Note: My Anthropic Trilogy web-book, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
Study of the Involution of Our Human Phylogeny
Evolution-Involution Introduction and link to the slide show.
Cristóbal Aparicio Barragán
Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D.
Julius T. Csostonyi
Viktor Deak - Reuben Negron
Stanton F. Fink
Jon Hughes & Russ Gooday
Adrie and Alfons Kennis
Mark A. Klingler Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Charles R. Knight
Phleschbubble Digital Reconstructions
Paleo Artists Wikipedia index of paleo artists.
Prehistoric Illustrated Portal gallery for community of professional and classic paleo artists.
Scienceblogs Commentaries referencing paleo artists I have not resourced.
Cosmological and Space Art
Paleo Art (featuring creatures in the lineage of primate phylogeny)
Smithsonian Museum Hall of Human Origins
Walking With Monsters BBC
National Geographic Science
National Geographic Magazine
Chicago Field Museum
American Museum of Natural History
Deviantart karkemish00- mammal-like reptiles
Darwiniana Janice McCafferty
CM Studio Charlie McGrady with Brian Page- lifesize dinosaur and prehistoric animal models- many exhibits, from Burgess Shale, up through the Mesozoic, including fish, amphibians, invertebrates, pterosaurs, crocodiles, proto-dinosaurs, etc.
The Dan Varner Paleo-Life Art Page Marine Life from the Western Interior Sea (Late Cretaceous)
Tree of Life web project The Tree of Life Web Project is a collection of information about biodiversity compiled collaboratively by hundreds of expert and amateur contributors. Its goal is to contain a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct. Connections between Tree of Life web pages follow phylogenetic branching patterns between groups of organisms, so visitors can browse the hierarchy of life and learn about phylogeny and evolution as well as the characteristics of individual groups.
Locolobo animated gif of fish to tetrapod.
Phleschbubble quicktime animated movie clip of biota navigating Cambrian marine environment. Paleos wiki project now at Paleos.org community project growing a comprehensive resource for presenting the history and evolution of life through time; paleontology, phylogeny, clades, etc.
Animal Diversity Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan includes. Includes some illustrations of extinct species.
various anima graphics- featuring the strange predator Anomalocaris which stalked the seas in the Cambrian Period, 540 million years ago. Fossils of this creature were first discovered in the Burgess Shale, high in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Other anima of Anomalocaris swimming here and here and face-on here.
Animal Diversity Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan. Includes illustration of extinct species.
Gravity Somehow I completely missed all the hoopala, hype and Academy Award nominations for this 2013 blockbuster film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney but typically just ran into it surfing my TV in March, 2016. Perhaps due to an overall ennui in regards to transformer/morphing animation genre action films that require a greater "suspension of disbelief" than I can generate spontaneously - I had no problem getting completely caught up in the dramatic emotion and spectacular digitally created action in my 30" TV. I'm comfortable adding it to my short list of epic film experiences over the past few decades that includes 2001 - a space odessy (seen in movie theater), and as seen on TV - Avatar and The Bourne Identity. See The Human Body in Space Smithsonian, 2016 - Data from astronauts who spent 340 days in orbit will add to almost 55 years of research on how low gravity sends Earthlings for a loop.
Update 12/1/16: I've been following the National Geographic TV Channel new series Years of Living Dangerously and am persuaded that climate change poses the most pernicious, existential threat to life on Earth - including all humanity - that requires the U.S. join a global commitment to impose a carbon tax on every venue within their jurisdiction contributing greenhouse gases into Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Citizens Climate Lobby Join today to help build constructive, working relationships with members of Congress to approve a climate change solution that bridges the partisan divide. Carbon Fee and Dividend, a revenue-neutral carbon tax with 100% of the net revenue returned directly to households, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 52% below 1990 levels within 20 years while growing the economy and saving lives.. End Update
Journey of Man We examine some controversies in the story told by a leading population geneticist about humankind's history over the last 50 thousand years by tracing markers on the Y-chromosomes of extant populations. PBS Documentary, 2003 hosted by Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project from National Geographic.
Genographic Image Map Genographic map presenting migration patterns of the African diaspora of prehistoric Homo sapiens sapiens (behaviorally modern humans) starting 50 thousand years ago, with photo albums of modern descendents of the earliest populations.
The Great Human Race National Geographic Channel - Six million years ago our ancestors began to walk upright then left the trees and ventured out into the wild African savanna. For millions of years we would adapt, strengthen, and spread across the planet's harshest terrains. We withstood droughts and ice ages to not only survive, but to become the dominant species on Earth. Bill Schindler and Cat Bigne meet challenges our ancestors endured during various stages in the last 60 thousand years of our species adaptation.
Human Family Tree National Geographic DVD documents the results of sampling - on a single day on a single street, in a racially diverse neighborhood in Queens, NY - the DNA of just a couple of hundred random people to create a live, dynamic genographic map of their ancestry back to their shared African origins. Excerpts highlight the immediate plight of the Hadzabe - likely descendents of the prehistoric population who actually left Africa and are ancestors of every human living on the planet today.
We Are All Mutants Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution by Gemma Tarlach. Discover Magazine March, 2014. Molecular evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei says Darwin never proved natural selection is the driving force of evolution - because it isn't. In a 1987, paper co-authored with Naruya Saitou, Nei described the neighbor-joining method, a novel algorithm for creating evolutionary trees by working backward based on key genetic differences between related species, the idea being the more recently one species diverged from another, the more similar their DNA will be.
Homo naledi Fossils National Geographic Magazine, October 2015 by Jamie Shreeve. Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree. A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears very primitive in some respects it had a tiny brain, for instance, and apelike shoulders for climbing. But in other ways it looks remarkably like modern humans. When did it live? Where does it fit in the human family tree? And how did its bones get into the deepest hidden chamber of the cave could such a primitive creature have been disposing of its dead intentionally? This is the story of one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century, and of what it might mean for our understanding of human evolution.
Mystery Human by Kate Wong Scientific American March 2016 (subscription for full illustrated article) Already among the most extensive collections of fossil bones of early human relatives in the world - the holdings in the fossil vault at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa recently doubled with the discovery of hundreds of specimens in a cave system known as Rising Star. According to paleoanthropologist Lee Berger and his colleagues, who unearthed and analyzed the remains, they represent a new species of human - Homo naledi, for "star" in the local Sotho language - that could overturn some deeply entrenched ideas about the origin and evolution of our genus, Homo.
Homo naledi Dated Newest member of human family is surprisingly young - Science 12 May 2017 by Ann Gibbons Summary: A nearly complete skull of a mysterious member of the human family was unveiled this week at the same time as researchers reported a surprisingly recent age for this ancient cave dweller in South Africa. The new fossils of Homo naledi reinforce a picture of a small-brained, small-bodied creature, which makes the dates reported in a paper in eLife all the more startling: 236,000 to 335,000 years ago. That means a creature reminiscent of much earlier human ancestors such as H. habilis lived at the same time as modern humans were emerging in Africa and Neandertals were evolving in Europe.
The age of the Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco 08 June 2017 - Here we report the ages, determined by thermoluminescence dating, of fire-heated flint artefacts obtained from new excavations at the Middle Stone Age site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, which are directly associated with newly discovered remains of H. sapiens. A weighted average age places these Middle Stone Age artefacts and fossils at 315 +/- 34 thousand years ago. These ages are also consistent with the faunal and microfaunal assemblages and almost double the previous age estimates for the lower part of the deposits. The north African site of Jebel Irhoud contains one of the earliest directly dated Middle Stone Age assemblages, and its associated human remains are the oldest reported for H. sapiens.
Homo floresiensis scientists clash over claims 'hobbit man' was modern human with Down's syndrome by Robin McKie, science editor The Guardian Saturday 16 August 2014 A furious international dispute has erupted over the publication of a paper that claims the hobbit man of Flores was a modern human who had Down's syndrome. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this month, the research has been denounced by scientists around the world. The tiny Homo floresiensis, discovered on Flores, an island in Indonesia, is definitely a member of a distinct ancient species of hominins, they insist. See also: Wikipedia: Homo floresiensis
The Human Origins Initiative What Does It Mean to be Human? The theme of the Human Origins Initiative of the Smithsonian Institution, reflects one of humanity's most profound quests. The initiative's goal is to explore the universal human story at its broadest time scale. It seeks to stimulate new research findings that deepen an understanding of what makes our species unique and how we came to be. A comprehensive, interactive exploration of new discoveries about how we came to be.
Hall of Human Origins The American Museum of Natural History Educator's Guide presents synopsis of hominid evolution with version of hominid family tree - absent Denisova hominid.
Bones of Turkana PBS DVD, 2012 - follows the story of famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and his wife Meave, daughter Louise and their colleagues, as they work in the arid northern regions of Kenya's Turkana Basin to recover fossil evidence that helps unravel the story of hominid evolution over the past 4 million years.
The Dawn of Humans National Geographic Magazine (subscription online archive) May, 1997. Smarter and faster than its predecessors in Africa, this new hominid species spread across the Old World almost two million years ago. Yet H, erectus might not have been the first explorer after all. Controversial evidence with extraordinarily early dates has convinced some scientists that an older Homo species appeared in Asia just as erectus was emerging in Africa.
Scars of Evolution BBC two-part radio series presented by Sir David Attenborough- looking at the history and current status of the 'aquatic ape hypothesis'. The hypothesis proposes that the physical characteristics that distinguish us from our nearest cousin apes - standing and moving bipedally, being naked and sweaty, our swimming and diving abilities, fat babies, big brains and language - are best explained as adaptations to a prolonged period of our evolutionary history being spent in and around the seashore and lake margins, not on the hot dry savannah or in the forest with the other apes.
Becoming Human - Video NOVA's investigation explores how new discoveries are transforming views of our earliest ancestors. Featuring interviews with renowned scientists, footage shot as fossils were unearthed, and stunning computer-generated animation, Becoming Human brings early hominids to life, examining how they lived and how we became the creative and adaptable modern humans of today.
