology on June 29 reveal the overwhelming influence of breeding schemes driven by strong selection on males.” When you think of all the variation in modern breeds, that’s a lot of change brought about by purpose and design.Doggone wolves: A new study of dog origins “throws dog domestication theories to the wolves,” says Phys.org. Like the horse family tree, the dog family tree “has a single geographic origin,” Science Daily says. “The finding, to be published in Nature Communications, suggests a single domestication event of modern dogs from a population of gray wolves that occurred between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.” Those are Darwin Years, of course, which can stretch and squeeze whichever way needed to preserve the Darwin narrative. And it may take more Darwin Years to figure this out: “Overall, he emphasized, their new genomic analysis of ancient dogs will help scientists better understand the process of dog evolution.” If you need to understand cat evolution, chief storyteller Mindy Weisberger at Live Science attempts to answer, “Why Dog Breeds Look So Very Different, But Cats Don’t,” appealing to different values of Darwin Years. But of course, artificial breeding is about intelligent design, not evolution. Nevertheless, the transformation of a wolf into a dachshund or a greyhound by artificial breeding is remarkable. See our 5/30/17 article, “Dog breeding: exploring the limits of change.”Nice kitty: The first-ever photo taken of a wild lioness nursing a leopard cub has been posted by National Geographic. Those two species are supposed to be rivals, not friends. “In fact, lions have a habit of killing leopards,” the surprised reporter says of this “unprecedented” behavior observed in Tanzania. Conservationist Luke Hunter quipped, “We never see this in the wild.” And yet scientists knew it is physiologically possible. “While the arrangement is unusual, Hunter says there’s nothing physiologically that should prevent the lion from raising the leopard. Both species produce similar milk and undergo comparable nursing periods.”The vegetarian shark: This headline from National Geographic should perk up the ears of “Shark Tank” fans: “This Shark Eats Grass, and No One Knows Why.” A certain bonnethead shark seems to be going vegan, consuming salad for 50% of its diet. “Scientists have discovered that some sharks are eating a large amount of seagrass, as a significant part of their diet—but experts aren’t sure why the fish are deviating from their traditional carnivorous diet.”Underwater firewood: 60,000 years is a long time for wood to get waterlogged in the ocean, but a video clip at the BBC News worries that divers might try to pull up an “underwater forest” for souvenirs. Has this wood really been buried 60 feet down for that long a time? The stumps now underwater off the coast of Alabama resemble living trees that live in North Carolina today. From the video, the wood looks just like waterlogged wood, not rock. The researcher wanting to protect it drags “climate change” into the story, showing that it’s “proof positive” that sea level rise can occur quickly. What seems to escape the BBC is that SUV’s and coal plants could not have been responsible for sea level rise 60,000 years ago. Live Science doesn’t budge on the 60,000 year date of this “amazing discovery” of an underwater forest, calling it “the oldest of its kind anywhere in the world.” Live Science also posted a video and a photo gallery of the wood. Looks pretty modern.The ancient complex cells: Phytoplankton rule the oceans, CNRS tells us, and they have from long ago. And yet they engage in one of the most complex activities of any cell: photosynthesis. Science Daily says this about fossil eukaryotic plankton found in Australia and Africa: “These microfossils are unusual not only because they are so old, appearing in the geologic record about a billion years after Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, but because they are large, complex, plankton-like and autotrophs — organisms that can turn inorganic elements into organic material.”The enzyme that refuses to evolve: Bacteria should be the fastest organisms to evolve, because of their numbers and rapid reproduction times. Phys.org talks about a “Four-billion-year-old ‘fossil’ protein resurrected in bacteria” that works pretty much today as it did four billion years ago. “Thioredoxin, a versatile work-horse protein that moves electrons around so that chemical reactions in the cell can occur, is a favorite in the lab because it has been around almost since the origin of life and it is present in all modern organisms,” the article says. “We can’t live without it, nor can E. coli.” It was “a bit surprising” to researchers to find that a reconstructed “primordial” form of the enzyme retained function in today’s counterparts, even though modern bacteria have a completely different environment. The authors found a way to end with a plug for Darwin.Darwin beak airful: What controls beak size in birds? Is it temperature, or is it food? The Grants, studying Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos for decades, thought it was feeding habits. An article on Phys.org tests the idea that temperature or climate has an effect. The results were suggestive but not straightforward: “it’s not yet clear from that whether adaptation to improve feeding efficiency is the only, or even the most important, factor in driving beak evolution across millions of years,” the researchers said, noting that results were not quite as expected: “the researchers found no correlation with summer temperatures but a clear one for winter—the coldest winters were associated with the smallest beaks, whereas warmer winters were associated with larger beaks.” So even though the results were ambiguous, they thought it “exciting” to be working on a problem that had intrigued Darwin. Let’s see; how long ago was Darwin speculating on that? “The next step would be to better understand the relationship between these two factors—feeding efficiency and winter temperatures—in the overall narrative of beak evolution.” Emphasis on narrative (i.e., story).The raven paradox: A paper in Science Magazine announces, “Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool use and bartering.” Boeckle and Clayton say in a summary of the paper in the same issue of Science, “These results suggest that planning for the future is not uniquely human and evolved independently in distantly related species to address common problems.” Ah yes, convergent evolution: the handiest device in the Darwin-rescue toolkit. That’s the explanation the researchers give in Science Magazine, attributing the similar outcomes in “distantly related species” (apes and crows) to similar selective pressures. But is it smart for humans to employ Darwin Flubber in explanation? “We Knew Ravens Are Smart,” National Geographic quips. “But Not This Smart.”Invisible convergence: Another article uses the convergence concoction to explain marine organisms that employ optical tricks to appear invisible. Jasmin Fox at the BBC News showcases some of these amazing creatures in her stunning photo gallery, only to mix in the Flubber by saying, “It’s so popular in fact that transparency has independently evolved multiple times in completely unrelated animals.” Enjoy the photos anyway. The sea sapphires are especially cute.So much of the Darwin controversy would end if the true believers gave up on the “narrative” business and followed the evidence where it leads. No more moyboy assumptions. No more Darwin Flubber. No more rescue devices. No more propping up Darwin. Make him stand on his own. Turn off the blower. Watch what happens.Video Playerhttps://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/darwin-15-second.mp400:0000:0000:16Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Animation by J. Beverly Greene for CEH. All rights reserved.(Visited 560 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Zimbabwe’s first Comrades win

