This one has it all!

This recent genome paper has it all: “reveal“, “insights“, and the platypus fallacy.

Links to my evolution education papers.

I’m currently at Evolution 2012 in Ottawa, having spoken at an education workshop on Friday. Various people at the meeting have told me that they’ve found my education papers very useful, so I thought I would put links to them all in one convenient location and then direct people there. So, here they are:


The Platypus Fallacy.

I see, with rather alarming frequency, a major fallacy creeping in to discussions of human evolutionary history and how one may infer details about it. Specifically, there is a tendency to examine the traits of one or a few non-human species and to draw conclusions about the origin of human traits purely from these […]

Evolution: Education and Outreach Volume 3 Number 4.

Evolution: Education and Outreach Volume 3, Number 4 / December 2010



Niles Eldredge and Greg Eldredge 491-494

How Systematics Became “Phylogenetic”

Niles Eldredge 495-498

Introduction to the Special Issue

Sagas of the Children of Time: The Importance of Phylogenetic Teaching in Biology

Daniel R. Brooks 499-505

Why Trees Are […]

Special issue of Biology and Philosophy on the Tree of Life.

The September 2010 issue of the journal Biology and Philosophy is all about the Tree of Life metaphor, especially in the light of horizontal gene transfer in bacteria.

Biology and Philosophy vol. 24, n0. 4

Special Issue: The Tree of Life

Guest Edited by M.A.O`Malley

The tree of life: introduction to an evolutionary debate […]

My talk on evolutionary imagery at the Centre For Inquiry.

Here is a video posted by the Centre For Inquiry Canada of a talk I gave in Toronto a few months ago. Larry Moran was my gracious host, and there were some good discussions over beer not captured on camera. :-)

The links mentioned in response to a question:

Evolver Zone

Understanding Evolution


Sponge genome sequence published, expect the following.

Two students and I currently have a paper in review on genome sizes in sponges, but whether it is accepted or needs major revisions, we will have to update the reference list. This is because the genome sequence of the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica was just published. This is very cool, and allows some interesting […]

Teaching tree-thinking to undergraduates.

Rich Miesel has a nice paper soon to appear in Evolution: Education and Outreach which further explores ways to help students grasp tree-thinking in evolutionary biology. It’s the latest in a series of papers on this topic in E:EO and other journals and covers misconceptions that can’t be clarified too often.

Miesel, R.P. Teaching […]

Primitive frogs and phylogenetic fallacies.

As I have explained in various blog posts and in this paper, it is a fallacy to assume that any one character found in a so-called “primitive” species alive today was also found in the ancestral species. All living species are modern species, and “primitive” vs. “derived” refers to characters, not whole species.

Anyway, […]

Major misconceptions about evolution.

Jonathan Eisen has pointed out some rather significant misinterpretation of evolutionary relationships in a recent New York Times article. Of course, misconceptions about evolutionary trees, the evolution of complex organs, the mechanism of natural selection, and even the nature of the terms “fact” and “theory” are rampant.

I have tried to tackle these in […]