News to Note, March 9, 2013

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on March 9, 2013
Featured in News to Know

Monkey do Birdsong and bird brains Story of an ancient chromosome Being “Berean” with The Bible “Gay” animals, again

1. Bearded Capuchin Monkeys Bash Nuts with Skill

Bearded capuchin monkeys are bright little creatures, indicating that chimpanzees and crows don’t have the market cornered on animal intelligence. To crack palm nuts, these monkeys can choose and use suitable tools as anvils and hammers with great skill.

2. Bird Brain Refines Songs On-the-Go

Bird’s brain is no “birdbrain” but fine-tunes songs on-the-go.

Though a bird doesn’t have vocal cords like humans, it has a syrinx at the forked junction of its trachea. By adjusting the tension in muscles controlling the rings of cartilage and the membranes in the syrinx as well as regulating air movement from each airway, the bird produces distinctive songs. You might think that studying how a bird controls its songs would be as easy as matching musical notes to neurons firing in the brain, but it’s not. Researchers have tried.

3. South Carolina Man’s DNA Tells Ancient Story

When a relative of Albert Perry, an African-American man in South Carolina (now recently deceased), decided to send his DNA sample to the National Geographic Genographic Project, she created quite a stir in the world’s genomic databases. Mr. Perry’s Y-chromosome didn’t match any of the data on file. Family Tree DNA took up the search for Mr. Perry’s ancestral roots, and their surprising discoveries and conclusions have just been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

4. 27 Million Viewers, What’s Next?

The History Channel reports 27 million tuned in . . . so what next?

The Bible miniseries premiered last Sunday night on the History Channel, reportedly the top cable telecast so far this year. Most reviews have been fairly positive, despite surprise expressed by many that a History Channel program would be Bible-friendly. Some Christians, however, raise significant concerns.

5. UK Academic: Wildlife Documentaries Need More Gay Animals

Wildlife documentaries are too family friendly, complains UK academic.

What’s wrong with the BBC’s wildlife documentaries hosted by the revered TV personality David Attenborough? Well, according to Brett Mills, the head of the School of Film, Television and Media at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, U.K., they should show more homosexual animal activity. His article “The animals went in two by two: Heteronormativity in television wildlife documentaries” assessing the content of three popular BBC wildlife programs was just published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • On the last night of February, a sinkhole opened beneath the bedroom of a Florida man and tragically snatched him from his family. His body could not be recovered from the massive hole. We seem to hear about a lot of sinkholes in Florida, but most don’t take lives like this. There are actually other hotspots in the United States and around the world. (You may view a photo gallery of sinkholes from all over the world at So what causes the ground to suddenly give way like that? Read Dr. Andrew Snelling’s article discussing the origin of sinkholes at The Florida Sinkhole Tragedy.
  • One of the giants of the biblical inerrancy movement, the diminutive but tenacious Dr. Duane T. Gish, went to be with the Lord this past Wednesday. Dr. Gish was recognized as one of the great defenders of the Bible of the past fifty years, best witnessed in his more than 300 public debates with evolutionists and often held before jeering crowds. Dr. Gish, a biochemist, taught at Cornell University Medical College and was a research associate at Berkeley. He helped form the Creation Research Society in 1963. Dr. Gish wrote his creationist classic Evolution: The Fossils say No, which examined alleged evolutionary transitional forms (including the “ape-men”), while serving as vice president of the Institute for Creation Research. He is survived by wife Lolly, four children, and several grandchildren, and also by countless people globally who were touched by his speaking and writing ministry. Those who are active and effective in creation science and apologetics today stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. Gish. Please read a personal tribute written by two who knew him well, Mark Looy and Ken Ham.
  • Arkansas's legislature just passed the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country, overriding the governor's veto. And they used the very language of Roe v. Wade to do it. Check back next weekend as we discuss the details and the fallout of this late-breaking story.

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