Finding Ancient Fire by Beebe Bahrami - The Pennsylvania Gazett, 2014 - In a South African cave that may contain evidence for the longest continuous record for hominid habitation - Michael Chazan has been blazing a trail to determine early man's socialbiology and technology in the production and control of fire.
Fire Good. Make Human Inspiration Happen by Thomas Wynn, Smithsonian magazine, December 2012. New evidence suggests that fire may have influenced the evolution of the human mind. Using fire to keep predators away would have made it safe for early hominids to indulge in more REM (modern humans spend 25 percent of sleep in REM, compared with up to 15 percent for apes and monkeys), improving their ability to learn multistep tasks such as tool manufacturing.
A trio of Homo species - H.habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. erectus - all first appearing in the fossil record around
two million years ago, argues against a linear progression toward humanness and suggests all may have been
contempory at some time. (Reconstruction by John Gurche - National Geographic Magazine Oct, 2015)
American Museum of Natural History Most scientists think the first members of our genus, Homo, evolved from a member of an earlier genus called Australopithecus. Some of the oldest evidence we have for a hominid of this genus dates back some four million years and was found in Kenya, in eastern Africa. Fossils of this hominid were named Australopithecus anamensis.
State of the Species - Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens? By Charles C. Mann Orion magazine, November/December 2012 about the author Why and how did humankind become "unusually successful"? And what, to an evolutionary biologist, does "success" mean, if self-destruction is part of the definition? Does that self-destruction include the rest of the biosphere? What are human beings in the grand scheme of things anyway, and where are we headed? What is human nature, if there is such a thing, and how did we acquire it? What does that nature portend for our interactions with the environment? With 7 billion of us crowding the planet, it's hard to imagine more vital questions. It's a long and informative essay, and the Japanese concept of hara hachi bu, described near the conclusion, may seem particularly poignant.
Human Origins Youtube Video - Discovering Religion: Episode 11.
Evolution Twelve DVD Programs by NOVA about cosmological, biological and phylogenic evolution. Includes series Becoming Human; and episodes Where Did We Come From (from series science Now); What Darwin Never Knew; Darwin's Darkest Hour; Megabeasts' Sudden Death; Alien From Earth; Intelligent Design on Trial.
Beyond Darwin? Evolution, Coevolution Presidential Address at the American Society of Human Genetics Conference (2009) by Edward R.B. McCabe1. Exploring symbiotic co-evolution- from human-wolf-dog domestication to genetic interaction down the biological scale to microorganisms.
Darwin and the Heart of Evolution Musings on Nature, Science, Evolution, Biology and Education archived blog by Daniel D. Brown, Ph.D. The genius, beauty, and simplicity of Darwin's big idea is when it comes to describing biology, astronomy, physics, geology, and every other empirical look into reality, the word "why" now means nothing more than the word "how." The how is the why - as in "Why do humans have hearts?" To answer this question we need to jump back about 500 million years ago where we're in the ancient ocean sometime after the Cambrian explosion. Small early worm-like species absorb all their oxygen from the surrounding water. Any individuals born larger than a certain size can no longer get enough oxygen due to the oxygen not reaching deep enough into their tissues, and so they die (or are out-competed). Now imagine one individual is born with a potentially fatal defect where certain cells formed a small simple tube-like structure. Perhaps it is only a vague cavity - or some extra space between its cells. Now when this individual swims around, contracting its primitive muscles, the fluid within its body spreads a little bit more and a little bit faster through this cavity or space. Our little worm leads a short but happy life, finding mates (or perhaps reproducing asexually) and leaving an ocean full of cavity-containing offspring.
Dikika Baby Na Geog Magazine, Nov 2006 - Article and video on fossil of a three-year-old from the dawn of humanity. Her discovery holds clues to the origin of childhood.
Rise of Man Youtube Video - Part 1 (1 of 5) begins 8 mya.
Walking With Cavemen TV documentary produced by the BBC (2003)
H. habilis appears concurrently with australopithecines at the far end and H. erectus at the near end. See also:
Dmanisi 1.77 mya hominid fossil site in Georgia (former USSR) that predates H. erectus grade specimens.
Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray The Gardian by Ian Sample, science correspondent David Lordkipanidze at the Georgian National Museum, who leads the Dmanisi excavations, said: "If you found the Dmanisi skulls at isolated sites in Africa, some people would give them different species names. But one population can have all this variation. We are using five or six names, but they could all be from one lineage." If the scientists are right, it would trim the base of the human evolutionary tree and spell the end for names such as H rudolfensis, H gautengensis, H ergaster and possibly H habilis. Others like Professor Fred Spoor at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, say the authors have failed to convince them that the Dmanisi skulls apply to those recovered in Africa. See also: A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the Evolutionary Biology of Early Homo Absract: Science Journal, Oct 13, 2013, David Lordkipanidze, et al.
New Fossils Challenge Line of Descent in Human Family Tree Science August 10, 2007 (subscription archive) Discovery of a surprisingly recent upper jawbone of H. habilis that lived in Kenya's Lake Turkana basin 1.44 mya. The Meave and Louise Leakey team also found an older skull of H. erectus in the same region which along with other discoveries extends the time that two types of humans coexisted and makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis.
Recent controversy in hominid ancestry 2013 - Recent controversies in hominid ancestry have erupted over the past decade as a series of discoveries have challenged currently held evolutionary theory. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, current dating of Australopiths, Ar. kaddaba and Ar. ramidus coexisted; A. afarensis, K. platyops, A. bahrelgazali, and A. africanus all coexisted; P. aethiopicus, A. africanus, A. garhi, H. habilis, and H. rudolfensis all coexisted; and A. sediba, P. boisei, H. rudolfensis, and H. habilis all coexisted as well. A large number of hominins therefore coexisted and thus are 'offshoots' which could not have evolved from one another, resulting in a messy 'bush'.
Human Origins Australopithecus sediba, come from a cave called Malapa. The fossils are between 1.95 and 1.78 million years old.
The Human Family's Earliest Ancestors by Ann Gibbons Smithsonian magazine, March 2010 - Studies of hominid fossils, like 4.4-million-year-old "Ardi," are changing ideas about human origins. Paleoanthropologist Tim White from the University of California at Berkeley reflected on the fossils they've bagged from the Middle Awash in Ethiopia's Afar desert. "This year, we've got A. kadabba, A. anamensis, A. garhi, H. erectus, H. sapiens." That's five different kinds of hominids, most of which were unknown when White first started searching for fossils here in 1981. See also: Hominid Hunting in blog.smithsonianmag and Hall of Human Origins Smithsonian NMNH.
Ape-Man Human Evolution YouTube videos of BBC documentary series on discovery and interpretaion of Homo erectus fossils featuring 1.5 Mya Ethiopian specimen called Turkana Boy.
Science and Faith: The Hominid Fossil Record Lee A. Spencer, Ph.D., 2001, Earth History Research Center, Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, TX Abstract: The fossil hominids are bipedal primates with a mixture of great ape (pongid), human, and pongid-human intermediate character states. There is a morphological continuum in skull and skeletal morphologies spanning those seen in the chimpanzee and anatomically modern man. Evolutionary/theistic evolutionary, progressive creation and "young-earth" creation interpretations of the data set are examined and tested. No interpretation remains unfalsified. Any interpretation held requires the exercise of faith. Science and faith not only are possible together, they are required.
Last of the Neanderthals Na Geog Magazine, October, 2008 - Eurasia was their homeland for 200,000 years. Then the newcomers arrived. With their large brains and enormous strength, Neanderthals seemed equipped to face any obtacle. But as the climate changed and a new kind of human appeared on the landscape, their dwindling numbers sought refuge in the highlands of Northern Spain.
Human Evolution Lectures The subject of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's 2011 Holiday Lectures was human evolution, and the institute has archived high-quality videos of these talks. The lectures are given by top anthropologists and are a great introduction to the science of human evolution by paleoanthropologist Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley whose team found Ardi and the 160,000-year-old Herto fossils, genetecist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania and archaeologist John Shea of Stony Brook University describes the earliest stone tools and the ways in which scientists study them.
Hominid Fossils Discovery Channel - An interactive guide to the approximately four-million- to six-million-year-old genus, with a special emphasis on the famous skeleton named Ardi. The handbook offers background n Ethiopia's Middle Awash, where Ardi and other hominids have been found-including an interactive map that locates and describes different hominid fossils discoveries-as well as a discussion of the genus's place in the human family tree.
Middle Awash Na Geographic Magazine, July 2010 - Feature article on Ardipithecus ramidus and other hominid fossils discovered in area of Ethiopia - the most persistently occupied place on Earth. (See hominid clade chart).
Ugalla Primate Project The behavioral ecology of savanna-woodland chimpanzees center on the social consequences of low population density, and the use of chimpanzee adaptation to arid, open habitats as a model for understanding early hominid adaptation to similar paleoenvironments. Ugalla chimpanzees are similar in body size, cranial capacity and overall biology to early (i.e., pre-Homo) hominids, living in an environment similar to that of Ardipithecus and early Australopithecus. [However, both chimpanzees and Ardipithecus may have first evolved in an ecosystem resembling the lush rainforest of Udzungwa mountains in present day central Tanzania. Because fossil remains of a continuum of hominid species including Ardipithecus kadabba dating between 5.2 and 5.8 mya are found in the same locality as Ardi and Lucy - its likely Australopithecine evolved in the Middle Awash Valley in Ethiopia, adapting to increasingly arid conditions.]
Discovering Ardi Discovering Ardi - Discovery Channel presents a revolution in our understanding of human origins. Following publication in October, 2009 of multiple papers on the discovery and study of a 4.4 million-year-old female partial skeleton nicknamed "Ardi" in the journal Science, Discovery Channel presented a world premiere special, Discovering Ardi that documented the sustained, intensive investigation leading up to this landmark publication of the Ardipithecus ramidus fossils - now the oldest skeleton from our (hominid) branch of the primate family tree.
