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Birds Surprise Evolutionists

first_img(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Whether considering their design or their evolution, scientists keep finding surprises in birds.Peacock tails are not a sexual-selection trade-off:  Popular opinion about peacock evolution is that the males traded flying ability for extravagant sexual displays.  Wrong, Science Magazine now tells us: “Peacocks need not sacrifice flying skills for sexiness.”  Experiments with clipped birds showed that “there was no statistically significant difference in flight performance of peacocks with intact tail feathers and those without.”  This result “complicates the common assumption in evolutionary biology that elaborate sexual ornaments must come at a cost to the animal.”  PhysOrg indicates that the team was surprised when they found that the take-off penalty for the heavy tail is negligible:“Intuitively you expect that the train would detrimentally affect flight performance and so not finding a detectable effect was a bit surprising,” Dr Askew said. “These birds do not seem to be making quite the sacrifices to look attractive we thought they were.“He added: “The train of the peacock is one of the most iconic examples of sexual selection in the animal kingdom. It has been thought that such elaborate ornamentation carries a functional cost for the bearer. These results therefore have broader ramifications for evolutionary biology’s understanding of sexual selection.“Maybe sexual selection is, indeed, the zombie idea that Angela Moles said it was (1/24/14).Parrot sociality:  Are parrots big-brained for their size because of complex social relationships?  Science Magazine links them with “humans, dolphins and hyenas” which purportedly have big brains relative to body size for that reason.  In “Complex social lives gave parrots big brains,” though, reporter Virginia Morell assumes the link, when it is hard to know which is the cause, and which the effect.  Simply observing that one species of parrot (the monk parakeet) has several relationships with other members of its population does not say how, or why, a bigger brain evolved or was even needed.  If this were a law of nature, why doesn’t it apply to honeybees and ants?How the hummingbird got its sweet tooth:  Charles Darwin was “spot-on” when he speculated about how birds acquired their tastes, Hannah Rowland says in The Conversation.  “Real taste [in] the mouth, according to my theory must be acquired by certain foods being habitual – hence become hereditary,” he had scribbled in his notes—a seeming Lamarckian suggestion.  Rowland, a Lecturer in Ecology and Evolution at University of Cambridge, pointed to mutations in taste genes that she says gave hummingbirds a sweet tooth, or rather sweet tongue: “Hummingbirds have co-opted genes that originally allowed dinosaurs to savour the taste of flesh, and transformed them into the sugar detectors most modern birds live without.”  A just-so story was sure to follow:Baldwin’s results show that Darwin was spot-on. Perhaps ancestral hummingbirds that lacked the sweet receptor frequented flowers to catch insects. On occasion they accidentally consumed some nectar. Small mutations in T1R1 and T1R3 would have allowed them to taste this sugary liquid, giving them access to a vital source of energy. This could have given nectar-sipping individuals the evolutionary upper hand compared to insect-eaters.How did other nectar-loving birds get their sweet tastes?  “Future research” will be required to confirm the just-so story for lorikeets, sunbirds and tanagers. Rowland failed to mention if mutations also “allowed” the hummingbirds to evolve their unique rotating shoulder, new flapping behaviors, vibrant optical feathers, nectar-trapping tongues and other designs highlighted in Flight: The Genius of Birds.The green wave:  Speaking of Flight, the film shows Arctic Terns taking an asymmetrical route on each leg of their annual journey.  PhysOrg notes that some 26 species of migrating birds also follow looped routes, apparently riding a “green wave” of vegetation that gives insectivorous birds a steady food supply over the seasons.  This is the conclusion of a crowdsourcing tool called eBird that allows citizen scientists to record their birdwatching observations.  This article did not mention evolution.Ostrich fun:  On Live Science, Alina Bradford listed some interesting facts about ostriches without any evolutionary storytelling.  Though the giant birds may seem handicapped because they can’t fly, they are very successful in their hot, dry habitat, getting the water they need from food.  They can live up to 75 years, run a sustained 40 miles an hour, and kill a lion with one kick.  They also have the largest eyes (2 inches) of any land animal.  “It may seem amazing that an ostrich’s thin legs can keep their large bodies upright,” Bradford says.  “Their legs are perfectly placed so that the body’s center of gravity balances on top of its legs,” giving them speed and maneuverability.  A male is called a rooster; a female a hen.  Incidentally, ostriches are listed in Job 39 as examples of the Creator’s handiwork.  Though not endowed with sense enough to care about her large eggs left on the ground, she has no fear: “When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.”  (The horse gets its comeuppance in the next few verses.)Breastbone evolution problem:  The dinosaur-to-bird evolution story just became a little more complicated.  PhysOrg explains the conundrum:It has always been difficult to understand how birds evolved from dinosaurs because of the strange combination of features observed in taxa inferred to be situated near this great evolutionary transition. For example, the sternum, also called the ‘breastbone’, is a large bone to which the lower ends of the bird’s ribs are attached. It is intrinsic to modern avian flight, providing the attachment surface for the two largest muscles in the body, the primary fight muscles the pectoralis and supracoracoideus. This bone is present in many dinosaurs inferred to be closely related to birds (e.g. Microraptor, Epidexipteryx) and most basal birds (e.g. Confuciusornis, enantiornithines) but strangely is absent in troodontid dinosaurs and the early birds Archaeopteryx and Sapeornis.A survey of all the extant fossils of Anchiornis, Archaeopteryx and Sapeornis published by Zhonge Zhou’s team in PNAS failed to find any clear evidence of a sternum in the three species, although they held out the possibility that “given the vagaries of taphonomy and preservation and the delicate nature of the thin sternum even when ossified, we cannot conclude unequivocally that a chondrified sternum was absent in either Anchiornis or Sapeornis.”  They invoked “developmental plasticity” as an explanation—a term Evolution News & Views said is teleological.The Chinese team had to sacrifice the notion that these species constituted an evolutionary sequence: “Based on this comparison, we suggest that Archaeopteryx, the oldest and most basal bird, also had no sternum, cartilaginous or otherwise,” they concluded.  “This observation suggests that this feature was the plesiomorphic [original ancestral] condition in Aves, which, in turn, suggests that basal bird sterna may not be truly homologous.”  It’s hard to imagine how these creatures could have flapped their wings, though, without a sternum.Were you ever told that “It has always been difficult to understand how birds evolved from dinosaurs”?  Most likely, you were given the impression that it was simple, a straight-line process, and an established fact.  There was an episode in one of the TV documentaries about bird evolution that portrayed a two-legged dinosaur walking, then running, then evolving into an Archaeopteryx and taking off into the air, all within a few seconds on screen.  Here at CEH, we bring you the real dirt from the journals, showing that the simplistic picture is cute, simple, and wrong.If we stripped the evolutionary assumptions and just-so stories out of the articles above, we would be left with clear evidence of design.  The design would be so impressive you might be tempted to build a nano-air vehicle (NAV) imitating a hummingbird.  You might take greater enjoyment with your pet parakeet’s cleverness.  You might be inspired to become a bird watcher with eBird, helping real science understand these amazing creatures that bring color and fascination to the skies, just like the Creator intended on day 6 of creation.last_img read more

ReadWriteWeb Events Guide, 5 June 2010

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting “Fab Labs”, Reinventing Manufacturing Practical and relevant insights from peers who have already used social media successfully20-plus corporate speakers (including PepsiCo, Whole Foods, Dell, McDonald’s, General Motors, Citi, Johnson & Johnson),Best practice, benchmarks and practical next steps you can use to take advantage of social media in your businessA tightly-focused agenda with 14 in-depth, practical workshops giving you knowledge on only the most critical business issues surrounding corporate use of social mediaSave $400 if you quote RWW400 when booking. Book here.21 – 25 June 2010: San Francisco, CaliforniaSemTech 2010SemTech 2010 is the world’s largest, most authoritative conference on semantic technology. The programs covers semantics in enterprise computing, consumer applications, search, Linked Data and social networking. SemTech is the place where the entire community gathers to do business – entrepreneurs and investors, researchers and product developers, marketers and customers.This year we have in-depth focus on industry applications in Healthcare, Life Sciences, Open Government, Publishing, Finance and Advertising. Case studies will be