Top 10 Evolution Articles

December 29, 2008

A rundown of some great evolution articles from New Scientist that are well worth reading:

 How trees changed the world

It’s only when you try to imagine a world without trees that you realise how much we take them for granted. Yet 450 million years ago there was no such thing as a tree: few plants grew more than a centimetre tall. Between then and now, things happened to give another dimension to plant growth and to create the diversity we see today.

Reclaiming the peppered moth for science

The peppered moth used to be the textbook example of evolution in action. Then, about a decade ago, creationists began an orchestrated a campaign to discredit it – and with it the entire edifice of evolution. Now biologists are fighting to take it back…

Uncovering the evolution of the bacterial flagellum

The whip-like tail of some bacteria has become the cause célèbre of the “intelligent design” movement and a focal point in science’s ongoing struggle against unreason. It doesn’t seem possible to come up with one via Darwin’s “numerous, successive, slight modifications”, they say. Now science is coming up with an answer…

Evolution: What missing link?

The fossil record used to be thought of as a patchy and unreliable record of evolutionary change. Today, that record is much more dependable. When it comes to “transitional fossils” – those that bridge the gap between major groups of organisms – we now have some excellent examples.

Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions

Evolution is perhaps the best known yet least understood of all scientific theories. Here, NewScientist.com, seeks out the facts behind common misunderstandings that have grown up around “the blind watchmaker”.

Rewriting Darwin: The new non-genetic inheritance

We resemble our parents and can fall prey to the same diseases mainly because we inherit their genes. Yet there is another form of inheritance that does not rely on genes, one that allows characteristics to be passed on that are acquired during a person’s lifetime…

The Ordivician: Life’s second big bang

The Cambrian period, starting about 540 million years ago, is famous for the appearance of all but one of the types of creatures we see around us today. Yet in terms of new species this period cannot hold a candle to a little-known explosion of life called the Great Ordivician Biodiversification Event.

Vestigial organs: Remnants of evolution

From goosebumps to wisdom teeth, vestigial organs have long perplexed biologists. What was their original purpose and what happened to make them redundant? NewScientist.com presents its top five vestigial organs and explains how they differ from male nipples.

Viruses: The unsung heroes of evolution

Viruses are often seen solely as carriers of death and disease. In the light of genomics, however, they are being seen as critical evolutionary players. Far from being a biological afterthought, they may be the most creative genetic entities we know of.

Freedom from selection lets genes get creative

Natural selection is seen as a tough master, constantly applying pressure to improve the fit between an organism and its niche. Yet some researchers believe that when the pressure of natural selection lifts, genomes go wandering and unexpected effects can arise. To see the impact, he argues, we have to look no further than ourselves…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: