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Majority of Americans Doubt the Big Bang

Poll shows 51% Americans unsure

(Newser) - Americans aren't really sold on scientific consensus. A new AP-Gfk poll finds that while the public generally believes scientists on issues of personal health—just 4%, for example, doubt that smoking causes cancer—there's widespread doubt on bigger picture subjects. A slim majority (51%) said they doubted the... More »

Ancestor of All Animals: the Sponge?

They made deep sea oxygen-rich, researchers say

(Newser) - Sea sponges don't get much respect—or even much use as sponges any more—but humans and every other complex animal on the planet may owe our existence to them, according to new research. Scientists believe primitive versions of the filter-feeders, which can survive in water with very low... More »

Ants Sacrifice Their Young During Floods

But other species, like bees and tamarins, will do the same

(Newser) - Guided by evolution, most species protect their young and let older ones die off in a crisis—right? Not in the case of ants, according to a study in PLoS One . When water washes out an ants' nest, the vulnerable larvae and pupae become life rafts, and queens are allowed... More »

Creationist: Bill Nye Gave Us Funding 'Miracle'

Their debate aroused interest in Noah's Ark theme park

(Newser) - Bill Nye must be rolling his eyes about now. His debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham aroused so much attention last month that the museum's proposed Noah's Ark theme park got much-needed funding at the last minute, NPR reports. "It was a challenging time, one that... More »

Christians Can Do Better Than Ken Ham

Brad Kramer reacts to last night's debate

(Newser) - After watching last night's Bill Nye-Ken Ham creationism-versus-evolution debate , Brad Kramer has a message for the world: "I’m a Christian, and Ken Ham doesn’t speak for me." Yes, Kramer believes "God created the world" and that "the Bible is all the word of... More »

'Science Guy' Bill Nye, Creationist Square Off

Bill Nye makes the case for evolution

(Newser) - In a showdown watched around the world Ken Ham believes is 6,000 years old, "Science Guy" Bill Nye traveled to Ham's home turf for a long anticipated debate on creationism vs. evolution. Some highlights from the slideshow-packed debate at Kentucky's Creation Museum, as per Time , USA ... More »

Fish Fossil Challenges Standard View on Evolution

Ancient creature suggests animals developed legs before moving to land

(Newser) - Conventional wisdom has it that the first creatures to emerge from the water eons ago did so without hind limbs. Conventional wisdom, meet Tiktaalik roseae. As the Boston Globe explains, Tiktaalik is a 375-million-year-old fish that swam in what is now the Canadian Arctic. Researchers already knew that the fish... More »

A Third of Americans Don't Believe in Evolution

Among Republicans, it's more than half: Pew survey

(Newser) - Sorry, science: Fewer than half of Republicans and white evangelical Protestants in the US believe that humans and other living things have evolved over time, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Overall, a third of Americans say living things are unchanged "since the beginning of time,... More »

Texas Relaunches Evolution Debate

Pearson biology textbook under fire

(Newser) - The long-simmering battle over teaching evolution in Texas has boiled over again. At issue this time are proposed textbooks that could be used statewide starting next school year. With midnight looming last night, some state education board members singled out a biology textbook by Pearson Education, one of America's... More »

Scientists Reconstruct 520M-Year-Old Nervous System

Mega-claw's brain fossilized, looks like a spider's

(Newser) - Scientists digging through old fossils have identified a 520-million-year-old mega-claw with an almost completely preserved nervous system—the oldest such find ever, the LA Times reports. The specimen belongs to the Alalcomenaeus family, which is part of a larger group of "megacheirans," meaning roughly "mega-claw" or "... More »

Biologists Discover Gears in Insect's Legs

It's the only animal known to have them

(Newser) - We're pretty sure the ancient Greek mechanics who invented the gear weren't copying the Issus coleoptratus, but if they'd had an electron microscope, they could have. In a paper published this week in Science, a pair of biologists reveal that young specimens of these relatively common bugs... More »

Genetically, Dolphins Are Like ... Bats?

They have nearly 200 genomic regions in common

(Newser) - One is an adorable marine mammal. The other is a creepy flying rodent that inspires masked vigilantes. But it turns out that, deep down, dolphins and bats have a surprising amount in common. A new study has found that dolphin and bat genes are strikingly similar in nearly 200 genomic... More »

City Mice Smarter Than Country Mice

Study finds that human activity has made some animals evolve larger brains

(Newser) - City dwellers have evolved bigger brains than their rural counterparts, a new study suggests—at least among white-footed mice and meadow voles. University of Minnesota biologist Emilie Snell-Rood looked at the skulls of 10 species of small mammals, and found that in those two species, specimens from urban environments had... More »

Maybe Neanderthals Weren't Such ... Neanderthals

Scientists find they were making bone tools long before humans arrived

(Newser) - Researchers have found what they say are specialized bone tools made by Neanderthals in Europe thousands of years before modern humans are thought to have arrived to share such skills, a discovery that suggests modern man's distant cousins were more advanced than we thought. In a paper published yesterday... More »

T-Rex's Brain Was Ready to Fly

CT scans reveal that non-avian dinosaurs had what look like 'bird brains'

(Newser) - Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's … T-Rex? Not actually, but you'll be forgiven if that's the image left by a new study that found some nonavian dinosaurs—including the lizard king himself—may have had "bird brains"... More »

700K-Year-Old Horse Yields World's Oldest DNA

Pushes back their evolution to 4M years ago

(Newser) - Woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and... horses? According to research using the oldest DNA ever found, horses have been trotting around for millions of years—about 4 million, to be exact. The study, published in Nature , explains how scientists used DNA from a 700,000-year-old horse foot bone found in Canada'... More »

Humans' Big Edge Over Chimps: We Can Throw

When our ancestors figured it out 2 million years ago, it was huge

(Newser) - A chimp would never be able to throw a fastball, or anything even close to a fastball, and that seemingly weird fact helps explain why humans came to rule the animal kingdom, says a new study in Nature . Researchers say that early humans—Homo erectus, to be exact—developed the... More »

We Might Look Like Anime Characters In 100K Years

Artist and geneticist offer eye-popping vision of human race's future

(Newser) - How will humans evolve over the next 20,000, 60,000 years and 100,000 years? An artist has teamed up with a computational geneticist to research and illustrate one possible timeline, in which our species basically genetically engineers itself into looking like really creepy anime characters, Forbes reports. "... More »

Oldest Primate Fossil Found

Tiny creature from 55M years ago discovered in ancient Chinese lake

(Newser) - A tiny, funny-looking creature that scampered around what is now China some 55 million years ago might help rewrite the book on primates, reports the BBC . Scientists have concluded that little Archicebus achilles—it weighed about an ounce and was maybe 8 inches long—is the world's oldest primate... More »

1 in 13 Humans Have Feet Like Apes

Floppy feet offer small piece of evolutionary puzzle

(Newser) - No one wants to be told their feet look like an ape's, but scientists say that many humans' do, and there's a good reason why: It's evolution, baby. Humans typically have rigid feet, held together by stiff ligaments, explains the BBC . But researchers studied the feet of... More »

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