Today I gave my lecture on mammal diversity and evolution in the 4th year vertebrate course. We have been talking a fair bit about paraphyletic groups, common vs. scientific names, and so on. Within this context, we explored the issue of whether we're "descended from monkeys", by taking a look at a phylogeny of relevant primates:
This is too funny. A website called Kill or Cure? has been compiling links to science stories in The Daily Mail (UK) and their apparent "ongoing effort to classify every inanimate object into those that cause cancer and those that prevent it".
A snippet of the entries under "M"...
Like many institutions, the University of Guelph is hosting a series of events in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. Two of them, a teachers' workshop and the Yodzis Colloquium, have already run, but there is another coming up that I am pleased to announce.
This View of Life: Evolutionary Art for the Year of Darwin
University of Guelph and Ed Video
Oct. 9 - 30
Reception Oct. 16, 5:00-7:00pm Science Complex Atrium
Admission is free
I sometimes get asked if non-coding elements (usually "junk DNA" is what they say) can ever evolve into genes. I usually say that transposable elements, at least, can be coopted into functional roles, and that it wouldn't be so odd if a pseudogene took on a novel function sometime through mutations. Kind of a lame answer, I know, but there haven't been too many unambiguous examples yet, so cut me some slack.
Anyway, here's a story in New Scientist that describes a report of three genes unique to humans that appear to have arisen from non-coding DNA. I don't know about other researchers, but I didn't consider this "virtually impossible", just rare.