The Platypus: Half Mammal Half Reptile?

The platypus: for most of us, it is one of those quirky creatures from Australia that one day we hope to see. From an evolutionary standpoint, however, the platypus is fascinating.

An animal that produces milk for its young, yet at the same time lays eggs? A cute, furry, webbed-footed creature that can also release venom so strong modern-day painkillers are useless to affected humans? Rumor has it that at first glance, it was so bizarre that the animal wasn’t even believed to be real, but a mish-mash of others that were assembled together.

And rightly so: When studying the animal kingdom in school, mammals were completely distinct from reptiles. However, the platypus seems to be a unique combination of both.

Continue reading

Sulfur Bacteria: Defying or Supporting Evolution?

In early 2015, scientists found a type of deep-sea bacteria off the coast of Australia that haven’t shown evidence of change in approximately 2.3 billion (yes, billion) years. This threw some people for a loop.

When we’re taught to believe that organisms are constantly changing within their environments, how could this be possible? Doesn’t this defy everything we’ve learned about evolution?

Continue reading