Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Another take on evolution

September 11, 2016

A Mick Stevens cartoon in the latest (September 12th) New Yorker:

On the surface, just about evolution, but actually about any leaving, from any place or situation. Please don’t go; we can make things better here!

November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.


The evolution of woman

May 29, 2016

Via Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, this Evolution of Woman cartoon from the Tainted Lips Tumblr account of a young woman named Tupa:

The drawing plays on the widespread use of flowers (as vaginal symbols) to represent women. Think Georgia O’Keeffe.

SMBC 2011

April 26, 2016

Assimilating books into my collection. Just now, two Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal collections from 2011, when Zach Weiner put out two volumes of his webcomic under his Breadpig imprint: Save Yourself, Mammal! in July, The Most Dangerous Game in December. Handsome volumes, on glossy paper with excellent color reproduction. But a venture not repeated.

I mention them here because the second has, at the very end, on (unnumbered) p. 74, this entertaining Ascent of Man cartoon:

Paleo cloning!

The Ascent of MowerMan

April 10, 2016

Today’s Zits, with an instance of the Ascent (and Descent) of Man cartoon meme:

Many earlier postings on the meme, and now I’ve created a Page on this blog, on “Evolution postings”, under “Linguistics notes”: postings on the origin and evolution of life, on the origin and evolution of human beings, and on the origin and evolution of human language, plus some related matters.


March 1, 2016

A cartoon that came to me from Nancy Friedman on Facebook, who got it from Helen Lo there, who gives no source; these things get passed around from hand to hand, the graphic counterparts to jokes that people tell to one another, and almost no one knows (or, in fact, cares) about their origins — and why should they?


This one is clearly pretty recent, because of the final Donald Trump (or as people are now saying, Drumpf) figure. Otherwise, the body of the cartoon, without that extra figure, has been around for a while; it can be found on many dozens of websites (always without attribution, of course), and it has spawned a number of variants.

To come: Trump in cartoons. Evolution cartoons. Variants of #1, some on t-shirts. Plus a Bizarro bonus.


The Ascent of Bruce

January 21, 2016

In the February issue of Funny Times, this cartoon by political cartoonist Taylor Jones:

The third figure in the progression is Bruce Jenner, the fourth Caitlin Jenner.

Some words about Caitlin Jenner, and then a few on the Ascent of Man cartoon meme.


The evolution of nostalgia

December 15, 2015

A Liana Finck cartoon from the November 30th New Yorker:


Self-awareness has evolved to such an extent that man is able to look back in regret.


Language evolution, cartoon summary

June 21, 2013

Today’s Bizarro:

The Pooh-Pooh theory of language evolution.


Vestigial design elements

December 21, 2012

It started with men’s underwear, but eventually led me to a very strange place.

From “The underwear elves of 2012” (here):

Why mention the functional fly? Because these days many briefs etc. are made with false flies — made to look like old-fashioned men’s Y-fronts (a bit of stylist retro), but without an opening that might ruin the line of the garment. The FIZX brief and trunk offer an actual convenience to the wearer (the jockstrap is of course flyless).

First, a look at the way briefs and similar underwear have developed, to yield the current situation, in which you can’t always tell from just looking at a garment whether it has a functional fly or not. That leads to the notion of vestigial design element and to repurposing of design elements. And that takes us to features of living things, in particular functional vs. non-functional (vestigial) organs, and also to the recruitment of older structures for new purposes. There’s an analogy here between evolutionary development and the history of design elements, but it’s only a loose analogy, and I believe that evolutionary biologists and historians of design are quite clear that although there are suggestive parallels between the two, the underlying mechanisms are significantly different.

But then the Intelligent Design people enter the picture, and things fall apart into remarkably confused thinking, a mess that I’m at a loss to make sense of.