Natural Selection and Random Mutations

Evolgen has a great post on the randomness of mutations. Check it out. Also 10 bonus points if you can name the anonymous troll! Hint: He used to comment a lot at The Panda’s Thumb.

Kennewick Man

Study will, finally begin on the Kennewick skeletal material.
Preliminary examination will focus on taphonomic issues:

The researchers plan to do what is called a “taphonomic” examination of the skeleton, taking measurements and making observations about the processes that affect animal and plant remains as they become fossilized. Further study is planned based on the initial findings, Schneider said.

“Taphonomy is really a forensic examination,” Schneider said. “You try to determine everything that has affected the skeleton from day of death until you study it.”

This sounds to me like the AP writer doesn’t know much about anthropology. Several studies have already been made of the skeleton in connexion with the court case and a complete inventory of the material has already been made, which doesn’t preclude them from being done again.
Something like the following will probably happen. They will lay all the skletal material out, on a table, in anatomical positition. the bones will be inventoried. Then each bone will be examined for pathology and damage (animal gnawing, damage caused by the fossilization process, etc), then each bone will be measured and the measurements will be compared, later, with measurments in any number of databases. For example, the University of Tennessee houses a large amount of Arikira skeltal material. It also houses a large sample of modern forensic skeletal material. I have been meaning to do a post along these lines so sometime in the next couple of days I put something more indepth up.

The Culture of Life Hates Pregnant Women, Unborn Babies and Children

Lets start with this:

The Bush administration lifted a moratorium imposed in 1998 by the Clinton administration on using human testing for pesticide approvals. Under the change, political appointees are refereeing on a case-by-case basis any ethical disputes over human testing.

The tests include a 2002-04 study by University of California-San Diego in which chloropicrin, an insecticide that during World War I was a chemical warfare agent, was administered to 127 young adults in doses that exceeded federal safety limits by 12 times.

New EPA rules under development envision permitting the agency to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses. Even newborns of “uncertain viability” could be tested under the draft EPA rule.

Here’s where the story gets a little complicated. A provision was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer that would prevent such testing. The provision was approved by a 60-37 vote. But there is a problem:

Ordinarily, approval by both House and Senate would ensure the language is retained in the final version of the bill. But GOP floor manager Conrad Burns, R-Mont., opposed Boxer’s amendment, and as lead Senate negotiator on the bill, is well-positioned to kill it in future talks with the House.

Burns countered with an amendment, adopted 57-40, in favor of human testing. It instructs the EPA to study whether human testing is conducted ethically whether the benefits outweigh the risks to volunteers.

50-47 that sounds almost like a straight party line vote to me. At any rate it sounds like the Culture of Life loving republicans are saying it’s okay for pesticide makers to test pesticides on pregnant women and unborn children but abortions are out? Or did I miss something?

Here is the rest of the Story

Harvard Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

The Culture of Life has Confusing Rules

Liberal hunting permit Posted by Hello

Creek Running North has a post about the above picture. He also links to a excellent post on the same subject by Orcinus

So, if I understand the rules correctly, Dick Durbin has to apologize for comparing torture at Gitmo to…well other folks who engage in torture. Yet the above kind of hatered and villification of liberals is okay?

P.S. afarensis is a bit of a fiesty liberal. His response is:

Anytime you think you are man enough come on and try to hunt this liberal!


Anybody know anything about who or what this is:

Dear potential Speaker:

On behalf of the organizing committee, I would like to extend a cordial
invitation for you to attend one of the upcoming IPSI BgD multidisciplinary,
interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary conferences.

The first one will take place in the Venice, Italy:

Hotel Luna Baglioni (arrival: 9 November 05 / departure: 14 November 05)
New Deadlines: 1 July 05 (abstract) / 1 August 05 (full paper)

The second one will take place on the Bled lake, Slovenia:

Hotel Toplice (arrival: 8 December 05 / departure: 11 December 05)
New Deadlines: 10 July 05 (abstract) & 1 September 05 (full paper)

The third one will take place in New York City, NY, USA:

Hotel Beacon (arrival: 5 January 06 / departure: 8 January 06)
New Deadlines: 1 August 05 (abstract) & 1 October 05 (full paper)

All IPSI BgD conferences are non-profit. They bring together the elite of the
world science; so far, we have had seven Nobel Laureates speaking at the opening
ceremonies. The conferences always take place in some of the most attractive
places of the world. All those who come to IPSI conferences once, always love to
come back (because of the unique professional quality and the extremely creative
atmosphere); lists of past participants are on the web, as well as details of
future conferences.

