Carl Zimmer in National Geographic on flagellum evolution

Carl Zimmer has a post up about his new article in the November 2006 issue of National Geographic. The article surveys recent research on the origin of multicellularity, segmentation, the vertebrate head, eyes, limbs, feathers, flowers, and the new kid on the block…the flagellum! And he even bases it on Pallen and Matzke 2006. Mark Pallen is interviewed – unfortunately there is nothing about the Genomic Dub Collective, but I’m sure that’s destined for ReggaeTimes.

Famed flagellum researcher Howard Berg is also interviewed. Sadly, there is nothing about the ID movement’s frequent claim that one of the spiffy design features of the flagellum is that it is “water-cooled” – a claim which they usually attribute to Berg (googling “water-cooled flagellum” brings up only ID/creationism websites). In my humble opinion, a fish has a far stronger claim to being “water-cooled”, given that the heat-retention capabilities of nanometer-scale molecular system are essentially nil (I read once that the heat energy radiates away dissipates in picoseconds at that scale). Someone should ask him about that some day.