Posts tagged ‘evolution’


Time Tree is a new search utility for those interested in evolutionary divergence times between organisms in the published literature. Time Tree uses a hierarchical system to identify all published molecular time estimates on the divergence of the selected taxa and presents the results in a tabular format.

According to PennState’s press release:

“Timetrees are having broad impact in biology and in other fields such as geology, and even in human health, where researchers need to track the evolution and spread of disease-causing organisms,” said Hedges. At the other end of the timescale, astrobiologists, who study the origin and development of life in the universe, need to know which organisms were responsible for changes in the chemistry of rocks on Earth that are billions of years old. A timetree could rule out species that had not yet evolved at the time the rock formed, while implicating other species that have deep evolutionary branches. “The variety of uses of a timetree really drives home its power as an interdisciplinary tool,” said Hedges, himself an astrobiologist.

Of course when I found the app I immediately ran a search to find out when Homo sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris first diverged:

According to Time Tree, the species who would become man and dog first began to diverge about 100 million years ago. What Time Tree doesn’t tell is is that, in a rare and wonderful bit of evolutionary husbandry, somewhere between 12,000 and 135,000 years ago these two species would be espaliered together again.

September 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm 1 comment

The Past, Present and Future of Dogs

Because I’m still busy trying to catch up on stuff I haven’t been able to get done and get ahead on a few things in anticipation of another six months of recuperation and rehabilitation — there hasn’t been a lot of time to write thoughtful posts.  So here are a few interesting things I’d like to pass along:

For a look into the past, Ecce Canis, a wonderful essay by Justin Erik Halldor Smith on how our lives have been intertwined with dogs since prehistory, and what this means for both species.

A look into the present – as imagined back in 1974 – from Paleo-Future.

The future of politically correct relationships with pets exposed by Henry Makow in Bad Dog.

And just in case you came here looking for something a bit lighter – check out the emergency yodel button.

December 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm 3 comments

Well — This Explains it

If you are foolish enough to read too much of what is currently published about animal psychology, animal rights, operant conditioning, dominance hierarchies, raw food diets, titers versus vaccines, the use of corrections in dog training, breed specific legislation, theories of mind, aromatherapy, early spay/neuter, evolution and whether or not your dog really will resent you for putting that silly costume on him at Halloween — you’re probably at least a little bit confused by the rabidly opinionated and utterly contradictory information you’ve found.

I’m one of those morons who reads too much.  And having spent far too much of my life absorbed with books, laboratory data and computer modeling – I decided to allay a bit of my own confusion by (what else) doing a bit of research on the net. 

Eureka!  I’ve found the explanation.  The flow chart below was recently featured on The Lounge of the Lab Lemming.  And it explains everything.


And, if you insist on getting serious about being able to read an article, study or paper critically — check out A Magical Journey Through the Land of Logical Fallacies  (here’s part 2) and this short, but insightul article on Ethics and Peer Review at

February 27, 2008 at 3:13 am 2 comments

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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