Figure Fossils Playing Pretend

Figure Fossils Playing Pretend

A rather persistent myth about the history of palaeontology holds that fossils were widely believed to be the result of creative forces in the earth, until it was finally shown that they are actually the remains of living organisms. Time to dismantle this story. Continue reading “Figure Fossils Playing Pretend”

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Darwin on Stunningly Sexy Fishes

Darwin on Stunningly Sexy Fishes

In his 1871 book The Descent of Man, after discussing human evolution, Darwin sweeps through the animal kingdom looking for secondary sexual characters. These are features of an animal that are different between males and females, but not directly involved in the act of sex. Thus, for example, a lion’s penis is a primary sexual character, whereas his mane is a secondary sexual character. Everyone is familiar with such characters when it comes to mammals and especially birds – who doesn’t like a good paradise bird courtship ritual – but what about the fishes? Continue reading “Darwin on Stunningly Sexy Fishes”