Dirty mud-sucker!

Fossilized cetaceans provide for one of the more robust evolutionary records. Especially with whales, it is abundantly clear that it takes the fundamental underlying theme of all of biology – evolution – to explain all that pesky empirical evidence we have. Now some light has been shed on the origin of baleen.

The fossil whale, thought to be between 25 and 28 million years old, hints that mud sucking might have been a precursor to the filter feeding used by today’s baleen whales.

Many modern whale species use hair-like structures called baleen to filter tiny prey such as krill from seawater. Baleen species include the humpback, the minke, and the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth, the blue whale.

The newfound fossil whale, which measures just nine feet (three meters) long, shares the same distinct jaw and skull structures as today’s baleens.

But the tiny whale also had teeth, said study author Erich Fitzgerald, a paleontologist at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Save the planet for under two bucks

Want to help stop global warming? If so, then go here and buy the Eco Fruit and Veggie Bag. Are you a silly conservative who doesn’t accept the scientific fact of man-caused global warming strictly because it conflicts with how you think an economy should operate? Well, Eco Fruit and Veggie Bags are still good because plastic bags often become trash, and that’s ugly. Don’t contribute to ugliness.

Seriously, though. A friend of mine sells these. As such, she gets free advertising. Go buy!

A real trend

Being an irrational person, Bill O’Reilly cited a single poll and claimed it was evidence for a trend. He’s genuinely dumb. He’s also wrong anyway.

A Gallup poll of Americans’ attitudes towards religion released on Christmas Eve found significant recent increases in those responding either that they have no religious preference, that religion is not very important in their lives, or that they believe religion “is largely old-fashioned or out of date.”

But it isn’t all good news.

57% still say religion has answers to most of the world’s problems.

What does religion say of HIV? Or cancer? Maybe it has some insight into how best to tackle global warming? Does Jesus say what we should do about the recession? I guess the poll must not have asked “Does religion have the correct answers to most of the world’s problems?”

Everest: Beyond the Limit

Discovery has a new season of Everest: Beyond the Limit. I’ve been out of the TV loop for awhile now so I’m not sure if this season has just started, but it’s the first I’ve seen of it. Given that I just saw a guy get his knee dislocated and then popped back in place on the mountain, I suspect this season will be as good as the last two.

Hillary Step

Thought of the day

We all love the mountains, but the mountains don’t give a shit about us.

~Eric Simonson, Everest: Beyond the Limit

If she-bears were true