01 August 2009

Carnival of Evolution 14

Welcome to Quintessence of Dust and to the 14th Edition of the monthly Carnival of Evolution. Thanks for stopping by, and for supporting scientific carnivalia, members of a taxon that seems to be flirting with extinction.

One good reason to visit a carnival: brain stimulation. Brain Stimulant offers some thoughts and speculations on Free Will and the Brain, touching briefly on themes of selection and adaptation, and he doesn't charge as much as the clinic would.

Another good reason: you can bump into real scientists, the kind who actually work on evolution. Ryan Gregory has a day job as an expert on genome evolution, but somehow finds the time to blog at Genomicron. Recent entries there include fascinating pictures of ongoing field work. For this month's carnival, be sure to read two reviews of the ideas of Stephen Jay Gould, focusing on controversial papers by Gould published in 1980 and 1982. You may find that you have been misinformed about Gould's positions, and you'll surely learn more about evolution.

Michael White at Adaptive Complexity is another blogging scientist, and he writes very clearly about parasitic DNA in Selfish Gene Confusion.

David Basanta is a biologist who runs a cool blog called Cancerevo: Evolution and cancer, which is subtitled "Studying cancer as an evolutionary disease." Check it out, and don't miss his recent piece on Stem cells and ecosystems.

Zen Faulkes is a biologist who blogs at Neurodojo. That's cool enough, but the subtitle of that blog is "Train your brain." Hey, this could be a theme for the whole carnival! He recently wrote about a walking bat in New Zealand. Bat evolution...we can't get enough of that. I've written about it myself.

Brains and their origins come up in an extensive discussion of early animal evolution at AK's Rambling Thoughts. The post is The Earliest Eumetazoan Progression.

At The Loom, the peerless Carl Zimmer discusses AIDS in chimps and the relevance of the story to conceptions of scientific progress. AIDS and The Virtues of Slow-Cooked Science is engrossing and important. And John Wilkins discusses some new fossil apes in an excellent recent post at Evolving Thoughts.

John Lynch reviews a new book on Alfred Russell Wallace. Caveat lector. Brian at Laelaps takes us on a historical tour of the work of Florentino Ameghino. Are those elephants or not? Brian's discussion is typically excellent.

At The Spittoon, AnneH discusses new findings concerning both the past and the future of the mammalian Y chromosome.

Hoxful Monsters is a future host of this carnival; Nagraj recently reviewed some recent work on pattern formation in the development of spiders. Wonderful evo-devo stuff.

Someone at Wired wrote some swill about the "10 Worst Evolutionary Designs" which annoyed a few smart bloggers. At Deep-Sea News, Dr. M sets the record straight. The title is self-explanatory: Worst Evolutionary Designs? No! Brilliant Solutions to the Complexity of Nature and Constraints.

Larry Moran at Sandwalk is attending a conference entitled Perspectives on the Tree of Life. He's posted reviews of days one and two so far.

And that's our carnival. Thanks for reading, and on the way out I hope you'll look at my nearly-complete series on Notch and deep homology.

Next month's edition will appear at Southern Fried Science. To submit posts, use the submission form found at the Carnival of Evolution site. And if you like the carnival, help us promote it with a link, and/or consider hosting. More info at the carnival site.