Category Archives: Evolution

Coywolves In Our Backyards

Wolves of the Northeast deep woods have interbred with western coyotes, and the hybrid coywolves now thrive among us I have never seen a wolf or coyote, outside of a zoo. An urban college professor, I have lived for the last 45 years in suburban Saint Louis. A red fox family once graced our subdivision… Read More »

Why do tropical songbirds lay fewer eggs?

An old question may finally have been answered in a way any tired parent can understand Sometimes odd generalizations in science lead to unexpected places. Take for example an obscure observation published in 1944 by British ornithologist (bird expert) Reginald Moreau: songbirds in the tropics lay fewer eggs than their counterparts at higher latitudes. Tropical… Read More »

DNA and Darwin: Evolution repeats itself in Caribbean lizards

Darwin can rest a little easier tonight. I’m sure he would have been puzzled at the average American’s reluctance to accept his theory of evolution. The evidence supporting Darwin’s theory is clear, and every year more supporting evidence accumulates. There is a sticky point in Darwin’s argument, however. If evolution is indeed guided by natural… Read More »

How E. coli bacteria become deadly: The making of a monster

Like an unexpected and unwelcome guest, pathogenic E coli burst onto the national scene nineteen years ago. Escherichia coli — E. coli for short — is a harmless bacteria that lives in the gut of humans. Scientists have studied it for decades. It was one of the first organisms to have its genome fully sequenced… Read More »

A bitter dispute over human origins has been settled

Really good fights in science rarely get settled. One side will advance evidence that the other side is wrong, only to have the “wrong” side respond with evidence proving the reverse. Slugging it out, back and forth, a clearer picture gradually emerges. Once in a while, however, somebody actually wins. Definitive “no-doubt-about-it” evidence emerges proving… Read More »

Meet Our Hobbit Cousin

Science is by its nature a feisty enterprise, with researchers evaluating each other’s work—not always kindly—and constantly seeking better ways to test ideas against the hard reality of data.  When a scientific field is active, it is alive with controversy, with the slam-around give-and-take of aggressive inquiring minds.  This is nowhere more true than in… Read More »

Answering evolution’s critics

In the century since he proposed it, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has become nearly universally accepted by biologists as the best available explanation for biological diversity, its predictions supported by the experiments and observations of generations of scientists. There is ongoing controversy among serious students as to the details of how evolution… Read More »

Evolution of the family dog

I first suspected that Boswell would have a short life when he bit my wife on our nuptial bed. Boswell was my dog, a feisty Toto-like terrier who shared my bachelor bed and resented the intrusion of a woman where he felt a dog — Boswell — ought to be. As it turns out, my… Read More »