Carnival of Evolution 47: All the Evolution News that’s Fit to Blog

Welcome to the 47th edition of the Carnival of Evolution. We have had our science reporters out in force hunting down the best of the blogosphere on evolution and related subjects, and here they are for your delectation and delight and other d-words. First some links I encountered in my random walk through the webbies: Face Read More…

The Knight’s Song, or What is a [scientific] theory?

“Or else it doesn’t, you know. The name of the song is called ‘Haddocks’ Eyes.’” “Oh, that’s the name of the song, is it?” Alice said, trying to feel interested. “No, you don’t understand,” the Knight said, looking a little vexed. “That’s what the name is called. The name really is ‘The Aged Aged Man.’” “Then I Read More…

The ecological equivalent of Evolving Thoughts

I have been casting my beadies over this blog, Oikos Blog, which looks to take a critical and philosophical eye to ecology. It appears to have some careful and deep critics on it, and what is more, at least one of them likes Evolving Thoughts. What better recommendation?

The mind of the ecological engineer

I watched a very interesting documentary episode recently, entitled “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” (a phrase of poet Richard Brautigan’s), in which the maker Adam Curtis put forward the view that ecology was founded (at least in its modern iteration) in direct analogy with the view of cybernetics that complex systems find Read More…

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists 3: clades and grades

Rise of the Planet of the Moralists Series1: Introduction2: Chains and Trees 3: Clades and grades4: Predicting traits5: Social dominance and power Note: My researchers readers have inundated provided me with all kinds of interesting references (hi Jeb and Jocelyn). One that is particularly interesting is this book. It appears to make many of the Read More…

Ecological speciation

A new paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology (link below) assesses the possibility of speciation by ecological differentiation in conjunction with geographical isolation. The interesting thing here is that it takes two views previously considered as antagonists and combines them into a single model. “Standard” views of speciation assume that a population has to Read More…

Counting species

Suppose a scholar of toys wanted to count the number of kinds of toys in the world. Since this information is not generally recorded, the scholar might look at the ways toys are used, the sales figures, or the designs recorded in the patents and trademarks offices in order to estimate the tips and numbers Read More…

Australian scientists resign from Murray-Darling Water commission due to a lack of heed

I don’t usually post these announcements, but GetUp are reliable and on target. Today it was revealed that key scientists have walked away from the government’s Murray Darling Basin Authority process in protest. Right now the Murray Darling Basin Authority is in the final stages of recommending how to deal with the water crisis in Read More…

Darwin Day: Enough already

I love studying about Darwin and his life and times. I have read enormous amounts, and taught Darwinian history. I’m teaching it again this semester. But enough already. Can we talk about modern biology now? I get a strong impression ( and that’s all this is, as I can’t find empirical studies that support me, Read More…

How many species of plant are there?

It should be a simple question. After all, we have been describing, naming, and studying species of plants for 500 years, and the whole system of nomenclature and classification was developed in order to list plants. Estimate range widely, from 200,000 to nearly 300,000 or even 400,000 [also here] and up. There are about one Read More…