Evolution

Violet Blue explains why the new SlutWalk protests are “a significant tipping point in cultural evolution” — and she’s serious. “Yes: I think scantily clad girls marching in the streets around the…



The fifteen semifinalists hoping to win the title of Miss USA 2011 each weigh in on the question, “Should evolution be taught in schools?” If you are wondering why our society is in a death spiral of decline, this is why.




Is evolution backtracking? Physorg reports: The extravagant headgear of small bugs called treehoppers are in fact wing-like appendages that grew back 200 million years after evolution had supposedly cast them aside, according…



File-Cancer_requires_multiple_mutations_from_NIHenAlasdair Wilkins reports for io9:

Cancer is one of the most difficult foes medical science has ever faced, but a controversial new idea might just show a way to victory. A group of scientists have evidence that cancer might be an evolutionary throwback to our most distant animal ancestor.

Astrobiologists Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University and Paul Davies of Arizona State have proposed that cancerous cells are a so-called “living fossil”, the last remnant of a crucial evolutionary juncture some 600 million years ago. It’s been proposed before that cancer dates back to the beginning of multi-cellular animals, an evolutionary innovation that required cells to stop replicating whenever they wanted and start coordinating with the rest of the organism.

Cancer is what happens when these very ancient controls on cell replication break down, causing runaway cellular replication. But here’s where Lineweaver and Davies take the idea a step further – they suggest cancer actually is our earliest animal ancestor. They suggest these organisms were the first to figure out some measure of control over cell replication, but they lacked more precise control over cell growth.

This hypothesis, they argue, fits known tumor behavior better than the view that all cancer cells act independently. They point to angiogenesis, in which cancer cells built blood vessel networks to bring nutrients into the tumor, which suggests cooperation amongst the cells…



Bomb Detecting PlantSpencer Ackerman writes on WIRED’s Danger Room:

The next hydrangea you grow could literally save your life. With the help of the Department of Defense, a biologist at Colorado State University has taught plant proteins how to detect explosives. Never let it be said that horticulture can’t fight terrorism.

Picture this at an airport, perhaps in as soon as four years: A terrorist rolls through the sliding doors of a terminal with a bomb packed into his luggage (or his underwear). All of a sudden, the leafy, verdant gardenscape ringing the gates goes white as a sheet. That’s the proteins inside the plants telling authorities that they’ve picked up the chemical trace of the guy’s arsenal.


It’s a controversial opinion but sure is interesting. Keep this in mind next time you encounter someone “hygienically challenged” … Jessica Marshall writes in Discovery News: More controversially, some argue that effects…








In Entangled, Graham Hancock’s debut novel, an essential part of the story involves the so-called “Neanderthal Enigma,” a raging academic debate over what caused Homo neanderthalensis to die out some 35,000 years…



From ScienceDaily: Defined as the ability to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others, altruism has been a bit of a genetic mystery. Understanding why altruism evolves is one of the fundamental…






Even Dawkins sees some value in religion, just not in the present. ScienceBlogs reports:

Richard Dawkins argues that humanity’s historical predisposition towards religion and supernatural beliefs may have held an evolutionary utility. “The rule of thumb: ‘Believe whatever your parents tell you,’ quite clearly could have survival value,” says Dawkins.