Oct 06, 2009 •
After writing about 'Ardi', I remembered that this wasn't the only paper I'd read recently suggesting that our ancestors were not knucklewalkers and that knuckle-walking must have evolved independently in the gorilla & chimp lineages. (We can say this because,...
Oct 03, 2009 •
- critical thinking,
- human evolution,
- new science stories,
- scholarship biology
A friend of mine's sent me an item from National Geographic with the headline 'Oldest "human" skeleton found - disproves "missing link"'. (Thanks, Heather!) The story itself is based on the publication this week of a series of papers describing aspects...
Oct 02, 2009 •
Last night I caught parts of Caveman (starring Ringo Starr & a dinosaur) while playing with the puppy - the daughter & her friend were watching it. Um, er, what can I say? ...?? I liked the dinosaur, he had personality...
Sep 30, 2009 •
This is a re-post of one I wrote earlier this year. For a bit of background: one of the topics that year 13 Biology students can study requires them to do research around a ‘current’ or ‘controversial’ issue such as stem cells or xenotransplantation. I wrote a brief one on stem cells (really, more a case of pointing in the right direction), but then did a longer piece on xenotransplantation, which follows here. The daughter said recently that having done stem cells, I should also look at some of the other topics you can choose from for your research exercise. She suggested xenotransplantation, as it seems quite a few of her friends have chosen that one. So I’ll have a go 🙂 Xenotransplantation is where cells, tissues, or organs from an individual of one species are transplanted into an … Read More
Sep 29, 2009 •
Commenting on my last post about plant behaviour, Jim mentioned a paper by Marian Smith on plant responses to being touched or shaken. Unfortunately I couldn't get the link to work, but I did a Google Scholar search on the...
Sep 28, 2009 •
A couple of weeks ago Brian Switek's blog Laelaps included a post on transitional fossils (those things that some creationists will tell you simply don't exist... ) Brian's post was sparked by this story (OK, maybe the writer of was aiming for...
Sep 27, 2009 •
One of the Biology Standards year 13 students study is called 'Describe animal behaviour & plant responses'. Now, if 'behaviour' = response to a stimulus, then that's really what plants are doing too. I guess it's just hard to think...
Sep 26, 2009 •
This is a re-posting of an article I wrote back in July. I thought I’d repost it here as I’ve been on a bit of a science/health/pseudoscience kick lately 🙂 In the July 13 Herald was an article on the inclusion of folic acid (aka folate) in bread. This has hit the news recently because (among other things) bakers are concerned about the cost of adding this supplement to bread. (One figure that’s been bandied about is that someone would have to eat 11 slices of bread to get their recommended daily dose, but this surely a ‘straw man’ argument: while the NZ diet tends to be low in folate it’s not at zero – any amount of bread would supplement that low intake.) There are a number of issues associated with this story, one being a perceived toxicity associated … Read More