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Blogs

 

"New find re-writes the theory of evolution."

“New study, re-writes evolution.” How (or) would YOU present a highly technical, specialist article to the general populous? Your editor (who pays you) has deadlines and targets for time, costs, readership and competing rivals’ articles. This blog is in response to (yet) another article which supposedly re-writes the theory of (in this case, shark) evolution. It tries to highlight the problem of and reasons for such article headings, looks at and compares the results of changing t

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

Nummulite Fossil

I was inspired to sketch this up after watching AronRa interview Robert Schneiker on his analysis of the Sphinx and Gobekli Tepe. One viewer asked the question on whether there were fossils in the Sphinx. This is my rendition of a nummulite which i believe is the kind of fossil they were talking about.  I used a photo on wikipedia as reference "Nummulite, Life and Rocks 1894. R A Lydekker"

Lee

Lee

Matriphagy. White widow. No greater love. Theodicy.

Matriphagy. White widow. No greater love. Theodicy.

There are certain customs, arguments or claims which seem to make sense, but you can’t quite put your finger on why or if it is true or false. And they can fool you, like an optical illusion. For me, the ontological argument for God (Anselm’s version) was one.  Others include conversion experiences with a one-way (non-returnable) valve, Faith, God knows best, don’t test God, last one in the pool is a rotten egg, go and do X or I won’t be your friend anymore, don’t grass/tell on people (it’s
Sex

Sex

A lot of life is symbiotic. Most animals can’t exist without plants and some plants can’t exist without animals and some plants can’t exist without other plants and the same with some animals. And this can be extended to bacteria. For evolution to even occur in most animals, there is a requirement for a male to meet a female and for them to get along, (at least for a bit), or be tempted or for one to dominate the other. This practise needs to be so powerful and independent, that no amount o
What if... we knew?

What if... we knew?

Parameters, statistics, limitations and predictions of evolution. The coronavirus pandemic is a good example of the unpredictable things which can happen in evolution. Sometimes, a whole ecosystem or food source might change or be lost, and some life may readily adapt, whilst other life perishes. A slight temperature change might cause extinction for some and not for others. Sometimes something (even seemingly small) might affect all life (or significant parts of it) or something catastroph
The limits of a phylogeny

The limits of a phylogeny

A biological, ‘Lineal’ system is one made to reflect evolutionary ancestry. A biological, ‘Linnaean’ system is one made to reflect hierarchical created kinds. The irony/etymology of the strikingly similar names is coincidental and the wonder is that the system, still (after 250 years) holds dual functionality as baraminology and the phylocode have both (for very different reasons) failed to take off or replace it. The term, ‘tree’ is of course, a representation of how life was/is,
 

The Phylogeny Challenge

The phylogeny challenge… is simple and like the, ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, game but without the blindfold. Given access to the phylogenetic tree of life, stick a mark wherever you think there is a, ‘kind’ barrier, where it is unrelated to anything else in another, ‘kind’ (or baramin) group. If all life is related by common descent, back to a single or several original lifeforms, then there should be evidence for this. If life was created in separate groups (kinds) that are unrelated, th

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

A new year’s resolution and tribute to the Father of science.

A new year’s resolution and tribute to the Father of science.

I was in the military, on guard duty in the jungles of Central America one night. I remember observing, under the yellow tinge of a sodium light, a female praying mantis and its young (or smaller partner?). I spent a while watching them and how such a complex set of decisions (about eating, moving, interacting, protecting, sleeping, mating, defence etc.) were held in such a tiny brain. They would only live for a year, at most, (from being born – no idea how old these were) and I wondered if they

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

Lots of things new under the sun

Motivated by our valued member, Charles Cameron from a recent post on a huge, man sized leaf discovery. Palm leaves can grow to 20m though! To my knowledge, there is no site or authority, one can go or be directed to, that logs or registers new species. What usually happens, is that dedicated databases of taxa, like the Reptile database for example, keep a look out in the literature and in related news articles. There is no obligation for anyone to register anything anywhere. So, amateur natu

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brachiosteve

 

Can chickens fly? Is there a 5th flight club member?

This is in support of/response/addition to a Facebook post, where I asked if chickens can fly or not. It's not black and white as it depends on definitions, but it’s a great example of an inherited trait being lost or artificially designed, under our noses. At what point is a species classed as having or not having trait/attribute y? On our Explorer, the clade nodes are visually represented by whether they are extinct or not, by way of the extinct symbol. In the past, some volunteer enthusi

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

The limits of evolution.

Does evolution include any/every biological change or advancement? For example, genes can be transferred directly (including horizontally) across evolutionary branches, bi-passing the standard, more well-known/popular method. We (human beings) are fundamentally composed of different organisms, many are species in themselves, and we probably contain less eukaryote than eukaryote. Does hybridisation count as evolution? Laboratory or artificial interference – does that count? If so, where is i

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

Have we lost our perspective, marbles, interest or morals?

