fossil of the week

Pikaia, on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  One of the oldest known chordates, Pikaia featured prominently in Stephen Jay Gould’s book “Wonderful Life” and can be seen as perhaps an extremely distant uncle to our species.  Picture presented in black and white to highlight the fossil itself (Burgess Shale specimens are notoriously difficult to photograph, and I’m not a professional photographer).


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4 Comments on “fossil of the week”

  1. jg Says:

    Welcome back from your hiatus. I’ve enjoyed these recent posts. I’m still trying to find time to read Gould’s hopeless monster.

  2. darwinaia Says:

    Hey John, I’m glad to be back; back ahead with school work so my I’ve got more open time again. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the new posts. The Gould post is pretty long, so no worries there! I like some parts of Gould’s Non-overlapping Magisteria (i.e. science and religion can coexist at some level), but see some problems with his specific presentation, which is what I highlight in that post. How’s everything with you?

    • jg Says:

      Thanks for asking. Things are good in Southern California. Now that the weather has turned cold (it was 60F the other day, not counting windchill) I hope to spend more time indoors tweaking my online projects, and creating some science animations.

      I’m about half way through the Gould post….might have to take a day off to finish it.


      • darwinaia Says:

        Speaking of weather, I can’t believe it’s November already. Here in Montana its still comparably warm (compared to my 3 previous Novembers), so I can’t complain there.

        As far as the Gould post goes, I really like Gould as an author, as well as a paleontologist. Gould’s work was instrumental in getting me interested in this subject area to begin with, and I still think he’s done a lot of good, solid work. But yeah, I do see a few problems with his specific presentation and concept of NOMA.

        Just working through the newest version of Of Pandas and People, “The Design of Life”, It’s authored by Dembski and Wells, and shows “continuity” with Pandas. It also goes out of its way to attack “materialistic science”…good old Wedge Document-type stuff. I’m hoping to have a post up on the thing in the next few, beating the rush since the book has so far been relatively hidden. I guess better to touch on the book before someone tries to put it into a classroom than after. I’m not willing to shell out $35 to the ID people for a copy, s0 I’m working mainly from online excerpts and stuff.

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