Animal Eye Close-Ups
Jeepers creepers, where’d you get them peepers?
Aren’t eyes just great? It’s amazing to see how evolution has solved a single problem in such a myriad of ways. Actually, to be more accurate, it’s amazing to see that evolution has molded such diverse and intricate machinery from perhaps the same starting point.
That’s right. Although it’s long been thought that animal eyes evolved separately as many as 40 times, eyes most likely owe their varied existence all to one single gene. That gene is named Pax6, and it’s a master control switch for many of the things that end up becoming eyes in jellyfish, flies, snakes and even humans. It doesn’t make eyes on its own, but acts like the conductor during the symphony of development. The protein it makes looks like this:
Now that we are sequencing more and more genomes, and deciphering the precise DNA sequence of Pax6 in all of those diverse creatures, we are able to map out how that gene has changed over time. Like a game of molecular telephone, DNA sequences (usually) get more and more scrambled as they spread into new species. Follow the molecular breadcrumbs back far enough, and you can find out where you came from.
And for all those oodles of eyes, all gorgeous, intricate and exquisite, Pax6 might hold the key to seeing where vision began.
In honor of the almost-here Bioshock Infinite…the moment everyone lost their mind over Bioshock 1!
Louisiana Senator Wants to Know if E. Coli Could Evolve Into a Human
A heroic teacher sat before Louisiana state senator Mike Walsworth and attempted to describe an amazing experiment that demonstrates the truth and beauty of the theory of natural selection. I call her a “hero” because she somehow didn’t flip the table over at 0:50.
She attempts to explain how Richard Lenski has been growing E. coli bacteria, diluting them every day into new liquid food, observing their constant change and adaptation along the way, allowing their fast reproduction to accelerate our observation of evolution. It is the single most elegant proof of evolution that I know of in biology.
Then, he asks her if they could evolve into a human.
We share a common ancestor, billions of years ago. That doesn’t mean they are our ancestors. Trees of life have branches. Two leaves on opposite sides of a tree do not grow from the same twig, but they originated from the same seed. This is an important thing to GET when it comes to evolution.
So no, E. coli could not evolve into a human. Nor could chimpanzees, or dinosaurs. That’s right. Shockingly, this guy would have more chance of becoming a chicken:
Keep up the good fight for science, folks. You’re the next generation of thinkers. Given a little time, you can help the world evolve into a more science literate place.
My state sometimes…ugh!
This photographer was attacked by a polar bear while shooting a documentary for the BBC in Norway!
Fortunately, he was in a pod that let him see out.
You can now add polar bear selfie to your photo bucket list.
When Coca-Cola’s beats are out of work in the months after Xmas, they gotta make do.
Lily is a Great Dane that has been blind since a bizarre medical condition required that she have both eyes removed. For the last 5 years, Maddison, another Great Dane, has been her sight. The two are, of course, inseparable.