first_img25 May 2009Zimbabwe’s Stephen Muzhingi derailed Leonid Shvetsov’s attempt at a third Comrades Marathon win in succession on Sunday, while the Nurgalieva twins continued their domination of the women’s race as Olesya succeeded her sister Elena as champion.Muzhingi’s victory was the first ever for a Zimbabwean in the Comrades, but it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. After all, Zimbabweans have won the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in four of the past five years.In addition, Muzhingi finished third on the Comrades “up” run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in 2008, seventh the year before that, and also finished fourth in this year’s Two Oceans Marathon, which he used as preparation for the Comrades.Different challengersHowever, one had to keep in mind that the “up” and “down” (Pietermarizburg to Durban) runs have proved to be two different animals, with only very special athletes able to dominate in both directions.One of those, clearly, after record-setting victories in both directions, was Russia’s Leonid Shvetsov. He set the “down” run record in 2007 with a spectacular time of five hours, 20 minutes and 49 seconds. In 2008, he took victory in the “up” run to Pietermaritzburg in five hours, 24 minutes and 48 seconds.Shvetsov looked superb in his victory in 2008, but the Comrades can be a cruel race and no one can be sure of smooth run – world-class athletes like the Russian doctor included.CrampsSunday’s race proved far tougher for him than it had been the previous year, and with nine kilometres to go he had to let Muzhingi go when cramps struck. The Zimbabwean raced comfortably clear and went on to a superb victory at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban.For Shvetsov, the last 10 kilometres felt as if they would never end. After struggling through to the finish, almost 10 minutes behind Muzhingi, he said they were the hardest 10 kilometres of his life.Reflecting on his effort, he said he had disregarded his own advice and paid for it: instead of running his own race, he had panicked when Zimbabwe’s Collen Makaza led by 10 minutes at the halfway mark. Shvetsov explained that he had pushed too hard to narrow the gap and paid the price.In recent years, South African men have shown themselves to be better runners on the “down” run, and they proved it again by filling out the rest of the top 10 places.First South AfricanCharles Tjiane, despite struggling towards the end, finished third, a minute and 11 seconds behind Shvetsov. He was followed across the line by 2003 champion Fusi Nhlapo, with Lucas Nonyana rounding out the top five.The rest of the top 10 consisted of Mncedisi Mkhize, Bongmusa Mthembu, Peter Molapo, Bethuel Netshifhefhe, and Harmans Mokgadi.The Comrades King, Bruce Fordyce, completed the race for the 27th time, while four-time champion Alan Robb racked up his 36th consecutive finish.Dave Rogers, however, failed in his attempt to complete it for a record 44th time. Nonetheless, he still holds the record of 43 finishes. Rogers, who is 66 years of age, has promised he will continue to run the Comrades.Women’s raceThe battle for the women’s title was, almost predictably, between the Nurgalieva twins, Elena and Olesya. Elena had previously won the Comrades in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Olesya had won in 2007 and finished second in 2003, 2005, and 2008.Tatyana Zhirkova, the champion in 2005 in the third-fastest time in the history of the race, presented a potential threat to the twins, but she came up just short of her fellow countrywomen.The Nurgalievas had shown good form in the lead-up to the race, winning the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town after crossing the finishing line together, although the organisers later gave the victory to Elena.Olesya ran her personal best in the standard marathon in Frankfurt in late 2008, clocking a world-class time of two hours, 27 minutes and 37 seconds, which demonstrated that besides endurance she has speed, and she proved it on Sunday.SpeedAfter running together most of the way with her sister Elena, Olesya pulled clear near the finish when the twins learnt that Zhirkova was not far behind. Afterwards, Elena admitted that she could not match the speed of her sister.Olesya took victory in six hours, 12 minutes and 12 seconds. A minute and two seconds later, Elena cross the line.The fast-finishing Zhirkova was third in a shade over six-and-a-quarter hours. She was more than 15 minutes head of fourth-placed Marina Myshlyanova, who gave Russia a 1-2-3-4 finish.Fifth place went to Farwa Mentoor, who had been the top South African finisher for six years in succession before Riana van Niekerk had ended that run in 2008. Another South African, Lesley Train, finished in sixth.Marina Bychkova of Russia ended in seventh place, and three South Africans then completed the top 10: Lindsay van Aswegen, Belinda Waghorn and Kashmira Parbhoo.Equal prize money is awarded to men and women in the Comrades Marathon. The winners picked up cheques of R220 000 each, while the second place finishers received R110 000, and the third-placed athletes R82 500.2010The organisers have already designated next year’s Comrades Marathon a “down” run once again. It will be the 85th edition of the race, and they’re expecting a big turnout to coincide with South Africa’s hosting of the Fifa 2010 World Cup.With a field of 20 000 entries expected – which would make it the second largest in the history of the race, trailing only the 23 961 of 2000 – a bigger finishing area would be needed than Alexander Park in Pietermaritzburg. That’s why Sahara Stadium Kingsmead will be used again.TOP FINISHERSMEN Stephen Muzhingi (Zim) 05:23:27 Leonid Shvetsov (Rus) 05:33:10 Charles Tjiane (RSA) 05:34:21 Fusi Nhlapo (RSA) 05:36:17 Lucas Nonyana (RSA) 05:39:29 Mncedisi Mkhize (RSA) 05:41:14 Bongmusa Mthembu (RSA) 05:41:52 Peter Molapo (RSA) 05:42:25 Bethuel Netshifhefhe (RSA) 05:43:35 Harmans Mokgadi (RSA) 05:44:49 WOMEN Olesya Nurgalieva (Rus) 06:12:12 Elena Nurgalieva (Rus) 06:13:14 Tatyana Zhirkova (Rus) 06:15:03 Marina Myshlyanova (Rus) 06:30:42 Farwa Mentoor (RSA) 06:45:33 Lesley Train (RSA) 07:01:07 Marina Bychkova (Rus) 07:03:24 Lindsay van Aswegen (RSA) 07:08:55 Belinda Waghorn (RSA) 07:09:36 Kashmira Parbhoo (RSA) 07:16:13 Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

So Floridas A Final Four Favorite Now

VIDEO: Gonzaga-WVU is the Sweet 16 game to watch Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (March 21, 2017), we break down the first and second rounds of the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments and talk about where teams stand going into the Sweet 16. Next, we discuss the U.S. women’s hockey team’s decision to potentially sit out the world championships amid negotiations with USA Hockey over pay. Finally, we’re ready for baseball to come back — and preview what to expect in the National League this season. Plus, a significant digit from the NBA.Links to what we discussed:A Duke loss was always going to look like the one they suffered Sunday, writes FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine.Neil also wrote about how Wisconsin ousted Villanova.Just how mad was the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament? ESPN’s Paul Sabin investigates.FiveThirtyEight’s Benjamin Morris noted that despite its continued winning streak, UConn’s chance of winning the women’s tournament dropped after round one.The Washington Post took a look at the origins of the U.S. women’s hockey team’s threat to boycott a tournament.ESPNW reported on the ongoing negotiations between USA Hockey and the women’s national team.Neil, Nate Silver and FanGraphs writer Craig Edwards recently had a chat about why the Cubs are the favorites to win the National League Central.Significant Digit: 77.7 percent, the “Charge Rate” of Sacramento Kings forward Anthony Tolliver. FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring created the metric — a “simple stat that measures how efficiently a player draws charges” — to try to figure out who the savviest charge-takers in the league are. Tolliver is No. 1. read more

