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Articles » Zoology

 

One of the most abundant wild mammals living in moderate latitudes is the common squirrel. Squirrels thrive in almost every habitat, from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert. They avoid only the cold polar regions and the driest deserts. Squirrels are also one of the very few mammals that thrive in cosmopolitan areas. Some wild squirrels have even become pets of a sort, or at least comfortable around people, if the human is patient and not aggressive towards the animal (Rose, 2014). As two of the leading squirrel authorities observed, “one can only marvel at how well adapted squirrels are to exploiting a forested environment” and, one could add, an urban environment as well (Steele and Koprowski, 2001, p. 11). Read the rest of this entry »


Preserving the Joy of Creation

Preserving the Joy of Creation

Introductory

A lot of people in these COVID times, especially young people, are growing tired of the same old scene, the same four walls, the same view out the windows. No matter how beautiful the scene, it soon ceases to interest us if that is all we see. Nevertheless, even in our same old environments, it is still possible to maintain the flame of interest in the creation. Some young people in Alberta recently shared with me some of their interests in the creation. Clearly their stories show how they are keeping their interests alive. Indeed, these stories can help enhance our appreciation of the creation too. Read the rest of this entry »


Exciting Coelacanths

Exciting Coelacanths

Introductory

There is a fascination with living organisms that closely resemble fossils dated at millions of years old. The classic definition of a living fossil is an extant organism that closely resembles fossil specimens.

In 1938 Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer of South Africa recognized that among recently caught fish, one specimen was unfamiliar. It turned out to be “the only living member of an ancient group of lobe-finned fishes that was known previously only from fossils and believed to have been extinct since the Late Cretaceous period approximately 70 million years ago (Myr ago)”1 Much later, in 1997, a second species of this fish was discovered in the seas around Indonesia. The two species were named Latimeria chalumnae and L. menadoensis respectively. Read the rest of this entry »


I remember hearing a biologist from Bristol in England. He was talking about his studies on diatoms (algae with glass walls). He described how he set out to study the activities of these cells on the nearby seashore. To collect the diatoms, he said, he used English toilet paper which was scratchy and impervious to water. The English students laughed uproariously at this. The Canadians, sitting straight-faced, did not realize this was a joke! At any rate what he found was that the algae emerged from below the sand surface during low tide in the day, but they then moved back under the sand before the tides returned at a different time every day. This is the kind of timekeeping ability in organisms that biologists were beginning to study. There were studies on people living alone in dark caves, studies on algae that glow in the dark, and fruit flies that emerge from the pupa at a certain time of day. How do they keep track of time? Read the rest of this entry »


Pterosaurs (Greek pteron and sauros, meaning “wing lizard”) are constructed from a combination of the characteristics of mammals, birds and dinosaurs with one of the weirdest looking beaks possible added on. This example points to the problem of taxonomy, the science of classifying life. Pterosaurs fly like birds and can flap their “wings” like a bird. They also can soar like an eagle using bat-like wings made from a flap of skin stretched between their body and a long fourth finger called the wing finger. They also have many body traits like dinosaurs. For this reason, they are often referred to as flying dinosaurs, or dragons of the air (Unwin, 2006, p. 2). Ironically, they are classified as reptiles likely because birds supposedly evolved after them.

Pterosaurs were first discovered in 1784 in the German Solnhofen limestone quarries. This is the same location where another strange creature, Archaeopteryx, originally identified as a pterosaur, was found (Clarey, 2015, p. 66). Twenty-nine pterosaur species, over 26% of the 110 pterosaur species currently known (in about 85 genera), have been found in Solnhofen limestone quarries alone.

Read the rest of this entry »


Wonderful New Book from Dr. Bergman

Wonderful New Book from Dr. Bergman

Introductory

Dr. Jerry Bergman, who needs no introduction to readers of Dialogue, is the author of a delightful new book for families and animal-lovers and all who enjoy fascinating details from nature. Readers of Dialogue, for more than fifteen years, have been blessed with little known insights into some well-known creatures. His new book Wonderful and Bizarre Life Forms and Creation is a collection of the “best of Bergman” from Dialogue plus a few completely new chapters. The twenty-three chapters present each creature with pictures and highlights. This is an attractive and well documented book in full colour, which will inspire much reflection and discussion. Many will want to buy several copies, one for personal use, and others for those special people in their lives! Read the rest of this entry »

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How COVID Created Opportunities!

How COVID Created Opportunities!