Have we lost our perspective, marbles, interest or morals?

Some places are dangerous to live. Australia has 100 venomous snakes, plus dangerous spiders, cone snails, blue ringed octopus, jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles, sting rays, stonefish, scorpions and centipedes, many of which can be life threatening. It’s even got a venomous mammal that is dangerous (and the female lays eggs and the male has multiple penis heads). So you’d expect a pretty high human body count… right? Before proceeding, consider this. Just ONE snake species, in ONE other c

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

If x (as x), then y.

If x (as x), then y.

Mosquitos are the biggest people killers in the animal kingdom, with more deaths than all other creatures combined. Primates are the second largest by the way. There was a documentary on the difficulty in getting drugs/vaccines/medicines to far away, hard to reach, inhospitable poor places where people were dying, and governments had no money. In one scene, in Africa, the problem of money, logistics, distribution and transportation had seemed to have been overcome… Was that a coke b

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

The sacrosanct nature of verification.

The sacrosanct nature of verification.

In 1988 in the jungles of Belize, I discovered a new species of snake. It may have been the most venomous on the continent. But no such animal has reference to, or exhibits my name in any literature. The fact that I may indeed have discovered it and that it may be genuinely new to science, is not relevant without certain criteria, and very strict criteria at that. When I was a theology student, I was very keen to, ‘more formally’ investigate miracles, and specifically, healing miracles. I h

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brachiosteve

Names, reputations, wasps and stuff.

Names, reputations, wasps and stuff.

Posts on the Facebook group about reputations, animal names, and wasps in particular caused this ramble, but you might get something, somewhere, from it, whoever you are. And there’s a one question quiz at the end.   Vampire bats, vampire squid, Tyrannosaurus rex, devil fish, devil’s coach horse, hellbender, spiny lumpsucker, satanic leaf-tailed gecko and countless local names for, ‘evil’ creatures. Reputations are  for a reason, if not always good or justified reasons or they are merely s

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

Brief introduction into limbs/appendages. Arm, leg or mobility device?

Brief introduction into limbs/appendages. Arm, leg or mobility device?

All primates (apart from humans) have hands AND feet for grasping. Most primates also have opposable thumbs (4 exceptions) on hands and feet. Opposable thumbs are not limited to primates or even mammals. So, monkeys can be said to have 4 arms/legs or 2 arms and 2 legs. So, what defines a leg or an arm, especially if both are, (or can be) used for walking and grasping? Do kangaroos have 4 legs or two? This slender loris? The key problem is, that we tend to have an original represen

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

When all is one and one is all

When all is one and one is all

I may address the areas I only briefly mention another time. Many representations in life, be it an example, a parable, a chart or a system or classification are like Plato’s cave analogy and don’t or can’t fully or accurately represent reality or the thing it purports to reveal. A colourful pretty spreadsheet chart bears little resemblance to a bank vault or cheese shop, but it portrays what needs to be done or how well things are in the associated business, in a way that people can v

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

Extinction rebellion. Tribute to Emmanuel P.

Is intelligence and length of life an advantageous or a disadvantageous factor, evolutionarily? If an animal has a long life, it can (perhaps) reproduce more/for longer, but if factors affecting evolution, like the environment, change quickly, then genetic changes are slower and it may not survive the changes, especially if such changes occur within an individual's lifetime. If an animal has a short life expectancy, the speed of progressive change (in its progeny) will be faster and ab

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

Whales in the UK

The largest animal to have ever lived is the Sibbald’s Rorquel (as you all no doubt know). This (see attached image) is the mature foetus of a Fin whale, the second longest whale. This image clearly shows the tooth buds on this baleen whale, which no longer forms enamel and the tooth remnants are reabsorbed and don’t break the skin. Like all mammals, whales have hair. They also have legs in formation like land mammals, some even weight bearing. Unlike land mammals, they give birth to their young

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

More Axolotls

More Axolotls.   The axolotl (water monster) is one of my favourite animals. Despite what expert, ‘Linda Adkins’ says in her book, ‘Keeping Axolotls’, it is not a reptile. They are in a genus of 32 salamanders; salamanders are newts, (Caudata) which are amphibians, along with frogs and toads (Anura) and the wider caecilians (Gymnophiona). Other orders existed in the past. It’s from freshwater lakes and caves in Mexico and considered critically endangered on the IUCN register, but the

brachiosteve

brachiosteve

 

Ape-man

Ape-man. There is a chicken/egg misunderstanding from all sides about evolution, that because, we (humans for example) evolved from other apes, monkeys (similiformes), primates and mammals etc. that this means a non-human once gave birth to a human.  This has many implications beyond biology of course. But this is in fact not the case. If you were to go back and observe actual real time events, this is a scenario you would and could not experience. Taxonomically of course, the egg came

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