Was the Swamp Ape Bipedal? by Marcel F. Williams, 2013. Oreopithecus bambolii first emerged on an ancient island bioprovince known as Tuscany-Sardinia (Tusco-Sardinia) sometime after 9 million years ago where it existed as the sole primate on the island until approximately 7 million years ago. Between 11 to 9 million years ago, sea levels fell during a glacial period caused by the deposition of ice and snow on polar land masses. The lower sea levels allowed various mammals from North Africa and Southern Europe to enter the Tuscany region. Oreopithecus may have also been the earliest obligatory bipedal primate and the first ape to walk exclusively on just two legs.
Nakalipithecus nakayamai is a prehistoric great ape species that lived in Kenya's Rift Valley Province early in the Late Miocene, 10 million years ago. Nakalipithecus was about the size of a female gorilla and is very close to the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. It can therefore be considered a basal member of the Homininae, before they split up into the three lineages alive today. The evolutionary importance of Nakalipithecus is twofold: first, together with Ouranopithecus it provides evidence that the Homininae lineages of today diverged no earlier than some 8 million years ago. Second, it supports the theory that the closest relatives of humans evolved in Africa. It is pictured in incipient bipedal gate similar to that employed by gibbons, lesser apes of SE Asian jungles, when foraging on ground, fording waterways or traversing tree limbs and liana vines. Bipedalism in the earliest hominoids suggests that the correlation between it and brain size was arrested until far later when cooler, dryer climates caused forests to dwindle and invited Australopithecine onto the savannas.
First Hominids and Bipedalism by Jeff Hays, 2013. Bipedalism is regarded as the first major step in the development of our human ancestors. Paleontologist Eric Delson argues that human ancestors may have moved to the ground more to take advantage of opportunities on the open ground and less because they were forced to. Many scientists believe that bipedalism developed in the trees, where some apes, and perhaps early hominids, walked upright on large branches or stood on their leg to collect fruit overhead. Later they found bipedalism was more than efficient than walking on all fours or leaping from tree to trees when it came time for feeding on trees from the ground and moving from one tree to another in a less dense forests. See page links to bipedalism resources.
Hispanopithecus laietanus (Dryopithecus); Late Miocene 9.5 Ma - Catalonia - Spain. An ape nearly as large as a man, namely the Dryopithecus of Lartet, which was closely allied to the anthropomorphous Hylobates, existed in Europe during the Late Miocene period. The postcranial remains (a hand) of the fossil great ape Hispanopithecus laietanus formerly included within the genus Dryopithecus, allow us to test the hypothesis of whether suspensory adaptations are homologous between African great apes and orang-utans. Hispanopithecus, variously interpreted as an early pongine (Köhler et al. 2001) or hominine (Begun et al. 1997. Model in the Institut Catalá de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, in Sabadell
Quest for Fire Quest for Fire (1982) is so detailed in its depiction of prehistoric man that it might have been made by time-traveling filmmakers. Instead it's a bold and timeless experiment by visionary director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear) inviting scientific debate while presenting a fascinating, imaginary glimpse of humankind some 80,000 years ago. Using diverse locations in Kenya, Scotland, and Canada, Annaud tells the purely visual story of five tribes (some more advanced than others) who depend on fire for survival. They "steal" fire from nature, but the actual creation of fire remains elusive, lending profound mystery and majesty to the film's climactic, real-time display of fire-making ingenuity.
The Incredible Human Journey (2009) A five-episode, BBC documentary and accompanying book, written and presented by Dr. Alice Roberts. A medical scientist and anthropologist- Roberts journeys worldwide, engagingly retracing early human migrations out of Africa, to engage the evidence - pro and con - for the Out of Africa Theory which holds that all modern humans are descended from anatomically modern African Homo sapiens. Entire Online Playlist
Sugar Love by Rich Cohen - National Geographic Magazine, Aug, 2013, p-97. In the beginning was the fruit...Why did our brains evolve pleasurably to a literally addictive drug and potentially toxic compound? Some 22 million years ago apes filled the canopies of the Afican rain forest. They survived on the fruit of the trees, sweet with natural sugar. Five million years later a cold wind blew through this Eden.The ice caps expanded, the seas retreated, a bridge exposed a way for a few adventurous apes to leave Africa and settle in the rainforests that blanketed Eurasia. With increased cooling, deciduous forests replaced tropical groves of fruit. Famine followed - creating woods full of starving apes. At some point a mutation occurred in a single ape - that made it wildly proficient in processing fructose. Even small amounts were stored as fat - a huge survival advantage in months when winter lay apon the land and food was scarce. Then one day a descendant ape with that mutant gene and healthy craving for rare, precious fruit sugar returned to its African home and begot all the apes today, including the hominid that spread its sugar-loving and increasingly obese progeny over the Earth.
Miocene Hominoid Radiation The Miocene (23-5.3 Ma) was a most dynamic epoch both in terms of geological and climatic transformation and that of the scale and scope of our hominoid evolution and dispersal. Aside the range of geophysical interpretation as to how and when Africa connected to Eurasia and how the Tethys Sea was configured - major phylogenetic contention has arisen such as the controversy over whether the transformation from hominoid to hominid in our ancestral ape homo lineage occurred in Europe or Africa.
The dark side of Pierolapithecus ICP news, September, 2012. The publication in the November 19, 2004 journal Science about the discovery in Catalonia (Spain) of a 13 Mya fossil hominid, Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, popularly known as Pau, has played a leading role in the research on the origin of the hominid family for almost a decade. But after more than 20 high-level publications featuring this fossil ape, a new article reveals new characteristics of its anatomy, which confirm Pierolapithecus as one of the earliest hominids ever known. Researchers Salvador Moya-Sola, et al at PIC locate the Pierolapithecus as the common core of descending orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans for understanding the elusive question of the Middle Miocene origin and early radiation of great apes. As many as 100 different ape species roamed the Miocene Old World, from France to China in Eurasia and from Kenya to Namibia in Africa but in Pau's time the Mediterranean Sea was even wider than it is today, so her ancestors must have taken a path through the Middle East to get there.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has played a prominent role in responding to efforts in Kansas, Pennsylvania and els where to weaken or compromise the teaching of evolution in public school science classrooms. Here are some background materials on the controversy and links to AAAS resources on evolution. AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.
Becoming Human Interactive Flash Documentary. The Institute of Human Origins (IHO) conducts, interprets and publicizes scientific research on the human career. IHO's unique approach brings together scientists from diverse disciplines to develop integrated, bio-behavioral investigations of human evolution. Through research, education, and the sponsorship of scholarly interaction, IHO advances scientific understanding of our origins and its contemporary relevance.
Human Evolution Youtube Video - Carl Sagan narrates animated drawings of 4 billion years of human evolution in 8 minutes.
Negrito Race: The Ultimate Link of Filipinos to the World iwonder by Jewel Mercader, 2012. Abstract: This paper discusses the significance of Filipino Negritos as part of the earliest migrations to inhabit the earth and their relation to the rest of the people of the world. The Negrito people are one of the earliest modern humans and extant species settlers of the country, next to Mamanuas of Agusan. In addition, a brief history of the distribution, acculturation and relationship with the non-Negritos and a compilation of claims with regard to the Great Wave Migration (Out-of-Africa) and several other supporting and opposing theories).
Pygmy Negritos of Andaman Islands Steve Sailer interviews George H. J. Weber, an independent Swiss scholar and founder of the encyclopedic andaman.org Web site, which is the leading source for information on these almost unknown but fascinating people. In an era when we are routinely encouraged to celebrate diversity, perhaps no group of humans on Earth is more diverse yet less celebrated than the tiny but fierce Pygmy Negritos of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. They provide some of the best examples of what modern humans were like when they first emerged out of Africa dozens of millennia ago.
Proconsul likely evolved incipient bipedalism in forest environs much as some of today's lesser apes.
Australopithecus robustus Robustus remains can be safely placed from 2.0-1.0 myr, and possibly even earlier. Dawkins notes "perhaps several different species" of robust hominids, and "as usual their affinities, and the exact number of species, are hotly disputed. Names that have been attached to various of these creatures...are Australopithecus (or Paranthropus) robustus, Australopithecus (or Paranthropus or Zinjanthropus) boisei, and Australopithecus (or Paranthropus) aethiopicus."
Primate Phylogeny There are approximately 300 species of living primates placed in 60 genera. Another 500 species and 200 genera a e known from the fossil record. Defining primates has long been a difficult task because there is no clear consensus regarding which other order of mammals is the sister group of living primates. Flying lemurs (Dermoptera), tree shrews (Scandentia), and megabats (Megachiroptera) are the usual suspects. Read more: Walker's Primates of the World Primate Adaptation, Evolution and Taxonomy.
"Ida"- 47-Myo Female Primate The Houston Museum of Natural Science introduced a spectacular fossil: a 47-million-year-old female mammal nicknamed "Ida," described in scientific circles by Dr. Jorn H. Hurum and colleagues. Christened Darwinius masillae, Ida has been hailed as one of the very best and most completely preserved fossils from our human heritage and a window into our primate past when the key adaptations of opposable thumb and big toe had just evolved. Reconstruction by Viktor Deak.
The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans (2007) Created by G. J. Sawyer and Viktor Deak. Available as Ebook at Google Books. This book tells the story of human evolution and encompasses twenty known human species, of which Homo sapiens is the sole survivor. Illustrated with spectacular, three-dimensional scientific reconstructions developed by a team of physical anthropologists at the American Museum of Natural History.
Extinct Hominids An illustrated synopsis of extinct hominids- from the book The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans (2007)
Lucy's Cousin? Fossil Foot Indicates New Prehuman Species by John Noble Wilford - March 28, 2012 NYTimes. Now it seems that Lucy shared eastern Africa with another prehuman species, one that may have spent more time in trees than on the ground. A 3.4-million-year-old fossil foot (Burtele partial foot) found in Ethiopia appears to settle the long-disputed question of whether there was only a single line of hominins - species more closely related to humans than to chimpanzees - between four million and three million years ago.
