evolution

Rickard Ignell, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences/Wikimedia

Urban dwellers get understandably upset when their homes are invaded by rats or bedbugs or other unwelcome creatures. 

But hardly anybody stops to think that the animals are there BECAUSE the city is there.  And that is very likely the case... many creatures evolved differently because of urban environments. 

Marc Johnson at the University of Toronto just published a paper in Science detailing some of the evolutionary changes apparently forced by urban environments. 

How We Move = Who We Are

Apr 20, 2016
Basic Books

"Something in the way she moves..."  George Harrison had a particular person in mind when he wrote his song, but movement really makes us who we are. 

Case in point: sharks and dolphins.  One's a fish, one's a mammal, but because of where they live and how they have to move, they look very similar. 

Other astounding parallels abound in nature, and they are well-documented in biologist Matt Wilkinson's book Restless Creatures

Your Home Becomes You, In A Way

Jan 13, 2016
Basic Books

There's no place like home, jillions of people once said. 

And there's nothing like a human, we should add. 

Because humans and homes are intricately interconnected, a connection explored by anthropologist John Allen in Home: How Habitat Made Us Human

We learn much about how our making of homes makes us different from other species--all of them.

When Evolution Speeds Up

Jan 7, 2016
University of Oregon

You can't sit in one place and watch evolution happen.  But you might be able to come back after a while and see the evidence of it. 

And in a remarkably short time, it turns out. 

Scientists at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Oregon discovered that the huge Alaska earthquake of 1964--the one that caused the Crescent City tsunami--forced sudden changes in a species of fish. 

NASA/Public Domain

We are polarized about so many things, we often shy away from engaging in conversation with people who think differently from us. 

Prime example: evolution versus creationism.  But suppose somebody brings up the subject and cites "facts" you know to be untrue... what do you do? 

Dr. Jon Peters is a physician who gives lectures on the evidence supporting evolution. 

guernicamag.org

If you believe in evolution, does that make you a Democrat? 

That IS the general trend in America, and one of the topics in this week's VENTSday segment, the other being a new plan for dividing California.