Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Killer whale mommies are not good DarwinMoms, it turns out

Group dynamics like this may be one reason that a species becomes critically endangered or goes extinct. Yes, human activities drive many extirpations/extinctions.* But others may be due to the adoption of behaviors that result in fewer than the needed number of offspring. Not easy to change. Read More ›

Some species thought to be extinct may simply be “lost”

Apart from loss of habitat due to human encroachment, it would be interesting to know whether there is much study of patterns that govern extinctions — that is, natural extinctions. Paleontologist David Raup (1933–2015) wrote quite a good book on the topic, Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck in 1991 but it’s not clear how much has been done since then. Read More ›

“Lost” coral species found “inside” another species

Of course, the story raises the question of just how important saving "species" (see speciation) is. A shift in an ecology can be critical but the disappearance, reappearance, or brand new development of a hard-to-distinguish species may not have much environment impact. Read More ›

Result of “de-extinction” project not very encouraging

Researchers: Yet despite their best efforts, the scientists were unable to recover nearly 5% of the Christmas Island rat’s genome. Many of the missing genes were related to immunity and olfaction, two highly important functions for the animal. “It’s not just the irrelevant stuff that you’re not going to get back,” Gilbert said. “And so what you’ll end up with is nothing like what went extinct.” Read More ›

Researchers: CRISPR is not the big answer to de-extinction

With genes as with documents, how much do the lost ones matter? If the recreated passenger pigeon was pretty much like the old one, what difference would it make? Shouldn’t the main question be, is this a good ecological idea overall? Read More ›

New findings on the devolution of tuskless elephants

Why were two-thirds of the tuskless babies females? "They also suspected that the relevant gene was dominant – meaning that a female needs only one altered gene to become tuskless — and that when passed to male embryos, it may short-circuit their development." Read More ›