provided by early adopters including Best Buy, Biogen, Blue Cross, Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, DoD, Group M, Merck, Nokia, Pearson, Pfizer, Salesforce.com, US Air Force, University of Texas and the World Bank. The conference hashtag is #SemTech.22 – 24 June 2010: Santa Clara, CaliforniaVelocity Now in its third year, Velocity – the Web Performance and Operations Conference from O’Reilly Media – is dedicated to helping people build a better Internet that is Fast by Default. Join hundreds of web developers and experts under one roof from June 22-24, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA Velocity packs a wealth of big ideas, know-how, and connections into three concentrated days. You’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned immediately for high impact results and you’ll come away prepared for what’s ahead. O’Reilly Velocity 2010 is the premier conference dedicated to building industrial strength sites, at internet speed. Velocity”>Register Now and save 25% with discount code “vel10rww”. 5 October 2010: New York CityFinovateFallFinovateFall will return to Manhattan on Tuesday, October 5 to showcase dozens of the biggest and most innovative new ideas in financial and banking technology from established leaders and hot young companies. The Fall event is the original and largest Finovate and features a single day packed with our special blend of short, fast-paced onstage demos (no slides are allowed) and intimate networking time with top executives from the innovative demoing companies.FinovateFall is a unique chance to see the future of finance and banking before your competition and find the edge you need in today’s market. Early bird registration rates are available.29 – 30 March 2011: LondonSocial Media World Forum EuropeSocial Media World Forum Europe: Two days of interactive & engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking.Social Media World Forum Europe is continuing to evolve and deliver an event which is second to none, ensuring our audience receive the maximum potential from attending our shows. New for 2011 we have introduced interactive panel discussions, live streamed debate sessions, collaborative learning, break-out group discussions, open Q&A portions in every session, open workshops, with group discussions and interactive zones within the exhibition hall. We have introduced the Online Marketing Toolbox Workshops, educating in all elements of the online marketing mix, such as SEO, Paid Search, Affiliate, Mobile & Apps. The perfect toolbox to complete your online marketing strategy.Download this entire events calendar in iCal format. Related Posts ReadWrite Sponsors Blake Chandlee, VP & Commercial Director, EMEA, FacebookNicki Kenyon, Vice President, Digital Marketing APMEA, MasterCardReynold D’Silva, Global Brand Marketing Manager, UnileverPooja Arora, Brand Manager, P&GThomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific Director, 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations WorldwideLito S. German, Marketing Director, BMW Group AsiaRanjeet-Shandu Singh, Digital Project Manager, Ogilvy One SingaporeDerek Yeo, Head of Marketing, Tiger Airways People Hacks”, Distributing Control and Knowledge You’re invited to join ReadWriteWeb for our third event and our first on the East Coast: the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit, on June 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. This is our second Summit on the Real-Time Web, following on from our successful debut event in Mountain View last October. It will follow the same unconference format, which we have gotten a lot of great feedback on.The Real-Time Web is a set of technologies that impacts almost every service, activity and application on the Web. We were one of the first news outlets to analyze the Real-Time Web and we’ve since written extensively about it. Come to the summit to understand how it impacts you, your business and your next development.The ReadWriteWeb team is excited about our first New York event and we look forward to seeing you there!12 – 13 June 2010: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts2010 H+ Summit The focus of 2010’s H+ Summit is on the “Rise of the Citizen Scientist” and will feature 60 renowned speakers who are leaders and champions of global movements involving transformative science and technology. These thought-leaders will provide an early look at the trends and technologies that attendees will be writing, speaking and communicating about for the next twenty years.Three of the Summit‘s featured speakers include Ray Kurzweil, noted futurist, Stephen Wolfram, creator of Wolfram|Alpha, and Andrew Hessel, an outspoken advocate and champion of DNA technology. The visionary thinking of Kurzweil, Wolfram and Hessel is representative of the level of trend-setting talks that will be featured in the 2010 H+ Summit.15 – 16 June 2010: New York CityCorporate Social Media Summit The Corporate Social Media Summit is a two day conference focused exclusively on how big businesses can take advantage of social media to enhance their marketing/comms strategy. Featuring: Tags:#Events Guide#web center_img “Privacy Revisited”, Protect and ProjectSpeakers include Sam Pitroda, advisor to India’s PM on innovation; Alma Whitten, Google’s privacy lead; Haakon Karlsen, Fab Labs Foundation; Michael Cross, FreeOurData.org; Amit Zoran, MIT Smart Cities Lab; Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French minister for the Digital Economy; Geoff Mulgan, the Young Foundation.7 July 2010: Melbourne, AustraliaDigital Sport SummitDigital Sport Summit is Australia’s premier sport and digital media event. Hear from social media pioneers who are changing the face of Australian sport. Learn how social media and mobile technology is taking fan engagement to a whole new level.Speakers on the day will cover a variety of topics including:iPhone application development for sportConvincing management of the case for social mediaHow to monetize social mediaFantasy sportsSocial media from an athlete’s perspectiveWith speakers representing Essendon Football Club, Cricket Victoria, Herald Sun, Football Federation Australia and more. Digital Sport Summit will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.22 – 23 September 2010: SingaporeSocial Media World Forum AsiaSocial Media World Forum Asia is back for 2010. The event will be taking place at the larger venue – The Suntec Conference Centre – before the F1 Singapore night race. Two days of interactive and engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking. Speakers include: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market 29 – 30 June 2010: LondonCloud Computing World Forum The 2nd annual Cloud Computing World Forum is the perfect event to learn and discuss the development, integration, adoption and future of cloud computing and SaaS. Building on the success of the 2009 show, this two day conference and free-to-attend exhibition will provide a focused platform for the global cloud and SaaS industry. Show highlights include: Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Together we will explore 4 major topics:“Web Squared”, Making Sense of the World through Shared Data Co-located with CloudCamp LondonCo-located with Green IT conferenceFree-to-attend exhibition with seminar and scenario theatreFree-to-attend evening awards presentationHear from leading case studies on how they have integrated cloud computing and SaaS into their working practicesLearn from the key players offering cloud and SaaS servicesEvening networking party for all attendees5 – 7 July 2010: Marseilles, FranceLift France ’10Lift France gathers pioneers from all over the world to explore how the technologies and concepts of the Web are changing the real world. Through a combination of workshops, inspiring talks, and innovative demos, Lift offers a chance to anticipate the major shifts ahead, and meet the people who drive them. Blogs with Balls 3 is happening in Chicago this weekend; next week’s H+ Summit is all about the “Rise of the Citizen Scientist”; and a few days after that is the Corporate Social Media Summit, which features speakers from McDonald’s, Adidas, PepsiCo, Dell, Johnson & Johnson and Nokia. And don’t forget about the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit on June 11. We’d love to have you join us.How do you like your events guide? You can import individual events into Google Calendar using the link beside each entry, or download the entire thing as an iCal (and Google Calendar-importable) file, or even view it as a world map. Know of something cool taking place that should appear here? Let us know in the comments below or contact us.4 – 6 June 2010: Chicago, ILBlogs with Balls 3 The bright future of sports media gathers for Blogs with Balls 3 in Chicago at the legendary Wrigley Field. This third installment of the conference focuses on sports and local media, the ever-changing face of traditional media, as well as all the ways that mobile and emerging technologies are changing the world of the sports fan (and the companies trying to reach him or her) today. Feature speakers from established players like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports & The Sporting News and emerging blogging/podcasting personalities and sports new media entrepreneurs, not to mention former professional athletes who are bolstering their brand through digital.Register before May 15 and save more than $50 off the full ticket price at blogswithballs3.eventbrite.com. Use discount code RWWxBWB11 June 2010: New York Citylast_img read more

Yavatmal farmer commits suicide, blames Modi in note

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NIA raids Asiya Andrabi’s house in Srinagar

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