Archaeology Info This project is intended to provide a forum about issues arising from the ongoing discoveries of extinct hominid fossils on the shores of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. While living and working at Koobi Fora, we are privledged to pursue a unity of ideas and synthesis of a common human evolutionary model for the nature of our origins- literally in the footsteps of our distant ancestors.
The Fellowship of the Hobbit Science August 10, 2007 (subscription archive) Discovery of fossil remaines of what may be a diminutive human species in Laing Bua cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia has sparked a debate with enor ous implications for sorting out Homo sapiens ancestry. Dubbed Homo floresiensis, the astonishing primitive remains dated as recently as 12 kya are aprised by some scientists as H. sapiens individuals malformed by disease. One scientist who studied diminutive, primitive H. erectus fossils found at the Dmanisi site in Geogia thinks the Flores remains may be understood as a pedomorphic, dwarf H. erectus that adapted to the restricted island habitat like the pygmy elephant and rhino endemic to other Indonesian islands. By 2012 there has been no reports of any viable DNA samples more succesful than those attempted in 2007 and so far, each thread of evidence has conflicting interpretations so the hobbit remains an enigma to many.
Primate Phylogeny There are approximately 300 species of living primates placed in 60 genera. Another 500 species and 200 genera are known from the fossil record. Defining primates has long been a difficult task because there is no clear consensus regarding which other order of mammals is the sister group of living primates. Flying lemurs (Dermoptera), tree shrews (Scandentia), and megabats (Megachiroptera) are the usual suspects. Read more: Walker's Primates of the World Primate Adaptation, Evolution and Taxonomy.
First Primates NOVA Science NOW video, 2008. Our branch of the evolutionary tree may have split from that of the apes only about six million years ago. But what if we look further back in our primate family tree - 56 mya.
Legend 1 Legend 2
The Messel Pit Fossil Bed Wikipedia - The pit deposits were formed during the Eocene Epoch of the Paleogene Period about 47 million years ago. (Key to full-sized diorama) An Ecosystem Locked in Time - Hundreds of species have been recorded at Messel, providing a snapshot of an ancient ecosystem. A dense rainforest circled the lake in what is now Germany. At dusk, animals emerged. Flocks of Messelornis (4) patrolled the forest floor. Many mammals - such as the primate Eurolemur (1), the fruit eater Kopidodon (3), and the predator Paroodectes - were adapted for life in trees. Fossilized gut contents allow food chains to be reconstructed. Jewel beetles (10) ate pollen. Bats (2), hedgehog-like Pholidocerus (14), and long-legged Leptictidium (13) hunted insects. Tiny horses (12) browsed for leaves and fruit (one fossil has grape seeds in it's intestines). Messelobunodon (5), an early deer relative, foraged for fungi. Primitive woodpeckers (8) ate fruit, Anteaters (6), unknown outside South America until discovered here, and pangolins (7) fed on termites and ants (11).
The Reproduction Revolution: Selection Pressure in a Post-Darwinian World. Biorevolution: Human evolution is about to accelerate and BLTC wants to insure that designer babies and human cloning evolve via best practice of genetic engineering. Selection pressure isn't going to slacken. On the contrary, we're on the eve an era of unnatural or artificial selection - a different kind of selection pressure, but a selection pressure that will be extraordinarily intense, favouring a very different set of adaptations than traits that were genetically adaptive in the ancestral environment on the African savannah.
Rhythmic Gymnastics Youtube videos of Boyanka Angelova and Evgeniya Kanaeva demonstrating how our human ability to learn new skills can approach the precision by which other organisms function instinctively and genetically. Cases in point: the extraordinary dexterity in some birds of paradise courtship displays and insect mating behavior; the performance of the bacterium flagellum and the exquisite coordination in virus infection and behavior of DNA and other genetic processes.
Dance Performance even more analogous to insect mating precision by Anastasia Krutikova and Artem Panasiu from the Ukraine.
Life On Earth
DiscoverLife An evolving assembledge of scientific knowledge about life on Earth served by: Sam Houston State University, University of New South Wales, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Missouri Botanical Garden, American Museum of Natural History - Our mission is to assemble and share knowledge in order to improve education, health, agriculture, economic development, and conservation throughout the world. We provide free on-line tools to identify species, teach and study nature's wonders, report findings, build maps, process images, and contribute to and learn from a growing, interactive encyclopedia of life with 1,386,738 species pages and 780,239 maps.
Chronozoom U.C. Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez initiated this intuitive, interactive, digital timeline of Big History. Because the field studies all 13.7 billion years from the Big Bang to the present, a tool to aid the comprehension of time relationships between events, trends and themes was necessary.
Tower of Time by CHRONOS and the International Stratigraphic Commission, 2004. Poster-sized chart of History of Earth showing geological time- Eon, Era, Period, Epoch and Stage; Age (Ma); Paleogeographic Maps and image of verticle mural of evolution of life on Earth at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, by John Gurche.
Geologic Time An interactive resource from The Smithsonian National Musum of Natural History.
Detail Geologic Time Chart
Graphic Timeline of Evolution
Scratchpad Index of geological time periods with further references.
A Brief History of Evolution Nova Documentary
The Encyclopedia of Life see also Wikipedia EOL is a free, online collaborative encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species known to science. It is compiled from existing databases aend from contributions by experts and non-experts throughout the world. It aims to build one "infinitely expandable" page for each species, including video, sound, images, graphics, as well as text. In addition, the Encyclopedia incorporates content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which digitizes millions of pages of printed literature from the world's major natural history libraries.
Interactive Tree of Life Explore your relationship to all the world's creatures with our Tree of Life Explorer! Features a comprehensive, interactive Tree of Life graphic by Leonard Isenberg. See also: Evogeneao Tree of Life Introduction Video Learn how the tree of life expresses our relationship to all the creatures on Earth.
Click for full-sized image.
Evolution DVD A Journey Into Where We're From and Where We're Going - PBS Nova DVD, 2001 "Evolution" is a 7-part series that presents a succinct, but comprehensive review of the most important topics in evolutionary theory. A documentary: for teachers, students, or anyone interested in human origins - explores all facets of evolution--the changes that spawned the tree of life, the power of sex, how evolution continues to affect us every day, and the perceived conflict between science and religion. See also PBS Evolution Website
Evotourism Smithsonian Magazine introduces guided tours to sites around the world that provide in situ experience to major discoveries in the story of evolution.
PBS Evolution Library Hundreds of PBS cross-linked webpage and online videos on evolution science and issues.
Origins: This hour-long program is divided into six chapters. Choose any chapter below and select QuickTime, RealVideo, or Windows Media Player to begin viewing. Chapter 5: Forging the Elements - Scientists now know how the universe began to accumulate the building blocks of life. Chapter 6: A Universe Hospitable to Life - By decoding spectra of light from distant galaxies, astronomers can tell whether the conditions that allow life to emerge are widespread through the cosmos.
Judgment Day Intelligent Design On Trial PBS Nova present landmarks in fossil evidence supporting the reality of evolution. (mg comment: However Scientific Intelligent Design fully accepts the fact of evolution but posits that rather than something coming from nothing, as physicalist science maintains - that the Big Bang and all the matter and life that evolved has been guided via the epigenesis of a supreme cosmic consciousness.)
The Great Story A compendium of educational resources about evolution - The Great Story (also known as the Universe Story, Epic of Evolution, or Big History) is humanity's common creation story. It is the 14 billion year science-based sacred story of cosmic genesis, from the formation of the galaxies and the origin of Earth life, to the development of self-reflective consciousness and collective learning, to the emergence of comprehensive compassion and tools to assist humanity in living harmoniously with the larger body of life.
History of the World in 2 Hours an H2 DVD, 2011 - realistic visuals present a rapid-fire history of our world, from the beginning of time from the big bang to present day delving into the key turning points: the formation of earth, emergence of life, spread of man and the growth of civilization - and reveals their surprising connections to our world today.
Placental Ancestor National Geographic News - After an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) extinction event - save for those that evolved into today's birds - a small, furry animal scurried through the forest and climbed trees in search of insects. Its unassuming looks gave little hint that its mammalian descendants - including bats, whales and us - would one day rule the planet. Scientists reconstructed the appearance and anatomy of this creature - the forebear of all 'placental' mammals, which give birth to live young at an advanced stage of development - rendered in unprecedented detail by paleo artist Carl Buell. The analysis confirms that the placentals diversified a few hundred thousand years after the (non- vian) dinosaurs went extinct, so groups such as rodents and primates never shared the planet with the prehistoric reptiles although this conclusion contradicts genetic studies that put the group's origin at around 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous.
From Single Cells, a Vast Kingdom Arose by Carl Zimmer - NY Times: March 14, 2011. The dawn of the animal kingdom about 800 million years ago was also an ecological revolution. Animals devoured the microbial mats that had dominated the oceans for more than two billion years and created their own habitats, like coral reefs. Scientists have discovered that lurking in the genome of a tentacled, amoebalike, single-celled creature called Capsaspora owczarzaki is a gene nearly identical to an animal gene named brachyury that allowed for the evolution of all multicellular animals. Our ancestors a billion years ago probably were a lot like Capsaspora. They use the brachyury gene, along with other transcription factors, to switch genes on for other tasks. They have to check out their environment, they have to mate with other organisms. They have to eat prey. A lot of the genes once thought to be unique to the animal kingdom were already present in our single-celled ancestors.
The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution by Albert Onykus (2018) I like to think that the Big Vertebrate Tree is a useful resource, but it's not very user-friendly. As such, I have produced a simplified (yes, this is simplified) and more vibrant vertebrate cladogram. Animals that have been colored in are extant species. Age ranges represent known fossil record and do not include ghost lineages. The animals placed along the branches (instead of at the tips) are all based on real taxa that approximate the likely ancestral morphology of certain groups, but I have left them unlabeled to prevent propagation of the misconception that we can identify whether said taxa are the actual ancestors of those groups. Absolutely nothing is to scale.
Olympus BioScapes Image gallery of ten-year International Digital Microscopic Imaging Competition by Olympus America Inc. honoring the world's most extraordinary microscope images of life science subjects forging an extraordinary bond between science and art. The competition is founded to focus on the fascinating insight into the infinitely exquisite complexity revealed by today's life science research laboratories - work that can help shed light on the living universe and ultimately save lives. We look at these beautiful images as sources of education and inspiration that offer a glimpse into the miraculous outcome of three billion years of evolution of life on Earth.
Life in Cold Blood Wikipedia review of last episode (2008) of BBC Life on Earth Series hosted by David Attenborough. David reveals the surprising and intimate lives of the cold-blooded reptiles and amphibians, discovering the secret of their success. The high-tech film team captures previously unseen behaviour bringing their unknown lives to the screen as never before. Tiny scarlet frogs engage in sumo wrestling, baby worm-like caecilians feast on their mother's skin, father poison toads carry their tadpoles one at a time to pools in individual air plants- then leads the mother to each where she will bring food until they can emerge. Shingleback lizards form monogamous bonds that can last a lifetime of twenty years. Altogether the nature documentary that comes closest to evoking the kind of awe-inspiring apperception of the glory of nature that I hope the Evolution-Involution Slideshow will provide.
Life on Fire A ten-part PBS documentary series 2009-2012. Each episode features how life copes with a volcano eruption in specific environments around the world using the latest cutting-edge technology including ultra-high speed HD cameras and a gyro-stabilized mount fixed to a helicopter. (m-g commentary: I caught The Surprise Salmon on cable TV and was gripped way past my bedtime by spectacular images that evoked their epic fight for survival so that I palpably became the fish. The story is the poignant drama of how two clans of sockeye, for thousands of years, have joined at a Pacific estuary to begin the perilous journey to spawn in a tiny remnant of oxygenated water amidst an aerobic/acidic lake in the caldera of an active Alaskan volcano - to sacrifice their lives for their next generation. In the class of documentaries like March of the Penguin that convey the incredibly magnificant struggle some lifeforms must undergo to perpetuate their species - a spiritually humbling lesson for most of us modern Homo sapiens.) Earth: The Biography (formerly The Power of the Planet) BBC National Geographic DVD (2008) - Geologist Dr. Iain Stewart travels around the world in this five episode documentary presenting dramatic images in an exploration of the great forces that shape volcanoes, the atmosphere, the ocean and ice and how they affect the Earth's landscape, it's climate, and the catastrophes that enabled the frought-with-peril evolution of life of our human species.
Evolution: A guide for the not-yet perplexed, New Scientist, 19 April 2008 by Michael Le Page (Online Preview - Subscription full article) Evolution must be the best-known yet worst-understood of all scientific theories. Most of us are happpy to admit that we do not understand, say, string theory in physics, yet we would balk at saying the same about evolution. In fact, as biologists are discovering, evolution can be stranger than their predecessors ever imagined. Here is New Scientist's detailed guide to some of the most common myths and misconceptions about evolution. See Also: 24 Myths About Evolution (full-text extended version online)
Jurassic Mammal Juramaia Sinensis 160-Million-Year-Old Fossil Pushes Back Mammal Evolution, 2011 A fossil discovered in northeast China has pushed back mammal evolution 35 million years and provides new information about the earliest ancestors of most of today's mammal species the placental mammals. Paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo describes J. sinensis that lived in China 160 million years ago, as a small shrew-sized mammal that fed on insects and worms, and had a great ability to climb. Juramaia is the earliest known fossil of eutherians, the group that evolved to include all placental mammals, which provide nourishment to unborn young via a placenta. As the earliest known fossil ancestral to placental mammals, Juramaia provides fossil evidence of the date when eutherian mammals diverged from other mammals, metatherians (whose descendants include marsupials like kangaroos) and monotremes (like the platypus). As Luo explains, "Juramaia, from 160 million years ago, is either a great-grand-aunt, or a 'great-grandmother' of all placental mammals that are thriving today."
Jurassic Magnolia The flowering plants (angiosperms), also known as Angiospermae are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms around 245-202 million years ago, and the early flowering plants like Magnolia are from 160 million years ago. They diversified enormously during the Lower Cretaceous and became widespread around 120 million years ago, but replaced conifers as the dominant trees only around 60-100 million years ago. See also: Nocturnal Magnolia Flower Youtube Video
Scrat Fossil Found 2011 - In a stunning synchronicity of art anticipating undiscovered reality, a newly discovered fossil, found in South America, bears a strong resemblance to Scrat, the sabre-toothed squirrel well-known for its obsessive antics over acorns in the Ice Age movies. The fossilized skull and teeth of an ancient shrew-like mammal were found in Argentina. The saber-toothed squirrel is the second oldest mammal skull found in South America, this time in the La Buitrera locality in Rio Negro Province, Argentina. Cronopio dentiacutus was shrew-sized, about 4-6 inches in length. Cronopio was a dryolestoid, an extinct group distantly related to marsupials and placentals of today. Cronopio had long canine teeth, but it was probably an insectivore with a diet of insects, grubs and other bugs. It lived when giant dinosaurs roamed the earth - more than 100 million years ago.
First Life David Attenborough finds evidence in fossils and living animals of an extraordinary period in Earth's history, half a billion years ago, when animals first appeared in the oceans. From the first eyes that saw, to the first predators that killed and the first legs that walked on land, these were creatures that evolved the traits and tools that allow all animals, including us, to survive to this day.
Walking With Monsters Synopsis of episodes of BBC documentary (2005)
The Ancestors' Tale by Richard Dawkins The entire book including graphics and a Publisher's Review, is available for downloading at this Russian website. Review: The Ancestor's Tale is a pilgrimage: a journey of four billion years. We, modern human beings, are the pilgrims, and we are travelling back in time to seek out our ancestors. Simultaneously every other living creature - animal, plant, fungus, bacterium - is setting off on its own journey with the same mission. Onwards we go, squeezing precariously through mass extinctions, meeting increasingly distant common ancestors. Eventually we pass that fundamental turning point for life on Earth, the combining of a single-celled protozoan-to-be with a bacterium to form a cell with a nucleus. Once we have done so, all living things take the final stretch of the pilgrimage together to the origin of life.
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution is a 2009 book by British biologist Richard Dawkins. It sets out the evidence for biological evolution, and is Dawkins' 10th book, following his bestselling critique of religion The God Delusion (2006) and The Ancestor's Tale (2004), which traced human ancestry back to the dawn of life.
Evolution in 5 minutes Youtube Video - (some good morph sequences) Starts in Cambrian but jumps from dinosaurs to hominids.
Epic of Evolution The Epic of Evolution is the grand story of how the universe has evolved. This story includes the evolution of stars and galaxies, of life as well as cultural evolution. Books, journals and videos web links catagories: Evolution; Biological Evolution; Religion and Spirituality; Teaching Evolution; For Kids; Future of Evolution; Evolutionary Psychology.
Kunstformen Der Natur Plates from Artforms of Nature 1904 by Ernst Haeckel. See also A Tragic Sense of Life A review of a Richards' biography of Ernst Haeckel.
Ernst Haeckel Biography biography Ernst Haeckel - Ebook translated by Google: German to English
Kurt Steuber Biological Books Library Compendium of online reproductions of biological illustrations (search under authors, species, etc.) (More Ernst Haeckel illustrations)
Black Smoker Hydrothermal Field [Black Smoker: Hydrothermal Field] Venting Temperatures Temperatures typically >300 C, some as hot as 407 C, also host low-temperature diffuse systems (100 C) [Lost City Field] 40-90 C, very rare, distinct, annular orifices, dominantly diffusely venting structures, virtually no particulate matter in flow.
Summary of our human evolutionary origins NASA
Flunking Spore A critical review, 2008, of the video game about evolution, Spore by Science Magazine Contributing Correspondent John Bohannoseries who reports on connections between science, culture, and the arts. The game was featured in an hour-long show on the National Geographic channel. For one month Bohannoseries played Spore with a team of scientists, grading the game on each of its scientific themes. When it comes to biology, and particularly evolution, Spore - Wikipedia failed miserably. According to the scientists, the problem isn't just that Spore dumbs down the science or gets a few things wrong - it's meant to be a game, after all - but rather, it gets most of biology badly, needlessly, and often bizarrely wrong.
Chordate Phylogeny and Development
Newest Chordata- color photos of chordate tree
Phyletic Museum Robert Seidel, the man behind the work of 2minds has created a wonderfully lush new piece designed specifically to be projected onto the Phyletic Museum in Jena, Germany for its 100th anniversary.
The River of Life and other child-friendly programs for learning and celebrating the evolutionary journey of life and our own ancestry - by Connie Barlow (2009) based on Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins (2004)
PBS Evolution Critique Creationist's Critique of PBS 7-part production Evolution.
Amazing Missing Links New Scientist, March 1-7, 2008 (subscription online archive) A profusely illustrated article by geologist Donald Prothero (excerpted from his book Evolution) updates the fossil evidence showing a transitional continuum in evolution of numerous species both extant and extinct - refuting creationist claims regarding the absence of transitional species in the fossil record.
Catastrophe (2008) A five-part British documentary television series on YouTubetelling the story of the catastrophic events that shaped planet Earth from it's beginnings to the present. From planetary collisions to the Ordovician Silurian Ice Age, from massive volcanic eruptions to asteroid impacts, Catastrophe pieces together the extraordinary events that puts a new perspective on our existence- that we are the product of Catastrophe.
How the Earth Was Made Seasons 1 and 2, History Channel DVD This scientific documentary goes back in history - from 4.5 billion years ago to today - peeling back layers of rock, filling up river canyons, parting the oceans, and leveling mountains and volcanoes to investigate the origins of some of the most well-known locations and geological phenomena in the world.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution Now the highest-cited journal in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Trends in Ecology & Evolution contains polished, concise and readable reviews, opinions and letters in all areas of ecology and evolutionary science and is the major forum for coverage of all the important issues concerning organisms and their environments.
