If you think those tusks are impressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Photo by Joe King.
Over at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! Sarah Hird discovers a case in which Creationists are willing to cite phylogenetic context to make a point, and that point is that God made Eve from the bone in Adam’s penis. What, you didn’t know that most mammals have a penis bone?
Baculum is the technical term for the penis bone. Many mammals have one – presumably to aid in sexual intercourse. For mammals that mate infrequently, prolonged intercourse ups the chances that a particular male sires some babies. For mammals that must mate quickly, the baculum provides immediate rigidity. And for all mammals, keeping the urethra straight while copulating is imperative, so maybe it’s there to prevent a kink in the works, so to speak.
To see the full phylogenetic context of the baculum, and learn some possible reasons why a male walrus has a two-footer but humans have none at all, go read the whole thing.◼
Over at The Molecular Ecologist, I discuss a new study that uses phylogenetic estimates for 17 families of vertebrates to estimate how rapidly those animals have evolved in response to past climate change, and compares those estimates to how fast they’ll need to evolve to keep up with projected climate change. Spoiler alert: past rates of adaptation to climate aren’t anywhere near fast enough.
To keep up with projected climate change, Quintero and Wiens estimated that the species in their dataset would have to undergo adaptive change at from 10,000 to 100,000 times faster than the rates estimated in their evolutionary past.
Well, but maybe. To learn whether the data are telling us what the study’s authors say they’re telling us, go read the whole thing.◼
This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, guest contributor Chris Smith finds something a bit odd in his Google Scholar results:
I recently gave a lecture on the Miller-Urey experiment, and I wanted to pull up the original citation. So, glancing at the clock to make sure I still had five minutes before showtime, I headed over to Google Scholar and entered in the search terms “Miller Urey.” When I started browsing the results I was surprised to find, on the first page, a link to an article titled “Why the Miller–Urey research argues against abiogenesis” published in The Journal of Creation, a product of Creation Ministries International.
To learn what Chris thinks is going on—and how it resembles a phenomenon in evolutionary biology—go read the whole thing.◼
It’s fresh and online at Teaching Biology.◼
That when I, a gay dude—a person who does not personally possess a vagina or even a non-academic interest in the female contribution to human reproduction—have written about things pertaining to straight female sexuality in a politically-inflected and evolutionary context, I haven’t attracted even a twentieth part of the condescention and scorn that shows up in the comments section of Context and Variation when Kate Clancy—an actual female person who has a frickin’ Ph.D. in the evolution of female reproductive function—takes a righteous swing at the latest example of bad science in the service of sexism.
It’s almost like there’s something magical about having a penis.◼