Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Sneaky Cats

Evolutionary researchers at Duke University recently published a study where they investigate the differences in gait between cats and dogs, seen from an evolutionary point of view. What they found was that evolution seems to have take two entirely different paths. Dogs have a very energy-efficient style of running, so they can chase prey over larger areas without burning too much energy. Cats on the other hand have a much more inefficient gait, but it is perfect for slow movements, enabling them to sneak up on prey covertly. The study was published in the Public Library of Science.

In the study, Kristin Bishop, Daniel Schmitt and Anita Pai videotaped six housecats moving along a runway chasing food/toys++. They found that the cats were able to reduce the muscular work needed to move forwards by about 37%, while long-distance predators, like dogs, are able to reduce it by 70%. This suggest a trade-off for the cats where the ability to move stealthily evolved at the cost of more inefficient gait. 

Oh, and humans have about the same gait efficiency as dogs, ie about 70%. Hurray for bipedalism! 

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Biology, Evolution, Creationism and ID | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unforeseen Advantages of Gay Intercourse in Beetles

Why homosexuality have persisted is, from an evolutionary stand point, not really completely understood. It has been suggested that it may provide a way for males to exert dominance over each other, a way for males to “practice” for straight sex or that it may just be an epiphenomenon of other evolutionary traits. Well, a new study showed that male flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum) actually transfer sperm when having gay intercourse, and that this sperm, occasionally, could be transferred to the female when the receiving male beetle later reproduces. This did not happen often though (only in about 1% of the cases), but it could still provide an evolutionary advantage for beetles participating in gay intercourse. Really kind of fascinating…. (In all fairness, the researchers also suggested that male-on-male intercourse could be a way of dumping old sperm, but that would be the boring explanation, wouldn’t it?) For those interested, here is a video of the beetles getting it on.

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questionable Quotes

Or, “why pulling random quotes out of your ass in a scientific argument has zero value”.

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October 5, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Skepticism, Other | , , , , | Leave a comment

Expelled Exposed

Anybody who has not visited Expelled Exposed yet should do so. It clearly shows how Ben Stein and his minions twist and lie about the facts in his movie Expelled. In doing so, it also explains a lot of the aspects of evolution science.

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September 30, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Skepticism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Discovery Substitute

Discovery Institute is a nonpartisan public policy think tank conducting research on technology, science and culture, economics and foreign affairs.

Well, not really…. They have a fancy web site, but they don’t really give a damn about science, evidence or logic. This is exemplified by one of their bloggers Casey Luskins later posts.

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September 28, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Skepticism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Evolution in a nutshell

This is an old video, but I nevertheless thought I would post it here and try to explain why it is just total bs.

So, basically this guy Chuck Missler just doesn’t know the first thing about evolution or logic, and here’s why:

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September 27, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Creationism and ID, General Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment