Monday, May 2, 2011

Science Mondays: Z is for Zoogenesis, second definition

Dahlias were loved

Back in the day when I studied Biology I was drawn away from the molecular to the ecological. I wanted to be pondering a wetland not looking at chemical reactions. I wanted to understand the relationship between a plant and an insect, not the human genome.

I wanted to understand evolution by studying how the environment created new species, not how molecules were involved.

Zoogenesis does mean how the first animal came into existence, but it can be applied to the first vertebrate, or bird, or warbler, or how the first Northern Waterthrush emerged.

Northern Waterthrush
photo by Orchidgalore

Zoogenesis is full of grays, it is not black and white. Life unfolded.

Two years ago I went in search of a book to help me teach evolution and found a great one at the Doylestown Bookshop: The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B Carroll. And suddenly I was drawn into what I avoided as an undergrad. If you want to understand zoogenesis, it is a great place to start.

for example: Understanding mutations (you and I have many that came from the creation of the sperm and egg that formed us) became as simple as understanding my keyboard mistakes--- deletions, repetitions, copy and paste, additions. All the ways we can mess up the code of English, our bodies can do with our DNA.

I still find it a bit of a mystery, but less so than before I read the book. Here is a photo I took while taking notes in Doylestown's library (a great place to learn about many things including jazz-- they have an amazing CD collection)...

break from taking notes


  1. zoogenesis ... I knew this not ... Thanks for the Science lesson :)

  2. I agree, science in all of its many forms is (or should be) painted in shades of gray. When I was a biology student years ago, the teaching of evolution is what drove me away from pursuing it as a career path. Yes, we are evolving in a manner of speaking, but the Darwinian concepts need to be revisited and reworked. Any scientist worth his or her salt is (or should be) naturally skeptical of making solid claims about anything without solid evidence. Theory is not fact.

    What a great Z post! You never cease to amaZe me...

  3. Very cool blog! I’m so glad I found you through the A to Z challenge. I look forward to visiting again.

  4. Stratoz, we did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

  5. So hard to believe you're to Z already. Seems like just yesterday was starting with B and then going back to A... I hope you enjoyed the journey; both the alphabet and the return to Zoogenesis!

    And speaking of learning, you might be interested to know you set me off on an educational investigation. Your photo mouseover works, while no other site does for me and my computers. So I did some research to find out how you made it keep working when MS and Firefox tweaked something that made it stop. And now I've got it back again on my blog, thanks to you!

  6. Sonya--- it is a cool word, that floated up from my past when thinking about the letter z

    walk2write--- thanks, they are understanding more and more of how evolution works, but it is still a bit mystery, that's for sure. However, in my opinion evolution is true. All it claims is that living things change over time. A theory in science is a true statement proven by much research, and there is plenty of facts proving that living things change over time. How it works, now that is what needs to be figured out, and those of faith can imagine God's hand involved. I have no problem with that, unless it is commanded to be taught in science classrooms, because it is not science. If you can't prove it wrong, it ain't science. and you can't prove that God does not exist. Thant may be the longest comment I have ever made ;')

    Sylvia and Elizabeth--- tis a wonderful thing to have succeeded.

  7. Snowcatcher--- tis a mystery to me how "I made it work." so I am glad that what ever it was that I did not know what I was doing, helped. ;')


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