Intermediate

The media are full of accounts of how people have used their unexpected “down time” at home during the COVID pandemic. What we chose, be it bread baking or house-cleaning or crafts or whatever, obviously reflected personal preference.  As far as I was concerned, this time was a golden opportunity to do some extra scientific reading. It all began with an article in Nature that promoted an ancestral relationship for red seaweeds with an organism that was the exact opposite of all the features in red seaweeds. Perhaps I lack imagination but I could not believe that this prestigious journal had indeed published such an argument. It seemed hilarious to me. Read the rest of this entry »


First Class Resources for FREE!

First Class Resources for FREE!

Introductory

One family, with one child in high school, one in junior high and one in elementary school, were going to start with just one video clip from Michael Behe. The idea was, like the thin edge of the wedge, to first catch their attention. But everyone was so intrigued, that they watched all five episodes in one sitting! Read the rest of this entry »


Something Special About Bumblebees

Something Special About Bumblebees

Intermediate

An interesting article appeared recently in the journal Science that suggested that bumble bees have solved a problem that plant physiologists have been working on for one hundred years! It was in 1920 that plant physiologists Wightman W. Garner (1875-1956) and Harry A. Allard (1880-1963), while working with tobacco and flowering cosmos, discovered that the correct length of day is essential for the onset of flowering in these plants. They named the phenomenon “photoperiodism,” and it is an extremely important control on the beginning of the flowering process in many plants. Read the rest of this entry »


Wildlife Appreciation 101

Wildlife Appreciation 101

Children

 

You don’t have to travel to Africa to see beautiful creatures. Certainly Africa has amazing biodiversity. One of our daughters travelled to an east African country this past summer. In a nearby National Wildlife Park she saw zebras, lions, elephants, hippos, gazelles, giraffes, wildebeest and crocodiles. And she managed to take some spectacular pictures.

The rest of us might well declare that since we cannot go to a beautiful African wildlife park anytime soon, we are excused from conducting observations in the great outdoors. That however definitely is not the case. Even city dwellers can manage to view some wonderful wildlife nearby. Read the rest of this entry »


The Wonder of Boxelder Bugs

The Wonder of Boxelder Bugs

Introductory

A careful examination of objects by both telescopes and microscopes reveals a major contrast between human-constructed objects and those designed by the Creator.  Human made objects, such as a watch, reveal more imperfections as the magnification by which they are viewed is increased.  An old-fashioned gear watch is an object of beauty when viewed by the naked eye.  Under the microscope, though, the flaws in the machining process become more apparent until, under high power, a watch looks not only imperfect, but crude.

In contrast, increasing magnification of the natural world reveals new detail and perfection.  Read the rest of this entry »


Pangolins are some of the strangest animals you will likely ever see. They are covered with scales like reptiles and look like a cross between anteaters and armadillos (Kierst, 2013). Because they are like no other animal, they were put in their own taxonomic order called Pholidota, Greek for “horny scale” (Benton, 2005, p. 348). Their tough, overlapping, reptile-protective keratin scales cause it to look like a giant pinecone with a long, thin reptilian tail. Its profile looks very much like a miniature dinosaur and nothing like the mammal it is. It is a mammal because they give birth to live young that suckle mammary glands  as infants (Johnson, 2001, p. 31).

Read the rest of this entry »


Creation Weekend 2019

Creation Weekend 2019

Introductory

Friday and Saturday – October 25 and 26, 2019

Featuring Dr. Margaret Helder

  • Original research in algae, aquatic fungi and freshwater ecology
  • Taught biology to university and high school levels, and home school science workshops for all grades
  • Science writer for Dialogue and Reformed Perspective and other Christian publications
  • Expert witness at a trial on creation/evolution in the United States Read the rest of this entry »

Conversations on Creation

Conversations on Creation

Introductory

A friend, a while ago, articulated some possible critical arguments concerning advocacy for young earth creation which are based on observations from nature. Here are some reflections on that conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


Hippopotamus, called hippos, are monstrous, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammals native to most of Africa. Only in the Sahara Desert are they not found. Their origins have always been a problem for evolution because they  are like no other living animal. Only two extant species exist, the Nile hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius), and the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropisi liberiensis). During the daytime they are aquatic, floating in the water world, and at the nighttime they are land animals consuming mostly grasses, soft plants, and some succulent fruit. (Macdonald,1987, p. 507) They were named from the Greek words for river horse. Read the rest of this entry »