The Quintessential Work Of Charles Darwin, On The Origin Of Species, Wasn’t First Among Evolutionary Theories
When most individuals think about evolutionary theories, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species often comes first to mind. His insightful analysis of evolution through natural selection and descent by gradual modification has dominated our debate since his publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859. However, multiple alternatives continue to be debated and there were theories of evolution before his time. Among these was a one advanced by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in the early nineteenth century.
The single most pressing consequence of climate change, whether global or localized, will be in the shifting patterns and spread of infectious disease. Substantial alterations in temperature and humidity can directly relate to the distribution and virulence of many microbial pathogens, no matter the underlying cause.
A recent article in LiveScience proclaims that ‘Microbes may have caused Earth’s biggest extinction’. The findings are part of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, ‘Methanogenic burst in the end-Permian carbon cycle’. The authors believe that there was a rapid burst of microbial activity triggered by massive volcanism in the end-Permian period that released enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
Insight into biologic processes can sometimes be gleaned from unexpected sources. Harvard University researchers have designed and programmed a group of tiny robots to mimic the basic building strategies of termites. The robots are equipped with sensors and can assess their surroundings and collaborate through an innovative technique modeled on swarm intelligence.