Thursday, January 3, 2008

Updating the Resources

Updates to Evolution Resources:

Added Youtuber Nethius. He's posted a lot of lectures from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and they are well worth watching. The 'Selection in Action' series is especially good.

Added an article on Vestigial Organs. This is a very neat article, I encourage everyone to check it out! Here's an excerpt:

In the first chapter of The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin identified roughly a dozen anatomic traits that he gleefully described as “useless, or nearly useless, and consequently no longer subject to natural selection.” The list included body hair, wisdom teeth, and the coccyx—superfluous features that served as Exhibit A in his argument that humans did not descend from “demigods” but rather from a long line of fur-insulated, plant-chewing creatures that sported tails.

A set of cervical ribs—possibly leftovers from the age of reptiles—still appear in less than 1 percent of the population. They often cause nerve and artery problems.

This small muscle stretching under the shoulder from the first rib to the collarbone would be useful if humans still walked on all fours. Some people have one, some have none, and a few have two.

This long, narrow muscle runs from the elbow to the wrist and is missing in 11 percent of modern humans. It may once have been important for hanging and climbing. Surgeons harvest it for reconstructive surgery.

Our closest cousins, chimpanzees and gorillas, have an extra set of ribs. Most of us have 12, but 8 percent of adults have the extras.

    More than 20 percent of us lack this tiny, triangular pouchlike muscle that attaches to the pubic bone. It may be a relic from pouched marsupials.

    These fused vertebrae are all that’s left of the tail that most mammals still use for balance and communication. Our hominid ancestors lost the need for a tail before they began walking upright.

While some have suggested that the coccyx helps to anchor minor muscles and may support pelvic organs, surgically removing it has no discernible effect on health.

(One Minor Note: The lady who authored this article lists the appendix as vestigial. It is vestigial, even though a minor use for it was recently discovered. And by the way, the scientists who discovered it said that in sanitary countries the appendix would probably not be needed.)

An Update to the Creationism Resources:

The NCSE's Evolution/Creation Archives

This is an archive of the Creation/Evolution Journal from 1980 through 1990. It is very good, easy to read, and overall a nice resource.

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