The Elusive Bird Leptin, Part II: Finding the Missing Bird Hormone

A peregrine falcon.   Thanks to two rich Saudi princes two falcons have had their genomes sequenced.  It was in one of these falcon genomes that we first identified the leptin gene.

Yesterday I introduced the main character to this drama of the hunt for the elusive bird leptin.  Now its time to introduce the other players and get on with recounting how the discovery of the bird leptin gene was made. Several years ago I began collaborating with Dr. Rich Londraville (UA Biology) on a project involving the […]

The Elusive Bird Leptin: And Now for the Rest of the Story…

The mouse on the left is unable to make leptin.  Given the same diet as the mouse on the left it will become obese.  Credit: Wikipedia

Last week the headlines read “elusive bird hormone found” and “discovery of the elusive leptin in birds.”   It has been great to see so much interest in research I have been involved with for several years, but our paper (Reference 1) and the press blurbs associated with it only tell a small part of the […]

Historical Science and the Case of T. rex’s Puny Arms and Dinosaur Diets

An scan of a page from Ken Ham's "Dinosaurs in Eden" book. Here we can see Tyranosaurus-like dinosaurs with small arms enjoying a diet of flower plants.

Everyone has encountered a T. rex in books, movies or museums.   Besides its size and menacing jaws one of the most striking features of a T. rex is its diminutive arms.   So why were the arms of T. rex so short?   There have been many hypotheses including: 1) they had no use and […]

Ancient DNA Comes to Life: Giant Virus Resurrected from Siberian Permafrost

Pithovirus. Credit: Julia Bartoli & Chantal Abergel

Just how long can DNA survive after the death of a cell or without cellular activity to maintain itself?  I addressed this question a few months ago (Young Earth Creationism and Ancient DNA) and suggested that we would learn much more in the coming year.  Already we have seen multiple complete genomes from fossil bones […]

The Ark Encounter To Proceed With Construction

Artist conception of the Ark exhibit at the Ark Adventure.   I assume the palm trees are not planned for Kentucky.  Image from AIG Ark Aventure site.

Last night in a public broadcast Ken Ham announced that enough funds have been obtained to break ground for the huge “evangelistic project” – the Ark Encounter.  The event was clearly designed to put-to-rest rumors that Answers in Genesis has run into money problems and that the project is in trouble.  I do think they rightly pointed […]

Historical Science and Perceptions of Age: Craters on Mars

A "young" crater on Mars.  This is a young crater about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter. How young? The blocks of material ejected from the crater-digging impact sit on top of the sand ripples near the crater. This suggests, from the estimated age of the area's sand ripples, that the crater was formed within the past 100,000 years. The dark sand inside the crater attests to the mobility of fine sand in the recent era in this Meridiani Planum region of Mars.  Image credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

Our perceptions of the age of an object are frequently based on our common experience but I have found that for many people those common experiences are of little help when it comes to examining objects for which a person has no experience at all.   A couple of years ago this really hit me as […]

Testing The Creationist’s Hyper-evolution Orchard: Canines, Felines and Elephants

The YEC biblical evolution model.  Screen capture of a slide from Ham's presentation during the Ham/Nye debate Feb 4 2013.

Last week I pointed out that the Bible provides no support for Ken Ham’s contention that massive numbers of species have formed following their departure from Noah’s ark 4500 years ago (YEC Biblical Evolution: I Have A Book That Says Otherwise).  Now I’m following up with “observational” evidence from DNA sequences to test whether the […]

YEC Biblical Evolution? I Have a Book That Says Otherwise

one of my favorite strange fossil elephants.  Like many fossil species this one had two sets of tusks. One of the upper jaw and one on the lower jaw but in this case the lower jaw is greatly extented and the two lower tusks probably acted like shovels.  Image credit: Wired / Tomasz Jedrzejowski

Last week Ken Ham promoted a biblical evolution model to explain the diversity of life on Earth.   I have a book before me that provides compelling evidence that this model of evolution is wrong. That book is the Bible.  For those that follow the creation literature nothing that Ken Ham said last week in his […]

Geological Context V: Human Fossil Footprints Found Below Ice Age Deposits

cliff_erosion_happisburgh

A story is breaking today of a significant fossil find that was made almost a year ago but kept under wraps until the significance of the find could be evaluated.   What has now been reveled is that over 100 footprints were found in newly uncovered rocks along a shoreline of England.  Careful analysis of […]

Fishing for Fossils in the North Sea: The Lost World of Doggerland

The skull of a mammoth is loaded on board a fishing vessel on the North Sea

Imagine trawling for fish and when you pull up your nets you find a massive bone or a huge tooth along with your catch.  For over 100 years fishermen in the North Sea between Britain and Denmark have found such items in their nets but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the items that their […]

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