6 April, 2022 – Episode 870 – Are Brains or Brawn Better?


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This Week: Honey Tech, Squid Games, Nighttime Solar Energy, Fungal Phenomena, Nighttime Solar, XE Identified, WHO Plan, Infection Inflammation, Bat Buddies, Darwin vs. bigotry, Fungal Phone, Asbestos, Brain Changes,  And Much More…

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Recently a Republican US Senate candidate asked a question, he said:
“At one time, science said man came from apes…. If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it”

Ok… I will. First of all, if there were no apes now there wouldn’t be any humans since humans are a kind of ape. A mostly hairless bipedal ape, with a big brain and great technology, but an ape all the same.

What’s striking is that this creationist hot take has been around a long time comedian Tim Allen posted the same question to twitter five years back
“If we evolved from apes why are there still apes.”

Again, the answer is if there were no apes, there would be no humans, no Twitter, no Tim Allen, and no way to answer the question because we would not exist. So the question is a bit like asking “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

The answer to which is of course YES, yes it does, that’s how object permanence works, something babies learn in their first year but philosophers spent centuries worrying about this until science came along.

If we can interpret the question to be asking why are there still other apes, it just reveals that the cartoon they have in their head of how evolution works is wrong and we can blame science communicators’ past for that. The infographic of a chimp-like creature slowly becoming upright as evolution transitions from knuckle-dragging to bipedal, from hunched over caveman to a modern-day upright posture is fundamentally incorrect.

Nowhere in the 6 million year human ancestral record did our forbearer apes walk on their knuckles like a chimpanzee or a gorilla that is something other apes evolved into because they have spent just as much time-evolving as we have.

We have a common ancestor, one that likely climbed trees and walked bipedally. But evolution isn’t linear, and since then we experienced different pressures, we evolved in different directions and it is actually a really good example of how evolution works.

It’s the same reason sharks are fish, and yet there are still other fish.

Why people have pet cats and yet there are still lions and tigers.

Why there are over a thousand species of bat, more than 10,000 species of bird, and while there were several species of humans living at the same time, we are down to one now, though our DNA has traces of past interminglings which means they never really left us altogether.

So “why are there still apes?” is a really good question to think about!

And the answer should be obvious

There are still apes because without them we wouldn’t have This Week in Science!

Some quick science news you can appreciate!

IPCC Part 3
People, it’s time to act. CO2 emission reduction is essential to altering the path of climate change. And, now our technology allows us to see the changes in atmospheric CO2 in almost real-time.

Honey tech industry
Move over high-tech industry now there’s something way sweeter and stickier too!

Nighttime Solar
Solving a long-time problem with solar energy, Stanford researchers develop solar cells that function at night. But, not how you think.

High throughput nano experiment

Brains OR Brawn
Early mammals used brawn to survive after the dinosaurs died.


Want a COVID Update?

XE Identified
A new version of Omicron? It’s like if BA.1 & BA.2 had a baby.

WHO Plan
How will we get out of the pandemic phase?

Infection Inflammation
Antibody-mediated infection of blood monocytes gets aborted but triggers systemic inflammation.

Do you have COVID-19 related questions? Let us know!

It’s time for Blair’s Justin & Kiki’s Animal Corner!

Squid games
Color matching games!

Bat Buddies
Roommates make good friends.

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What science news does Justin have?

Asbestos is getting canceled… again
Hopefully, once and for all.

Darwin vs. bigotry
Disbelief in evolution is linked to racism & bigotry. Who would have guessed?

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Let’s use our brains and finish with Dr. Kiki!

Fungal Phone
What are fungi communicating?

Brain Changes
Our brains grow and shrink during our lives. The biggest accumulation of brain scans ever charts brain development over our lifetimes.

Do you have questions that you want us to answer (like, how to have greater longevity?)? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!
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Do you have questions that you want us to answer (like, how to have greater longevity?)? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!
Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Take a blast to the past…

What were we pronouncing at this time last year? This time last year we Talked to Ben Goldfarb for International Beaver Day, we also discussed New Physics?, Sensitive Tattoos, COVID Update, PUF Piece, Interview w/ Ben Goldfarb for International Beaver Day, Worm hunting Snails, Blaring Fireflies, Norwegian Blobs, Battery Race, Neander Ancestors, Rain Rules, Tit Turnover, Game Guides, Brain Glue, And Much More…

This week 10 years ago TWIS we discussed Feathered Dinos, Red Wine Diet, Female Objects, Seas A-risin, Sweet Whale Barf, Blair’s Animal Corner, Interview With Chris Mooney Re: The Republican Brain, And Much More! Take a blast to the past with TWIS!

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