Cenozoic Clades After the KT impact, which marks the beginning of the Cenozoic era, and the end of the age of dinosaurs, - marsupials had already been overrun by placental mammals everywhere but Australia, which had been separated from the rest of the supercontinent since the mid-Mesozoic. This allowed Australian marsupials to diversify into myriad groups, most of which are now extinct. Among these were a sort of carnivorous kangaroo, and a marsupial "lion", the true nature of which we'll probably never know. Elsewhere in the world, eutherian mammals also diverged into numerous sub-groups, all of whom of course initially looked very similar to each other early on. Before they really began to "grow apart", most of them resembled rats or shrews or opossums. And the last of these superorders are Euarchontoglires, which begin with a kind of rat-shrew, which radiated into rodents and rabbits on one side, and on the other, to several sorts of tree shrews and shrew-like things which apparently lead to the first primates.
Permian Triassic Extinction
Tetrapoda first land vertebrates Tetrapods (equivalent to Latin quadruped, "four-footed") are vertebrate animals having four feet, legs or leglike appendages. Amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs/birds, and mammals are all tetrapods, and even the limbless snakes are tetrapods by descent. The earliest tetrapods radiated from the Sarcopterygii, or lobe-finned fish. The oldest known tetrapod tracks, were made during the Eifelian stage of the Middle Devonian. The tracks are dated to about 395 million years ago, 18 million years earlier than the oldest known tetrapod body fossils. Some tracks show digits, indicating that the animal had the ability to walk on land. Additionally, the tracks show that the animal was capable of thrusting its arms and legs forward. This type of motion would have been impossible in tetrapodomorphs such as Tiktaalik.
Therapsida Therapsida is a group of synapsids that includes mammals and their immediate evolutionary ancestors. Other than the mammals, all lineages of the therapsids are extinct, with the last known non-mammalian therapsids dying out in the Early Cretaceous period (146 Ma to 100 Ma). The Permian-Triassic extinction event ended the dominance of the therapsids, and in the Early Triassic all the medium to large land animal niches were taken over by early archosaurs, which were the ancestors of crocodilians, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and birds. After this "Triassic Takeover" the cynodonts and their descendants could only survive as small, mainly nocturnal insectivores. This may actually have accelerated the evolution of mammals - for example, the surviving cynodonts and their descendants had to evolve towards warm-bloodedness and the development of the middle ear, as their small size would have caused them to lose heat pretty quickly, and their nocturnal behaviour would not have favoured the usage of the eyes for sight.
The End of The Permian Period The corals were not the only species to become extinct. The Permian Extinction was largest mass extinction that had ever occurred. No extinction since has killed so much of the life on the planet. In the seas, 90 to 95 percent of the species went extinct or were severely harmed. On land the damage was less severe, with the herbivore cynodont Lystrosaurus flourishing in the early Triassic in the absence of most predator species, like the pelycosuars, that died out completely.
Sea Anemone Provides a New View of Animal Evolution Science 6 July 2007. Animals divide into two groups, sponges and eumetazoans. The eumetazoans consist of comb jellies, cnidarians such as anemones and bilaterians, which include everything else: limpets, lions, lobsters and us. Comb jellies and cnidarians branched off before bilaterians diversified into the variety of animal groups known today, and they are considered relatively "simple" organisms. DNA decoded from the starlet sea anemone Nemostella vectensus looks surprisingly similar to our own. This implies that even the very ancient cnidarian of choice genomes (450-million-base) were quite complex and contained most of the genes necessary to build today's most sophisticated multicellular creatures. Three quarters of the genes turn up in all three major animal groups examined, humans among them, but 1292 have been lost in the bilaterian nematode and fruit fly. See Also (same issue): Nailing the Myxozoa Jemenez-Guri et a formed a phylogenic analysis of an amino-acid alignment and found that the myxzoan Buddenbrockia plumatellae is actually a strange, active worm-shaped eumetazoan. The existence of a worm within the Cnidaria, challenges views on body plan evolution.
Porifera (Sponges) Sponges are mainly marine animals that make up the phylum Porifera. They are the most primitive of all animals. Comparing gene sequences (with other animals) suggests that they may be very close to the "Animal Eve" called urmetazoan. Tracing the root further back, it is found that the choanoflagellates (the single-celled ancestors) have possessed many of the genes necessary for multicellularity already. Their evolutionary steps are clearly demonstrated from single-celled aquatic protists to colonies and then appear as the collar cells in sponges.
Fossil Forum topic threads and galleries of fossil images from all periods by members.
The Weird Youth of the Animal Kingdom National Geographic by Carl Zimmer, 2013 - slide show images by Quade Paul. Paleontologists have found traces of animal life dating back at least 635 million years. Those earliest animals may have been like today's sponges, rooted to the sea floor and filtering food particles from the water. Over the next 100 million years or so, new kinds of animals emerged. Some were recognizable members of living groups of animals, while others were so bizarre that paleontologists suspect they belonged to long-extinct lineages. And then, in the Cambrian Period around 520 million years ago, the fossil record of animals starts to roar like a firehose switched from a trickle to full blast.
Prehistoric Life A BBC documentary.
Last Unival Ancestor The last universal ancestor (LUA), also called the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), or the cenancestor, is the most recent organism from which all organisms now living on Earth descend. Thus it is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all current life on Earth. The LUA is estimated to have lived some 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago (sometime in the Paleoarchean era). Some scientists suggest that LUA evolved in areas like the deep ocean vents, where such extremes prevail today. But archaeans were discovered in less hostile environments and are now believed by many taxonomists to be more closely related to eukaryotes than bacteria, though this is still somewhat contentious. The origin of chordates is currently unknown. The first clearly identifiable chordates appear in the Cambrian Period (about 542 - 488 million years ago) as lancelet-like specimens. The earliest chordate fossil have been found in precambrian Ediacaran deposits.
Why Algae? Algae - from the smallest single-celled microalgae to kelp forests- have been described as the basis of the entire food chain, the foundational nutrient source for creating and renewing all life on our planet. Dubbed "Earth's first food", Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (commonly abbreviated AFA) is a species of cyanobacteria (blue-green microalgae) that are among the most ancient of all living organisms. For at least 3.5 billion years cyanobacteria have provided oxygen to the atmosphere and nutrients to the myriad varieties of life forms that inhabit Earth's freshwater sources.
Origin of Life
Abiogenesis Life arising spontaneously from inanimate matter.
Panspermia The Panspermia concepts says prebiota substances are widely distributed throughout universal space and matter so any planet with favorable features that is within a Goldie Locks zone has the potential to host the beginnings of life.
Scientists Build First Synthetic Life Form J. Craig Venter co-mapper of the human genome - has synthesized a bacterial cell from scratch using chemicals and computer data- Step 1: Synthesis- A bacterium's four-letter based genome is sequenced on a computer and duplicated using chemicals. 2: Constuction- Snippets of DNA are fed into yeast cells that stitch them together until they form a complete, million-letter-long genome. Step 3: Activation- The synthetic DNA is substituted for that of a cell from another bacterial species and the cell continues to divide. (mg comment: Typical media hype! If two already existing life forms are essential to bring the synthetic, chemically replicated genome to life- this hardly qualifies as creating life from scratch.)
Origin of Life Geological evidence suggests that as early as 150 million years after Earth was formed, oceans and crustal plates had emerged that might provide organisms, life is the condition which distinguishes active organisms from inorganic matter. Living organisms undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment in successive generations. More complex living organisms can communicate through various means. A diverse array of living organisms (life forms) can be found in the biosphere on Earth, and the properties common to these organisms-plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria-are a carbon and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information.
Evolutionary Biology Search abstracts and find experts or colleagues from all over the world. Query powerful search engines to discover articles related to your research focus. Find out more about associated keywords: Phylogeny Genetics
Nature and Origin of Life on Planetary Bodies Earth had the right conditions that permitted life to develop some 4 billion years ago (either spontaneously from chemicals derived from gases expelled from its interior and/or from organic materials brought in by meteorites, etc from elsewhere in the Solar System (panspermia concept).
The Big Bang, Superstring Theory and the origin of life on the Earth - by J. T. Trevors Abstract: This article examines the origin of life on Earth and its connection to the Superstring Theory, that attempts to explain all phenomena in the universe (Theory of Everything) and unify the four known forces and relativity and quantum theory. The four forces of gravity, electro-magnetism, strong and weak nuclear were all present and necessary for the origin of life on the Earth. It was the separation of the unified force into four singular forces that allowed the origin of life. (Journal of Theory in Biosc ences (online) Issue Volume 124, Numbers 3-4 / March, 2006 - SpringerLink Date Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Traces of Inaugural Life ScienceNews Magazine, May 19, 2012. With guidance from biologists, geologists are looking at the remains of Earth's oldest rocks from a time after the cataclysmic formation of the moon some 4.35 bya to uncover traces of life left behind by the very first cells. Materials that could contain chemical signatures of the earliest life are mostly buried deep within the planet's interior, occasionally pushed to the surface when volcanoes erupt or mountains form. For geologists, the challenge is to find and analyze more ancient rocks to flesh out the picture of when life arose in the Hadean planet. For biologists, the next task is to combine their theories on early cells with geologists' descriptions of the early Earth. As the gap between microbiology and geochemistry narrows, the tale of how life began may gain an agreed upon time, a setting and, eventually, a plot.
Stephen Hawking, The Big Bang, and God A review by Henry F. Schaefer III - Stephen Hawking's bestseller A Brief History of Time is the most popular book about cosmology ever written. The questions cosmology addresses are scientifically and theologically profound. Hawking's book covers both of these implications. (A sympathetic review of Hawking's synthesizing God and universal creation.) Dr. "Fritz" Schaefer is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and the director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize and was recently cited as the third most quoted chemist in the world. "The significance and joy in my science comes in the occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it!' My goal is to understand a little corner of God's plan." --U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 23, 1991.
