Bat will tell ya

Let Us Be Bats

The National Bat Monitoring Programme surveys are carefully designed so that anybody can take part in monitoring these fascinating but easily overlooked mammals. As well as being of great value to bat conservation, the surveys are fun and rewarding to carry out.

They usually involve visiting a roost or potential foraging site on two evenings in the summer. We run different surveys which cater to different levels of experience and knowledge.

Mr_c_Darwin

 

UK Bat Research Group

 

flying_squirrel_in_a_tree
Not a UK Bat!

 

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Natural Selection

Does not include creationism

Gradual Change Darwin Lamarck
Better than Lamarck?

 

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype; it is a key mechanism of evolution. The term “natural selection” was popularised by Charles Darwin, who intended it to be compared with artificial selection, now more commonly referred to as selective breeding.

Variation exists within all populations of organisms. This occurs partly because random mutations arise in the genome of an individual organism, and these mutations can be passed to offspring. Throughout the individuals’ lives, their genomes interact with their environments to cause variations in traits. (The environment of a genome includes the molecular biology in the cell, other cells, other individuals, populations, species, as well as the abiotic environment.) Individuals with certain variants of the trait may survive and reproduce more than individuals with other, less successful, variants. Therefore, the population evolves. Factors that affect reproductive success are also important, an issue that Darwin developed in his ideas on sexual selection, which was redefined as being included in natural selection in the 1930s when biologists considered it not to be very important, and fecundity selection, for example.

Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, but the genetic (heritable) basis of any phenotype that gives a reproductive advantage may become more common in a population (see allele frequency). Over time, this process can result in populations that specialise for particular ecological niches (microevolution) and may eventually result in the emergence of new species (macroevolution). In other words, natural selection is an important process (though not the only process) by which evolution takes place within a population of organisms. Natural selection can be contrasted with artificial selection, in which humans intentionally choose specific traits (although they may not always get what they want). In natural selection there is no intentional choice. In other words, artificial selection is teleological and natural selection is not teleological.

Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. The concept was published by Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in a joint presentation of papers in 1858, and set out in Darwin’s influential 1859 book On the Origin of Species, in which natural selection was described as analogous to artificial selection, a process by which animals and plants with traits considered desirable by human breeders are systematically favoured for reproduction. The concept of natural selection was originally developed in the absence of a valid theory of heredity; at the time of Darwin’s writing, nothing was known of modern genetics. The union of traditional Darwinian evolution with subsequent discoveries in classical and molecular genetics is termed the modern evolutionary synthesis. Natural selection remains the primary explanation for adaptive evolution.

Or would you prefer – This Created Version?

fucking-with-gods-story

 

The Last Universal Ancestor

Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms, and molecules.

Mr_c_Darwin

All life on Earth shares a common ancestor known as the last universal ancestor, which lived approximately 3.5–3.8 billion years ago, although a study in 2015 found “remains of biotic life” from 4.1 billion years ago in ancient rocks in Western Australia. According to one of the researchers, “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth … then it could be common in the universe.”

Repeated formation of new species (speciation), change within species (anagenesis), and loss of species (extinction) throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth are demonstrated by shared sets of morphological and biochemical traits, including shared DNA sequences.

These shared traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct a biological “tree of life” based on evolutionary relationships (phylogenetics), using both existing species and fossils.

charles darwin

The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite, to microbial mat fossils, to fossilized multicellular organisms. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction. More than 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct. Estimates of Earth’s current species range from 10 to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented.

 

In the mid-19th century, Charles Darwin formulated the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, published in his book On the Origin of Species (1859). Evolution by natural selection is a process demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, along with three facts about populations:

1) traits vary among individuals with respect to morphology, physiology, and behaviour (phenotypic variation),

2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction (differential fitness), and

3) traits can be passed from generation to generation (heritability of fitness). Thus, in successive generations members of a population are replaced by progeny of parents better adapted to survive and reproduce in the biophysical environment in which natural selection takes place.

This teleonomy is the quality whereby the process of natural selection creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform. Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of microevolution include mutation and genetic drift.

Blind_Watchmaker

driver ants – are they really such a menace?

Dorylus clean up for nature

Dorylus, also known as driver ants, safari ants, or siafu, is a large genus of army ants found primarily in central and east Africa, although the range also extends to
tropical Asia.

The term siafu is a loanword from Swahili,and is one of numerous similar words from regional Bantu languages used by indigenous peoples to describe
various species of these ants.

 

 

Seasonally, when food supplies become short, they leave the hill and form marching columns of up to 50,000,000 ants, which are considered a menace to
people, though they can be easily avoided; a column can only travel about 20 metres in an hour. It is for those unable to move, or when the columns pass through homes,
that there is the greatest risk…

Source 

 

 

 

The Watch Maker?

The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument, which by way of an analogy, states that design of creation (like a watch) implies a designer.

The analogy has played a prominent role in natural theology and the “argument from design,” where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe.