These conferences are in line with the newest recommendations of the US National
Science Foundation and of the EU research sponsoring agencies, to stress
multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research (M+I+T++
research). The speakers and activities at the conferences truly support this
type of scientific interaction.

One of the main topics of this conference is “E-education and E-business
with Special Emphasis on Semantic Web and Web Datamining”

Other topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

* Internet
* Computer Science and Engineering
* Mobile Communications/Computing for Science and Business
* Management and Business Administration
* Education
* e-Medicine
* e-Oriented Bio Engineering/Science and Molecular Engineering/Science
* Environmental Protection
* e-Economy
* e-Law
* Technology Based Art and Art to Inspire Technology Developments
* Internet Psychology

If you would like more information on either conference, please reply to this
e-mail message.

If you plan to submit an abstract and paper, please let us know immediately for
planning purposes. Note that you can submit your paper also to the IPSI
Transactions journal.

Sincerely Yours,

Prof. V. Milutinovic, Chairman,
IPSI BgD Conferences

Please let me know.

A Little Help: Woodstock of Evolution

Somewhere in my Bloggy wanderings, today, I came across a blog that had an interesting discussion of a recent evolution conference on the Galopagos – which I now can’t find (I was at work, it was lunch, I thought I would remember where I found it). It had a link to a Scientific American story about the event. If anyone knows this blog let me know.

Anyway the event in question was the “World Summit on Evolution” held in the Galopagos June 9th-12th. It was a star studded extravaganza featuring some of the biggest names in the study of evolution (William Calvin, Daniel Dennett, Niles Eldredge, Douglas Futuyma, Peter and Rosemary Grant, Antonio Lazcano, Lynn Margulis, William Provine, William Schopf, Frank Sulloway, Timothy White, and others.)

Here is a link to Michael Shermer’s first hand account The Woodstock of Evolution.

A teaser:

Day One : General Vision of Evolution

With 210 people in attendance (in a healthy blend of graduate students and professors), the conference began on a hot and humid Wednesday night with a lecture on the geological history and biological diversity of the islands by Carlos Valle, the first resident of the Galapagos to ever earn a Ph.D. This was followed by Frank Sulloway’s visually stunning presentation on his research project to document the ecological changes in the islands from his first visit in 1968 to the present (in which Frank has painstakingly hiked to the exact spots he stood decades ago so that photo comparisons are accurate and meaningful). Through before and after photos it became clear just how much damaged has been caused by such introduced species as goats, who have deforested entire mountains on some islands, thereby robbing the native species of a natural resource.

New Species of Catfish Discovered

A new species of catfish has been discovered in Mexico. The species represents a new family of catfish and is only the and is only the third new family of fish found in the last sixty years. From the article:

Lundberg, the Academy’s Curator of Ichthyology, said only about 30 of the fish have been found since the 1990s and only one specimen was collected in a recent five-day expedition. “The unexpected discovery of this enigmatic new family of fishes in one of the world’s most biogeographically complex regions emphasizes how little we know about Mesoamerica’s biotic legacy and conservation value,” Lundberg said. “This find reminds us that the most basic scientific inventory of Earth’s biodiversity is woefully incomplete.”
Anatomical studies aided by high-resolution computer images allowed researchers to pinpoint key differences from other species in the bone structure of the skull, the shape of the air bladder and the articulation of a barbel (the part that resembles a cat’s whisker). Studies also show the fish is the only member of an ancient group that may have arisen millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
“Realizing now that the Chiapas catfish is highly unusual, it is critical that we learn the details of its diet and habitat requirements and reproductive biology,” Lundberg said. “This will require a focused study of the species in its natural habitat.”

That habitat is of concern to researchers, however. The fish was found in and around Montes Azules, a jungle reserve in a region threatened by logging, expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching and the damming of rivers.

From Catfish Bones

and this cool CT scan

Go here for more CT scans.

And here is something for the ID Creationist to think about. One species is a representitive of a family. What do you (ID Creationist) suppose it all means?

Snail’s Tales: Thanks for the Reminder

Darwin Statue at Shrewsbury Posted by Hello

Snail’s Tales has a timely reminder. July 1st is the 147th anniversery of Darwin and Wallace presenting the theory of Natural Selection before the Linnean Society.

Transitions News

DarkSyd at Unscrewing the Inscrutable has sent me a post on bird evolution for Transitions. Check it out! Thanks to DarkSyd – and everybody else who has participated, given me advice or mentioned it on their blog!

On a related note, one or more people (you ought to be ashamed of yourselves) tried to spam Transitions. Fortunately, Blogsome’s anti-spam software caught it all.