How sticky toepads evolved in geckos


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We would direct your attention back a few slides in Tegmark’s show to a photograph of a group of sharp-looking college students wearing black T-shirts with red-and-white lettering.  Tegmark knows all about the symbols in white: those are Maxwell’s Equations, a set of four equations that James Clerk Maxwell, a Christian and creationist, derived to explain all electromagnetic phenomena.  The caption in red letters reads, “And God said,” [Maxwell’s Equations], “and there was light.” (See similar design close up here.)

  • We would direct your attention back a few slides in Tegmark’s show to a photograph of a group of sharp-looking college students wearing black T-shirts with red-and-white lettering.  Tegmark knows all about the symbols in white: those are Maxwell’s Equations, a set of four equations that James Clerk Maxwell, a Christian and creationist, derived to explain all electromagnetic phenomena.  The caption in red letters reads, “And God said,” [Maxwell’s Equations], “and there was light.” (See similar design close up here.)

  • We invite these highly intelligent but misguided individuals, lost in the dark, to come to the light.  It’s so much easier to work with proper lighting; much more satisfying, too.



Science Daily just picked up on a press release from Oxford University that came out two weeks ago: the discovery of exquisitely-preserved Ediacaran creatures.  Both articles explained that the Ediacaran fauna appear to bear no relationship to the Cambrian animals that came (in Darwin years) millions of years later, even though “where exactly they fit in the tree of life is unclear.”  The discoverers believe the animals are baby rangeomorphs, animals with frond-like structures that “lived deep beneath the ocean where there would have been no light.”

  • Science Daily just picked up on a press release from Oxford University that came out two weeks ago: the discovery of exquisitely-preserved Ediacaran creatures.  Both articles explained that the Ediacaran fauna appear to bear no relationship to the Cambrian animals that came (in Darwin years) millions of years later, even though “where exactly they fit in the tree of life is unclear.”  The discoverers believe the animals are baby rangeomorphs, animals with frond-like structures that “lived deep beneath the ocean where there would have been no light.”



That’s where their explanation for the burial seems puzzling: “A volcanic eruption around 579 million years ago buried a ‘nursery’ of the earliest-known animals under a Pompeii-like deluge of ash, preserving them as fossils in rocks in Newfoundland, new research suggests.”  Lest one think this was an undersea volcano, Professor Martin Brasier clarified it:

  • That’s where their explanation for the burial seems puzzling: “A volcanic eruption around 579 million years ago buried a ‘nursery’ of the earliest-known animals under a Pompeii-like deluge of ash, preserving them as fossils in rocks in Newfoundland, new research suggests.”  Lest one think this was an undersea volcano, Professor Martin Brasier clarified it:



‘We think that, around 579 million years ago, an underwater ‘nursery’ of baby Ediacaran fronds was overwhelmed, Pompeii-style, by an ash fall from a volcanic eruption on a nearby island that smothered and preserved them for posterity.’

  • ‘We think that, around 579 million years ago, an underwater ‘nursery’ of baby Ediacaran fronds was overwhelmed, Pompeii-style, by an ash fall from a volcanic eruption on a nearby island that smothered and preserved them for posterity.’

  • By all accounts, the inhabitants of Pompeii that were buried by the ash fall from Mt. Vesuvius did not live at the bottom of the sea.  One would think the ash would float, get diluted or be swept around by currents, not fall to this spot at the sea floor where the animals were living at the time.



It’s also not clear how the professors were able to spin the story into a blessing for Darwin.  “The discovery confirms a remarkable variety of rangeomorph fossil forms so early in their evolutionary history,” the article said.  Professor Brasier added another difficulty to the fact that they appeared in a remarkable variety out of nowhere: their diversification came “in an ‘Ediacaran explosion’ that may have mirrored the profusion of new life forms we see in the Cambrian.

  • It’s also not clear how the professors were able to spin the story into a blessing for Darwin.  “The discovery confirms a remarkable variety of rangeomorph fossil forms so early in their evolutionary history,” the article said.  Professor Brasier added another difficulty to the fact that they appeared in a remarkable variety out of nowhere: their diversification came “in an ‘Ediacaran explosion’ that may have mirrored the profusion of new life forms we see in the Cambrian.



When you look in a mirror, you usually see an image of yourself.  How the Ediacaran fauna could have mirrored the Cambrian, when there was no relationship between the creatures, is strange, unless it is like you looking through a clear glass at a tree and you both explode at the same time.  Apparently this is what the eminent Professor professes: the Ediacaran explosion was just as rapid, and produced as many pieces of debris, as you and the tree.

  • When you look in a mirror, you usually see an image of yourself.  How the Ediacaran fauna could have mirrored the Cambrian, when there was no relationship between the creatures, is strange, unless it is like you looking through a clear glass at a tree and you both explode at the same time.  Apparently this is what the eminent Professor professes: the Ediacaran explosion was just as rapid, and produced as many pieces of debris, as you and the tree.





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