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The Panda's Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara. The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation. Movable Type Pro 4.381
Updated: 2 weeks 5 days ago

Belated Happy 271st Birthday, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet!

Fri, 2015-08-07 16:16
Who? The Chevalier de Lamarck, that’s who. Born 1 August 1744, he was the first evolutionary biologist who gave a mechanism that could, in principle, explain adaptation. Even though his mechanism was wrong, he was a true pioneer and a great biologist. (I’ll leave this post short, so as not to push Matt’s photo contest off the page).... Joe Felsenstein http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html
Categories: Pro-Science News

Actias luna

Fri, 2015-08-07 16:16
Photograph by Tom Gillespie. Photography Contest, Second Place. Actias luna – Luna moth, Duluth, Georgia. Shot from underneath, as it was resting upside-down in my azalea bush.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Domesticated: Book review

Wed, 2015-07-29 22:13
A number of years ago, I found a family of raccoons living in my chimney.1 I got them out by dropping a trouble light down the flue and turning it on for a few days. According to Richard C. Francis, in his splendid book, Domesticated, animals such as raccoons living in urbanized areas represent the first step toward domesticating those animals. The full title of the book is Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World, and... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Luskin makes more mistakes on the Cambrian and Cladistics

Thu, 2015-07-23 06:05
(edited to add a point on Aegirocassis and Parapeytoia) This week, the Discovery Institute Press put out another book called Debating Darwin’s Doubt. I took one for the team and bought it, in part because a a decent chunk of the book is responding to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been mentioned so much in a book! Sadly, though, looking through it, almost all of it is material re-hashed from the DI “Evolution News... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

Melting of polar ice

Wed, 2015-07-22 18:54
Photograph by Dan Moore. Photography Contest VII: Winner. Melting of polar ice. Mr. Moore writes, “Our ship got caught in the ice and had to be freed by a Canadian ice breaker. Global warming – what?? Actually, yes – we could not get through because so much ice broke free further north near the polar ice cap and was blown south into the shipping channels.” Mr. Moore will receive a signed copy of Why Evolution... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Pluto and Spiderman

Wed, 2015-07-22 18:54
Spiderman Shpiderman – a penpal of mine, who can identify himself if he likes (I will of course understand if he demurs), asks, There’s a lot of excitement and amazement about the lack of cratering and the height and sharpness of the geological features on Pluto. It appears that, contrary to earlier speculation, Pluto is geologically active and thus geologically young…though “young” in the sense that these features are probably less than 100 million... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Little Ice Age coming?

Wed, 2015-07-22 18:54
I do not know what to make of this, but UPI reports that a team from the University of Northumbria, “saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun’s normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 – triggering the ‘mini ice age’ that could last for a decade.” That sentence is unclear, but I presume they mean “normal sunspot activity.” As they do not quite say, the northern hemisphere (at... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Why are giant pandas so lazy?

Wed, 2015-07-22 18:54
Professor Steve Steve informs us of an article Why are pandas so lazy? in Science Now. Professor Steve Steve takes exception to the claim that he is lazy. Yes, it is true that the giant panda’s daily energy expenditure is about 5 MJ: roughly one-third that of a dog and about the same as a three-toed sloth. It is also true that Professor Steve Steve moves slowly and basks a lot in the sun. Why?... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Photography Contest VII: Finalists

Wed, 2015-07-08 09:23
Here are the finalists of the 2015 photography contest. We received 16 photographs from 7 photographers, somewhat fewer than in previous years. This year we decided to choose 1 picture from each entrant and enlisted our wife to help with the choices. The text was written by the photographers and lightly edited for consistency. The finalists are given below the proverbial fold, in alphabetical order of last name. Please look through their photographs before voting... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Awful lot of gopher steel in this structure

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
Source.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Zenaida macroura

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
Zenaida macroura – mourning dove, Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, Boulder, Colorado, spring, 2015. I have not seen nor heard a mourning dove within the city limits since the collared doves took over. Photography contest finalists next week, July 6, noon, CST.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

The leap second and the creationist

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
I have got to stop following links in e-mails from AIG. Today I read the most bizarre article by Dr. Danny Faulkner, an astrophysicist who must have slept through his celestial mechanics courses. Dr. Faulkner discusses the leap second that will be added at 23:59:59 UTC (GMT) on June 30. He notes correctly that the rotation of the Earth is slowing down, and the moon is consequently drifting farther from the Earth. He then observes,... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Zack Kopplin gets nice write-up in Mother Jones

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
You can read it for yourself here. But, for my money, Mr. Kopplin exposes Gov. Bobby Jindal’s inner hypocrite with these too kind words: “I mean, who knows? I could be totally wrong, and maybe Jindal believes this [creationism] with his whole heart. Which is more why I go back to what his kids are learning. I had their seventh-grade biology teacher at [University Laboratory School] where I went for middle school, and I know... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Will AIG return the Allosaurus fossil?

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
Dan Phelps alerted us to the fact that AIG’s Allosaurus fossil had been donated by an organization headed by Michael Peroutka, a man affiliated with “a white supremacist, neo-Confederate and pro-secessionist organization that has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Mr. Phelps now writes, Interesting that this press release didn’t get any coverage when I sent out the information last year. The Creation Museum received an Allosaurus dinosaur fossil appraised... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Unidentified fossil

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
David MacMillan, who wrote an 8-part series on creationism for us, sent us these 4 photographs, along with the following request: “I recently moved back to central Kentucky. One of the things I came across while visiting my family was this fossilized object I discovered near my home here when I was about 9 or 10 years old. “Back in the late 90s, we were living in a new development and there was a... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Ondatra zibethicus

Sun, 2015-07-05 00:30
Ondatra zibethicus – muskrat, Elmer’s Two-Mile Creek, Boulder, Colorado, May, 2015. The muskrat shown here disappeared after the 2013 flood, and I did not see any muskrats again till this spring. Don’t forget to enter the photography contest – 1 week remaining!... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Is Justice Scalia a creationist?

Sat, 2015-06-13 15:44
The Washington Post reported the other day that Justice Antonin Scalia, in a commencement address, said, Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were. I suppose that “at least 5000 years” gives you some wiggle room, but I would hardly call, say, 200,000 years “at least 5000 years.”... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Photography Contest VII

Sat, 2015-06-13 15:44
Polish your lenses, oil your tripods, search your archives – the seventh Panda’s Thumb photography contest, begins – now! Polaroid Land Camera, Model 160, 1962-1965. Apologies for the moiré pattern on the face of camera! We will accept entries from 12:00 CST, June 8, through 12:00 CST, June 22. We encourage pictures of just about anything of scientific interest. If we get enough entries, consistently with Rules 11 and 12, we may assign entries to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Selasphorus platycercus

Tue, 2015-06-02 17:39
Photograph by David Young. Selasphorus platycercus – broad-tailed hummingbird, Boulder, Colorado, May, 2015.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Photography contest VII, coming up ...

Thu, 2015-05-28 02:52
… June 8. That is, we will accept entries from noon, June 8, to noon, June 22, where noon is defined by the Panda’s Thumb server, which thinks it is still in Central Standard Time, or UTC(GMT) – 5 h. The rules will be essentially the same as previous years’. We have not chosen categories yet, but please be assured that they (or it) will be all-inclusive. So wipe your lenses, grease your shutters, and... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News