Yesterday, I reposted an article on homology within the neck and shoulder, which describes an interesting technique of using patterns of gene expression to identify homologous cellular pools; the idea is that we can discern homology more clearly by looking more closely at the molecular mechanisms, rather than focusing on final morphology and tissue derivation. Trust me, if you don't want to read it all—it's cool stuff, and one of the interesting points they make is that they've traced the fate of a particular bone not found in us mammals, but common in our pre-synapsid ancestors, the cleithrum. They argue from a common cellular origin that this bone has been reshaped into a ridge on our shoulder blade, the scapular spine.
As many readers might know, though, the word "homology," especially when coupled with a novel technique for its determination, is always good for an argument. This one is no exception.
Continue reading Scientists...in disagreement!" (on Pharyngula)