The most famous statement of the teleological argument using the watchmaker analogy was given by William Paley in his 1802 book Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity.

Source

The 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection put forward an explanation for complexity and adaptation, which reflects scientific consensus on
the origins of biological diversity, and provides a counter-argument to the watchmaker analogy: for example, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins referred to the
analogy in his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker giving his explanation of evolution.

The Importance of Elephants

 

MumWendi-withNewBorn
The magnificent African Elephant

100,000 elephants in Africa were killed for their ivory in just three years between the years 2010 & 2012.

 

Find more information and share about elephants by giving support to these sites:

 

MumWendi-withNewBorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education for the elephant children – fact guide. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Starry Messenger

Galileo

The Galileo affair was a sequence of events, beginning around 1610, culminating with the trial and condemnation of Galileo Galilei by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1616 and 1633 for his support of heliocentrism.

In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), describing the surprising observations that he had made with the new telescope, namely the phases of Venus and the Galilean moons of Jupiter. With these observations he promoted the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus (published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543). Galileo’s initial discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church, and in 1616 the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be formally heretical. Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to refrain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas.

Galileo went on to propose a theory of tides in 1616, and of comets in 1619; he argued that the tides were evidence for the motion of the Earth. In 1632 Galileo, now an old man, published his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which implicitly defended heliocentrism, and was immensely popular. Responding to mounting controversy over theology, astronomy and philosophy, the Roman Inquisition tried Galileo in 1633 and found him “gravely suspect of heresy“, sentencing him to indefinite imprisonment. Galileo was kept under house arrest until his death in 1642.

Galileo began his telescopic observations in the later part of 1609, and by March 1610 was able to publish a small book, The Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius), relating some discoveries that had not been dreamed of in the philosophy of the time: mountains on the Moon, lesser moons in orbit around Jupiter, and the resolution of what had been thought to be very cloudy masses in the sky (nebulae) into collections of stars too faint to see individually without a telescope. Other observations followed, including the phases of Venus and the existence of sunspots.

Galileo’s contributions caused difficulties for theologians and natural philosophers of the time, as they contradicted scientific and philosophical ideas based on those of Aristotle and Ptolemy and closely associated with the Catholic Church (despite their being pagans). In particular, Galileo’s observations of the phases of Venus, which showed it to circle the sun, and the observation of moons orbiting Jupiter, contradicted the geocentric model of Ptolemy and supported the Copernican model advanced by Galileo.

Jesuit astronomers, experts both in Church teachings, science, and in natural philosophy, were at first skeptical and hostile to the new ideas; however, within a year or two the availability of good telescopes enabled them to repeat the observations. In 1611, Galileo visited the Collegium Romanum in Rome, where the Jesuit astronomers by that time had repeated his observations. Christoph Grienberger, one of the Jesuit scholars on the faculty, sympathized with Galileo’s theories, but was asked to defend the Aristotelian viewpoint by Claudio Acquaviva, the Father General of the Jesuits. Not all of Galileo’s claims were completely accepted: Christopher Clavius, the most distinguished astronomer of his age, never was reconciled to the idea of mountains on the Moon, and outside the collegium many still disputed the reality of the observations. In a letter to Kepler of August 1610, Galileo complained that some of the philosophers who opposed his discoveries had refused even to look through a telescope:

My dear Kepler, I wish that we might laugh at the remarkable stupidity of the common herd. What do you have to say about the principal philosophers of this academy who are filled with the stubbornness of an asp and do not want to look at either the planets, the moon or the telescope, even though I have freely and deliberately offered them the opportunity a thousand times? Truly, just as the asp stops its ears, so do these philosophers shut their eyes to the light of truth.

Geocentrists who did verify and accept Galileo’s findings had an alternative to Ptolemy’s model in an alternative geocentric (or “geo-heliocentric”) model proposed some decades earlier by Tycho Brahe—a model, in which, for example, Venus circled the sun.

Galileo became involved in a dispute over priority in the discovery of sunspots with Christoph Scheiner, a Jesuit. This became a bitter lifelong feud. Neither of them, however, was the first to recognise sunspots—the Chinese had already been familiar with them for centuries.

At this time, Galileo also engaged in a dispute over the reasons that objects float or sink in water, siding with Archimedes against Aristotle. The debate was unfriendly, and Galileo’s blunt and sometimes sarcastic style, though not extraordinary in academic debates of the time, made him enemies. During this controversy one of Galileo’s friends, the painter, Lodovico Cardi da Cigoli, informed him that a group of malicious opponents, which Cigoli subsequently referred to derisively as “the Pigeon league,” was plotting to cause him trouble over the motion of the earth, or anything else that would serve the purpose. According to Cigoli, one of the plotters had asked a priest to denounce Galileo’s views from the pulpit, but the latter had refused. Nevertheless, three years later another priest, Tommaso Caccini, did in fact do precisely that.