Contributing to the continual development of the theory of evolution, an Oxford study challenges Darwin’s view on the role of competition in the evolution of species. According to one researcher, while Darwin’s model is not wrong, other mechanisms likely come into play during speciation. Along that line, it’s worth reading the report on a Princeton study from last summer on evolution at the genetic level. Researchers in the study concluded that evolutionary advantages are conferred not by a single genetic mutation but by small groups of five to seven mutations working together.
An ancient ancestor of modern carnivores was recently discovered in Belgium. NBC News reports that the two-pound, tree-dwelling animal, known as Dormaalocyon latouri, appears in the fossil record about 56 million years ago. From our own family tree, researchers at Oxford have concluded that tiger nuts, a certain type of grass bulb, likely formed the basis of our ancestors’ diet in East Africa about 2 million years ago. That helps tie together observations about hominins’ flat teeth and strong jaws.
The massive rain in England has been causing the cliffs in Hastings to erode. Some dramatic videos catch the spectacular events. Such erosion in this area played a big part in our understanding of the geologic column and in early systematic study of fossils. This website describes what you can see in Hastings along those lines.
Last time we pointed you to Pew Research Center’s study on the acceptance of evolution among Americans; among the follow-up news stories was this article in USA Today, which provides a helpful framework for the discussion of the relationship of science and faith. The author, Tom Krattenmaker, points out that acceptance of evolution, as a scientific process, is not incompatible with devotion to God. The work of reconciling Christianity and academia, especially science, is continued in this blog post on Jesus Creed, which highlights contributions from the English scientist and theologian John Polkinghorne on the importance of recognizing “the presence of the Spirit in the truth-seeking communities of the church.” In the midst of these ongoing discussions, philosopher William Lane Craig asserts that the future of Christianity in America is bright. In a recent article by TheBlaze, Craig cites the rise of Christian philosophy, and its potential to positively impact culture, as reasons for his hope.
On a lighter note, a Pinterest collection of “Women using scientific instruments” has garnered a considerable amount of web traffic. Details on the board from its creator, Rebekah Higgett, can be found in this article on The Guardian. Sports and science aficionados will appreciate NBC’s series of videos on the science behind the upcoming Winter Olympics. And space.com reports on Hubble’s recently discovered remnant of a supernova that has been dubbed the “Hand of God.”