Our Cosmic Origins: From the Big Bang to the Emergence of Life and Intelligence - Armand H. Delsemme (Author), Christian de Duve (Foreword), 1998 A fascinating journey through the history of the universe that manages to explain the complex relationship between cosmic, chemical and biological evolution ... an excellent overview from the big bang origin of the universe to the development of life ... will promote critical thinking on the many aspects of astrobiology bearing on the understanding of the cosmic significance and origins of life.
RNA Origins (Article by Nicholas Wade Published: May 13, 2009) John D. Sutherland, a chemist at the University of Manchester shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life He has found the hidden gateway to the RNA world, the chemical milieu from which the first forms of life are thought to have emerged on earth some 3.8 billion years ago. Instead of making the starting chemicals form a sugar and a base, they mixed them in a different order, in which the chemicals naturally formed a compound that is half-sugar and half-base. When another half-sugar and half-base are added, the RNA nucleotide called ribocytidine phosphate emerges.
RNA World The RNA world hypothesis proposes that a world filled with life based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) predates the current world of life based on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and protein. RNA, which can both store information like DNA and act as an enzyme like proteins, may have supported cellular or pre-cellular life. Some hypotheses as to the origin of life present RNA-based catalysis and information storage as the first step in the evolution of cellular lif .
RNA and the Origins of Life (article in Access Excellence by Sean Henahan) Hitherto unrecognized properties of RNA add further support to the idea that RNA was the central molecule in the origin of life, report researchers. In today's organisms, nearly all chemical reactions are catalyzed by proteins, powerful enzymes that have evolved to master a bewildering array of tasks. However, proteins cannot carry a cell's genetic information. That deed is the domain of the nucleic acids: double-stranded DNA and its single-stranded relative, RNA. Although DNA is more widely known, scientists have found that RNA is far more complex and versatile.
RNA Synthesize Protiens The smallest RNA enzyme ever known to perform a cellular chemical reaction is described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this paper the Yarus group has made the amazing discovery that even an extremely tiny RNA can by itself catalyze a key reaction that would be needed to synthesize proteins. Nobody expected an RNA molecule this small and simple to be able to do such a complicated thing as that. Scientists have demonstrated that a five-nucleotide-long ribozyme can catalyze a key reaction needed to synthesize proteins, bearing implications for the origin of life on Earth. Their findings present further evidence that the first catalytic macromolecules could have been RNA molecules. Since they are simpler than protein-based enzymes, they were likely to exist early in the formation of the first life forms, and are capable of catalyzing chemical reactions without proteins being present.
Life In Space
Viking robots found life on Mars in 1976, scientists say. In a stunning oversight in analysis of images taken by the Mars Viking robots, NASA scientists missed clear evidence of a lifeform on the previously named "Dead Planet". The blame was attributed to the automatic app that used a limited area center-focus scan of the thousands of digital images to prioritize highest quality images for analysis. Degraded images below a certain quality level were not srutinized until now. Because the scan just missed the sharp image of the creature- it took scientists 36 years to finally discover the historic evidence. IIPT - a consortium formed by the international illegal pet trade - has already announced plans to fund a robotic mission to capture a breeding pair of the adorable alien critters.
The Story Of Earth National Geographic, 2011 Movie on Youtube. The spectacular story of the evolution of Earth from stellar dust to living planet presented in cutting-edge, streaming imagery. Five billion years ago there was no sign of the planet we call home - instead there was only a new star and a cloud of dust in our solar system. In this photorealistic CGI epic, see how a boiling ball of rock transformed into the blue planet we know today.
Solar System History: How Was the Earth Formed? ABDH Media, 2015. Combines first-rate animated graphics with in-deph commentary by Kate Ravilious and a team of cosmologists and astrophysicists. The story begins with a tremendous bang. Somewhere in our galaxy a star exploded, throwing out masses of gas and dust. This supernova, as these explosions are called, happened about 5 billion years ago. The wreckage from the explosion then crashed into a nearby cloud of gas, bringing together the ingredients for our solar system to form. The scenario unfolds with the hot dust mixture pulling together to create the nuclear sun surrouded by a swirling disc of hot dust and thence through the dynamic creation of our habital planet with its essential moon.
Astrobiology - is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This multidisciplinary field encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry and life on Mars and other bodies in our Solar System, lab oratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in space.
Journal of Cosmology Cosmology is devoted to the advancement of Science and is open to all scientific points of view which are supported by published scientific research. In addition to scientific, theoretical, and review articles Cosmology will publish original contributions in the fields of Cosmology, Astronomy, Astrobiology, Evolution, Genetics, and Earth & Planetary Sciences, including general science articles, commentary, editorials, speculation, and book and DVD reviews. Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.
Daily Galaxy Great Discoveries Channel - Launched in March 2007, The Daily Galaxy -Great Discoveries Channel is an eclectic text and video presentation of news and original insights on scientific discoveries, in cosmology, evolution, people, and events changing our knowledge of our planet and the universe. The Daily Galaxy is built on the vision that science, space exploration, and the environment and their expression in news, film, video, and events will dominate popular culture in the 21st century. A periodic updating of major discoveries with outstanding illustrations, informed blog commentaries and archives including articles at Life is Older than Earth Itself - Moore's Law, August 23, 2013.
Journal of Cosmology Astronomy - Astrobiology - Earth Sciences - Life Peer Reviewed. Open Access to Scholars, Scientists and the Public, Rudolf Schild, Ph.D. Executive Editor Astronomy, Astrophysics Department of Astronomy, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian, Cambridge, MA
Planetary Science Using 3D animation, this online DVD was created to better illustrate the history behind the discussion defining "What is a Planet?" and to outline some of the traits that may be associated with the definition of a planet.
An Astrophysical Basis For A Universal Origin Of Life We propose a universal, astrophysically based theory of the origin of life on Earth and on other rocky planets as well. Life is an information system where the information content grows because of selection. It must start with the minimum possible information, or the minimum possible departure from thermodynamic equilibrium. It also requires thermodynamically free energy that is accessible by means of its information content. Hence, for its origin, we look for the most benign circumstance or minimum entropy variations over long times with abundant free energy. The unique location for this condition is the pore space in the first few kilometers of the earth's surface. The free energy is derived from the condensed products of the chemical reactions taking place in the cooling nebula e.g. iron oxides and fixed hydrocarbon, CH2)16 and the benign environment is the thermal and radiation isolation of the earth's crust. We discuss how this environment occurs naturally and universally astrophysically. We then propose several chemical routes to the formation of life with a minimum entropy departure from thermodynamic equilibrium.
The Fabric of the Cosmos PBS DVD, 2011 - A four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist and author Brian Greene, takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time, and the universe. What is Space; The Illusion of Time; Quantum Leap; Universe or Multiverse
Listening to the Big Bang by Brian Greene, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2014 - Just-reported ripples in space may open a window on the very beginning of the universe. Inflation and the Multiverse A possible byproduct of the inflationary theory is that our universe may not be the only universe. In many inflationary models, the inflaton field is so efficient that even after fueling the repulsive push of our Big Bang, the field stands ready to fuel another big bang and ano her still. Each bang yields its own expanding realm, with our universe being relegated to one among many. In fact, in these models, the inflationary process typically proves never-ending, it's eternal, and so yields an unlimited number of universes populating a grand cosmic multiverse.
The Universe: Mega Collection Directed by Douglas J. Cohen, 2010 The History Channel - (DVD and Blue-ray) includes all 63 original episodes of all five seasons of this epic series, plus the feature-length documentary Beyond the Big Bang on 19 discs. Bonus Features Feature-length documentary: Beyond the Big Bang; Featurettes "Meteors: Fire in the Sky", "Comets: Prophets of Doom", "Ask the Universe", "Backyard Astronomers".
The Origin-of-Life Science Foundation, Inc. - A science and education foundation encouraging the pursuit of natural-process explanations and mechanisms within nature. The Foundation's main thrust is to encourage interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research projects by theoretical biophysicists and origin-of-life researchers specifically into the origin of genetic information/instructions/message/recipe in living organisms. By what mechanism did initial genetic code arise in nature? The primary interest of The Gene Emergence Project is to investigate the derivation of functional monomeric sequencing at the rigid covalent-bond level. This must occur prior to any selection for phenotypic fitness.
Finding Life Beyond Earth NOVA DVD, 2011 Take a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden. Combining the latest telescope images with dazzeling animation, this program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologosts explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system. Powerful telescopes and unmanned space missions have revealed a wide range of dynamic environments - atmospheres thick with organic molecules, active volcanoes, and vast saltwater oceans. This ongoing revolution is forcing scientists to expand their ideas about what kinds of worlds could support life. If we do find primitive life-forms elsewhere in the solar system, it may well be that life is common in the universe - the rule, and not the exception and even that we may not be the only intelligent lifeform.
ProtoBioCybernetics David L. Abel Title: Dr Advanced degrees: University of Maryland (College Park), Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), University of Georgia (Athens) Doctorate 1972. Research fields: Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Decision Sciences Dr. David L. Abel is a theoretical biologist focusing on ProtoBioCybernetics. He is the Program Director of The Gene Emergence Project, an international consortium of scientists pursuing the natural-process derivation of initial biocybernetic/biosemiotic programming and control.
Matter-Antimatter Entropy Physicists theorists figure the Big Bang must have generated just a bit more matter than antimatter, so that when all the annihilating was over, there was enough left to make the galaxies and everything in them. The Fermilab team found that in the collisions they conducted, the number of muons (a sort of heavy electron) that resulted exceeded the antimuons. The difference wasn't much - maybe 1% - but that might have been enough to get the universe started.
After the Big Bang As the universe expanded, it cooled too rapidly to allow atomic fusion to occur, making hydrogen and helium, the two simplest chemical elements, the only elements in the universe at that time. Now we are going to fast-forward to a couple hundred million years after the Big Bang. Under the influence of gravity, hydrogen and helium collected together into massive gas clouds, forming simple galaxies. These galaxies became the birthplace of stars. As elements in the universe at that time. the clouds became larger, gravity forced the core of the cloud to become increasingly dense. This resulted in the contraction of the star and changed the shape of the cloud into that of a huge ball. More and more pressure built up in the cloud, producing lots of heat, and slowly changed the color of the cloud to a bright yellow-white light. A star is born!