Di Francesco laments referee decisions

first_imgAS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco believes that they were unfortunate with the decisions that were taken against them in their semi-final defeat to Liverpool in the Champions LeagueThe Giallorossi won the second leg at their Stadio Olimpico 4-2 on Wednesday night but were ultimately unable to overturn their three-goal deficit from the first leg this time around with Roma narrowly losing 7-6 on aggregate to Liverpool in what was their first semi-final appearance in the competition since 1984.But, while admitting that they made things difficult for themselves with the first goal, Di Francesco was left to ponder what might of happened had the match officials not made any “human errors” while wrongly ruling Edin Dzeko for offside and then later denying Roma a clear penalty when Trent Alexander-Arnold handled Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot in the box.“In the two games, Liverpool showed that they are a great team. In the second half, they were in a lot of difficulties. We complicated life for ourselves, especially with the first goal.” said the Italian, according to AS.divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…On the possible penalty decision: “We’ll see on the television. The guys said that Dzeko wasn’t offside. There is not much collaboration between the referees. At the same time, they are human errors, they can get things wrong.”While disappointed to have not reached the final, Di Francesco hailed the effort of his players during the competition.“We took the symbolic chocolate medal. It’s been a long time since this team got this far. I want to always see my guys giving everything in the difficult moments like they have done.” added the Roma coach.last_img read more

Jermain Defoe not afraid to move to Serie A

first_imgBournemouth striker Jermain Defoe said he wouldn’t have been scared to move to Serie A when Juventus were interested in signing him in 2009.Defoe who was then at Portsmouth would eventually leave Fratton Park to return for a second spell at Tottenham, but not before the Italian giants had expressed their intent to sign him, according to Sky Sport.“When I left Tottenham and went to Portsmouth with Harry (Redknapp), I was there for a season and then Harry got the Tottenham job.“It was weird because I just knew it was going happen. It made sense because of the relationship I had with the club and the fans.“There was speculation and at one point I thought: ‘Yeah, this is going to happen’. Both clubs were speaking. As a player you just want the two clubs to get on with it. I wanted permission to speak to Tottenham.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“I remember being at home and sitting there for a few days and just waiting for the deal to get done. I knew it was close.“Then, I got a phone call from someone to say that Juventus were interested. Obviously, I wanted to go back to Tottenham but I thought maybe the Tottenham one was not going to happen.“Nothing really scares me. It is just another massive club, you go there, you play and you score goals. It is as simple as that.“When the Tottenham one got done it was a relief. Some places just feel like home. It was the perfect move for me.”last_img read more

Bernd Leno confident will make major boost when he returns

first_imgArsenal’s centre-back Laurent Koscielny is getting ready to make his first-team return after seven months of being away, teammate and goalkeeper Bernd Leno is confident the Frenchman will return with a major boost for the club.Leno has never played with Laurent, yet he believes the Frenchman has more value to add to the club both on and off the pitch.“In training, you see how he is talking to other players,” Leno said via club’s website.“We have many young players and he talks to them and for me he is a big personality in the team, in the dressing room.”Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“Before Tottenham, he was not in the squad but five minutes before the game he said many, many good things about the history of the game, how important it is for the fans, the club, every player, so he is the perfect captain for us.”“He is a big personality and of course he has big quality. I think we should give him the time [to play]. The coach is calm with him because he was a long time injured.”“I am happy for him that maybe he will play [against Qarabag on Thursday], I think he will play because he needs the confidence to play. His body needs also the feeling for the game.”“Of course, he trained a long time for us but the games are more difficult because the game is different for your head. I am happy for him that he will maybe start on Thursday and of course he will be an option for the next weeks in the [main] starting XI.”last_img read more

Harris County Commissioners Court Approves Buyout Of 34 Properties Flooded By Harvey

first_img Share Al OrtizThe Harris County Commissioners Court has approved buying out 34 properties that hurricane Harvey flooded.The Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved Tuesday buying out 34 properties that Hurricane Harvey flooded.The majority of the properties are located in the Banana Bend Estates and Sandbar Estates subdivisions, near the San Jacinto River.The buyouts are part of a county plan to buy 206 properties located in unincorporated areas that are on the floodplain and that Harvey damaged severely.The Commissioners Court has already approved $20 million of funds, which the county hopes to be eventually reimbursed for by the federal government, to go ahead with the purchases.last_img read more

December 3 2001 October Workshop Graduation Alth

first_imgDecember 3, 2001October Workshop Graduation!Although we are well into the NovemberWorkshop, we wanted to post the October Grad photos. 12 of the 18 workshop participants became short or long-term residents!Not pictured: Anthony and Mac[Photos and text by: Jennifer Thornton] Workshop Wrap-upDuring seminar week Alexandra was caught doing handstands in the Vaults. Some of the Workshop divided their time between construction and the Planning Department.Planning is charge of the design as well as drafting the drawings of the East Crescent Complex. Chris and Dennis used the Hilte in unit 10 of Phase V of the East Crescent Construction. Anthony and Mac hosted a barbeque & basketball tournament in Camp on one of the sunny weekend afternoons.center_img Close-up of some of the graduates. Picking and curing our olives for Arcosanti Organics was a major project for the Landscaping Department.Liz shows off some of the harvest. Game spectators Chris, Carrie and Marlene.last_img read more