The whole story leaves one wondering what role incidental factors played, over many centuries, in the constant, reversible micro-evolution of the once-iconic Darwin’s finches.
Jurassic Park as if you were part of the cast.
Researcher: The discovery of uncommon wiwaxiids fossils in this time frame suggests the animals lived on Earth for a far greater span of time than previously understood.
Remember the astronomer who thought that space detritus Oumuamua might be an extraterrestrial lightsail? He’s back: Harvard professor Avi Loeb thinks humans should be on the hunt for signs of alien life and alien death. During a recent presentation at the The Humans to Mars Summit, Loeb argued that the discovery of a dead alien […]
Note that loss of the ability to fly is treated in this story as a form of evolution, as if the loss resulted in greater complexity rather than less. As if it wasn’t fatal when the island was inundated. But it enables evolutionary biologists to say that “evolution happened.”
Without a clearly understood concept of “species”, it’s hard to know what extinction even means. If all individual life forms are unique, then every death is an extinction. Where do we draw the line and why, exactly?
It turns out that low genetic diversity is not necessarily a death sentence. It depends on what else is going on, perhaps. By the way, we still don’t know why the narwhal has a three-metre tusk (tooth).
The cat came back. so to speak. Actually, extinct Simbakubwa kutokaafrika was not a cat but a hyaenodont, larger than a polar bear, with three rows of shearing teeth. Found between 1978 and 1981, the jawbone had to be stored on special shelving due to its size.
The plant, Hibiscadelphus woodii, was formally discovered in 1991 and had been declared extinct in 2016: In 2016, the same year the plant was listed extinct, the National Tropical Botanical Garden teamed up with drone operator Ben Nyberg to supplement the work of intrepid scientists like Wood, who rappel down cliffs and trudge through rainforests […]
While this may turn out to be true, the apparently fixed rate of change implies a more regulated system than the random developments that we are used to associating with evolution.
If the ejecta traveled so far, perhaps crises of this type might help explain some of the odd genomes we encounter.
The temptation for some seems to be to resort to apocalypse voodoo to demonstrate a crisis, at the expense of the methods that make scientists worth listening to, as an alternative to supermarket tabloids. File this one with: The real reasons people don’t “trust science”
Ridley discusses several other scare claims that did not survive scrutiny and notes that the best estimate is that insect species are dying out at rates simliar to mammals and birds (1 to 5 per cent per century): “A problem, but not Armageddon.”
As with Wallace’s giant bee, also feared extinct, the researchers had gone out looking for the tortoise.
Wallace “described the female bee, which is about as long as an adult human’s thumb and about four times larger than a European honeybee, as ‘a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle.'” – One of the finders