Life in the Universe: II Origin and History of Life on Earth- Remote Sensing Tutorial. Author: Nicholas M. Short, Sr. NASA. We need to expand our thoughts on how life may actually have originated in space, beyond just the Earth.
Astrobiology Theory Numerous articles examining astrobiology theory.
Prebiotic Molecules in Space Large prebiotic molecules in space; photophysics of acetic acid and its isomers; Fabrizio Puletti, Giuliano Malloci, Giacomo Mulas and Cesare Cecchi-Pestellini, 2009 November 16. An increasing number of large molecules have been positively identified in space. Many of these molecules are of biological interest and thus provide insight into prebiotic organic chemistry in the protoplanetary nebula. Among these molecules, acetic acid is of particular importance due to its structural proximity to glycine, the simplest amino acid. We compute electronic and vibrational properties of acetic acid and its isomers, methyl formate and glycolaldehyde, using density functional theory. From the computed photoabsorption cross-sections, we obtain the corresponding photoabsorption rates for solar radiation at 1 au and find them in good agreement with previous estimates. We also discuss glycolaldehyde diffuse emission in Sgr B2(N), as opposite to emissions from methyl formate and acetic acid that appear to be concentrated in the compact region Sgr B2(N-LMH).
Post Metaphysical Origins of Consciousness and The Mythos of Evolution
Big Bang Ghost? Science & Tech, 2012. Does this picture show the 'ghost' of a universe that existed before the Big Bang? Renowned scientist Professor Roger Penrose from Oxford Universityhe has spotted evidence that a universe existed before the Big Bang. Penrose says concentric circles discovered in the background microwaves of the universe provides evidence of events that took place before the universe came into being. This supports a cosmological theory of a cyclic universe- a feature in the creation cosmography of the Vedic tradition.
Theosophical Synthesis Presenting resources to explore issues in the tension between science/spirituality and evolution/creation and to examine possibilities for finding common ground and synthesis.
Life and Mind in the Universe The Origin of Death by George Wald, 2001 I have come to the end of my scientific life facing two great problems. Both are rooted in science; and I approach them as only a scientist would. Yet both I believe to be in essence unassimilable as science. That is scarcely to be wondered at, since one involves cosmology, the other consciousness.
How is it that we have a universe of matter at all? So we can take this to be a universe that breeds life; and yet, were any one of a considerable number of physical properties of our universe other than it is -- some of those properties basic, others seeming trivial, almost accidental -- that life, that now appears to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. I can only sample that story here and, to give this account a little structure, I shall climb the scale of states of organization of matter, from small to great.
What we recognize as the material universe, the universe of space and time and elementary particles and energies, is then an avatar, the materialization of primal mind. In that sense there is no waiting for consciousness to arise. It is there always. What we wait for in the evolution of life is only the culminating event, the emergence of creatures that in their self-awareness can articulate consciousness, can give it a voice and, being also social creatures, can embody it in culture: in technology, art and science. The anthropic principle states essentially what I have just said: that the universe possesses the properties it does in order eventually to produce physicists...a universe - that to be - needs to be known and to that end has taken on a design that breeds and fosters life; so that life might eventually, here and there, evolve scientists who could cast back upon the history that produced them, and could begin to understand it. That, through their knowing, the universe could achieve increasingly the reality of becoming known, of coming to know itself.
Epic of Evolution The phrase Epic of Evolution represents an attempt to create a mythic narrative aimed at reconciling religious and scientific views of cosmic evolution, biological evolution, and sociocultural evolution. According to Taylor's Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, it is the 14 billion year narrative of cosmic, planetary, life, and cultural evolution - told in sacred ways. Not only does it bridge mainstream science and a diversity of religious traditions; if skillfully told, it makes the science story memorable and deeply meaningful, while enriching one's religious faith or secular outlook.
The Big Bang Youtube Video - The beginning of the universe 13.7 bya. Part 1 of 18 episodes exploring evolution, consciousness and theosophical issues.
Earth Empathy Adventure A portal resource presenting a variety of practices designed for experiencing a sense of integating our deep-time biological and cosmological evolution.
What Happened Before the Big Bang? Horizon - BBC Series exploring topical scientific issues. They are the biggest questions that science can possibly ask: where did everything in our universe come from? How did it all begin? For nearly a hundred years, we thought we had the answer: a big bang some 14 billion years ago. But now some scientists believe that was not really the beginning. Our universe may have had a life before this violent moment of creation. Horizon takes the ultimate trip into the unknown of cosmic bounces, rips and multiple universes, to explore what may have happened before the big bang.
God Not Needed by Alan Boyle - British physicist Stephen Hawking's latest book is already making waves with his observation that science can explain the universe's origin without invoking God. "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,". Richard Dawkins, hawking his GOD DOES NOT EXIST mantra says, "Darwin kicked him out of biology, but physics remained more uncertain, Hawking is now administering the coup de grace." Discussion by ordinary folks follows proving non academics can weigh in with equally profound but contradictory insight.
Credibility Hawking God a detailed examination of Stephen Hawking's latest pronouncements in regards to God from his 2010 book The Grand Design and the August 08 2011, Discovery Channel/BBC airing of the first show in their Curiosity series entitled Did God Create the Universe?
Listening to the Big Bang by Brian Greene, Smithsonian Magazine May 2014. Just-reported ripples in space may open a window on the very beginning of the universe. Quantum jitters; gravity that can both attract and repel; inflationary theories - is evidence growing for a cosmological paradigm for a multiverse reality?
Sir Roger Penrose: Cosmic Inflation is Fantasy Maverick scientist Stephen Crothers deals with the academic establishment's effort to discredit his (sans PhD) science. See also: Black Holes & Relativity, Part One Video, 2013 by Stephen J. Crothers The Non-existence of the Black Hole and the Failure of General RelativityPart Two. Google: stephen crothers australia for pros & cons addressing credibility of his work.
Many a physicist has fallen in the trap of viewing a model as reality... "The skeptic will say, 'It may well be true that this system of equations is reasonable from a logical standpoint, but this does not prove that it corresponds to nature.' You are right, dear skeptic. Experience alone can decide on truth." - Albert Einstein
Involution (Philosophy) In integral thought, involution is the process by which the Divine manifests the cosmos. The process by which the creation rises to higher states and states of consciousness is the evolution. Involution prepa es the universe for the Big Bang; evolution continues from that point forward. The term involution comes from the idea that the divine involves itself in creation.
Absolute Spirit Sri Aurobindo, Kant and Hegel on the involution-evolution of Absolute Spirit - Philosophy East and West, Vol. 31, No. 2 Abstract: Kant ignited a revolution in philosophy with his doctrine of transendental idealism, which asserted that consciousness is not only receptive in character, but also "constitutive" of its experiential contents, accomplished through an a priori threefold synthesis in sensation, imagination and cognition. Hegel later appropriated this notion of an impersonal unity of self-consciousness, which was for Kant a purely logical principle, and transformed it into the supreme metaphysical category of the highest generality at the base of actuality, reifying it as the "Absolute Spirit," or God, a self-positing universal consciousness which entirely creates and projects its own experiential contents, only to reabsorb them again as a self-mediated identity-in-difference. Sri Aurobindo, appropriated Hegel's notion of an Absolute Spirit and employed it to radically restructure the architectonic framework of the ancient Hindu Vedanta system in contemporary terms.
Post Metaphysics and Beyond: The AQAL framework as Kosmic Compass by Frank Visser - Wilber has reconsidered his loyalty to the perennial philosophy the most in the case of the teaching of involution. Traditional esoteric philosophy holds that involution precedes evolution, and evolution in a sense recapitulates the steps taken during involution. Where involution is a downward process moving from Spirit to matter, evolution is the reverse upward process from matter to Spirit. Though Wilber has rarely elaborated on this notion of involution, not even in his early works, he always related it to he Big Bang at the start of the physical universe. According to Wilber, this leads to a view of evolution bereft of freedom, since it's only a kind of reverse video of the involution that preceded it. He has stripped the doctrine of involution of much of it's ontological specifics, leaving only a handful of "involutionary givens", such as "the great morphic field of evolutionary potential" and "certain physical laws described by mathematics". Consequently, there are no hard and fast steps on the Ladder of Life laid down by involution, only a gentle push to move upwards to Spirit. Again, notice the predominantly flatland topics mentioned here: the Big Bang, the laws of physics and mathematics, etc. Here's a clear understanding of the interrelatedness of the complex processes of involution and evolution, the mechanism by which consciousness awakens from it's slumber, and the important function of the outermost body.
Involution (Sri Aurobindo) For Sri Aurobindo, involution is the process by which the Omnipresent Reality, i.e. the Absolute, Brahman extends Itself to create a universe of separate forms from out of Its own Force/Energy. The reason for involution is Delight - the Delight of Being (the Spirit or Absolute) moving to Delight of Becoming (temporal existence, the cosmos), throwing itself into a multiplicity of forms, becoming lost in the inconscience of matter (Life Divine Ch.11-12), and then through evolution the Delight of rediscovering the Spirit which had been hidden. Evolution is thus the movement forward by which the created universe evolves from its initial state of inconscience(i.e. as matter), evolves animated life forms and mental beings (i.e. humans), and continues to evolve spiritual properties, and in that process rediscovers its Source. (m-g commentary: Samadhi grace being the process by which the supreme spirit expresses the desire (delight) to be known.)
A New Integral Paradigm - Cosmology, Involution, and Evolution: Involution; Evolution - the whole picture; Evolution and Physical Reality; Evolutionary Stages - Six Singularities; Individual and Collective evolution; Occult factors in Evolution; Evolution of the Individuality.
Meher Baba References to the involution teachings of this controversal guru.
Anthropic Trilogy Web-Books
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