Evolutionary Biology News

New Evolution Study Reveals Massive Genome Shift

June 15, 2015

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New Evolution Study Finds Massive Genome Shift in One Generation

By applying the latest tools of genome sequencing and analysis to preserved evidence from experiments carried out at Notre Dame in the 1990s, a new evolution study finds a massive genome shift in one generation. A team of biologists from Rice University, the University of Notre Dame and three other schools has discovered that an […]

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Study Projects How Climate Change Will Affect the Functions Birds in Ecosystems Worldwide

June 10, 2015

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Climate Change Will Affect the Functions Performed by Birds

New research from Yale University projects how climate change will affect the functions performed by birds in ecosystems worldwide. As changing climate reshapes the geographic range of thousands of bird species in the coming decades, ecosystems across wide swaths of the planet may be compromised, a new study warns. Based on environmental projections for the […]

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A New Timetable of Evolution – Reappraisal of Hydrocarbon Biomarkers in Archean Rocks

June 4, 2015

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A New Timetable of Evolution

New data show that the first single-celled organisms with a nucleus originated more than a billion years later than biogeochemical evidence had previously indicated. Contaminated samples have evidently created some confusion in the timetable of life. On the basis of ultra-clean analyses, an international team, including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, has […]

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Yale Researchers Illuminate Major Evolutionary Patterns of Snakes

May 20, 2015

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Researchers Generate a Family Tree for Living and Extinct Snakes

A team of researchers from Yale University analyzed snake genomes, modern snake anatomy, and information from the fossil record, generating a family tree for living and extinct snakes and illuminating major evolutionary patterns that have played out across snake evolutionary history. The ancestral snakes in the grass actually lived in the forest, according to the […]

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Gene Expression Evolves Best Under a House-of-Cards Model

May 15, 2015

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Gene Expression Evolves Under a House-of-Cards Model

Using sophisticated modeling of genomic data from diverse species, scientists from Yale University have answered a longstanding question about which competing model of evolution works best. Their research suggests that the “house of cards” model — which holds that mutations with large effects effectively reshuffle the genomic deck — explains evolutionary processes better than the […]

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Scientists Replicate the Molecular Processes That Led from Dinosaur Snouts to Bird Beaks

May 12, 2015

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Researchers Retrace the Bird’s Beak to Its Dinosaur Origins

Researchers have conducted the first successful reversion of a bird’s skull features, replicating ancestral molecular development to transform chicken embryos in a laboratory into specimens with a snout and palate configuration similar to that of small dinosaurs. Scientists have successfully replicated the molecular processes that led from dinosaur snouts to the first bird beaks. Using […]

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New Conifer Study Illustrates Twists of Evolution

April 29, 2015

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New Study Illustrates Twists of Evolution

A new study from Brown University examines a specialized pollination mechanism in conifers whose traits are linked through function but not development, exploring how integration influences patterns of trait evolution. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — A new study offers not only a sweeping analysis of how pollination has evolved among conifers but also an […]

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Modern Humans Triggered the Demise of Neanderthals

April 27, 2015

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Scientists Decipher the Demise of Neandertals

A newly published study reveals that Homo sapiens belonging to the Protoaurignacian culture may have been the ultimate cause for the demise of Neanderthals. Researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, analyzed two deciduous teeth from the prehistoric sites of Grotta di Fumane and […]

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Aegirocassis Benmoulae Hints at Early Arthropod Evolution

March 12, 2015

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Aegirocassis Benmoulae Hints at Early Arthropod Evolution

Newly discovered fossils of an extinct sea creature named Aegirocassis benmoulae provide key evidence about the early evolution of arthropods. A presentation by Dr. Peter Van Roy describing a new fossil anomalocaridid from the Early Ordovician Fezouata Formation of Morocco. Dr. Van Roy is one of the authors of a new study that has shed […]

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New Research Shows How Early Human Ancestors Were Unique

March 10, 2015

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Researchers Show How Early Human Ancestors Were Unique

New research from Harvard University and colleagues from around the globe reveals that the teeth of early hominins grew unlike those of either modern humans or apes, suggesting that neither can serve as a useful proxy for estimating the age or developmental progression of juvenile fossils. For nearly a century, the debate has raged among […]

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Scientists Discover a Gene for Brain Size

March 4, 2015

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Scientists Identify a Gene for Human Brain Size

A team of researchers has identified for the first time a gene (ARHGAP11B) that is only present in humans and contributes to the reproduction of basal brain stem cells, triggering a folding of the neocortex. About 99 percent of human genes are shared with chimpanzees. Only the small remainder sets us apart. However, we have […]

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Barb Geometry of Asymmetrical Feathers Sheds Light on Evolution of Flight

February 11, 2015

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Feathers Shed Light on Evolution of Flight

By taking a closer look at feathers representing the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to modern birds, Yale researchers demonstrate a better understand of how feathers facilitate flight in modern birds. The asymmetrical flight feathers of their wings are among the most distinctive features of living birds. But how are these feathers actually constructed, and when […]

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Yale Study Details Recent Shifts in Occurrence, Cause, and Magnitude of Mass Animal Die-Offs

January 13, 2015

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New Research Shows Mass Animal Die-Offs May Be Increasing

A newly published study from Yale University shows that an increase in mass animal die-offs appears to be associated with a rise in disease emergence, biotoxicity, and multiple interacting stressors. Mass die-offs of animals may be increasing in frequency and — for birds, fishes, and marine invertebrates — in severity as well, according to a […]

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The Role of Genetics Varies Over Time

December 30, 2014

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Nature and Nurture Vary Over Time

New research from Yale University shows that the effect of genes may depend on the total, historical environment in which the researcher and subject are embedded. Nature and nurture have found a new companion — historical context. A new study has produced the best evidence yet that the role of genetics in complex traits, including […]

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The Rapid-Fire Evolution of Green Anoles

November 13, 2014

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Native Lizards Show Rapid Fire Evolution

A newly published study from Harvard University found that in just 20 generations in 15 years green anoles evolved larger toe pads equipped with more sticky scales to allow for better climbing. Though it’s often portrayed as a process that takes place over thousands of years, under the right circumstances the evolution of enhanced traits […]

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Research Shows Ancient Kangaroos Likely Preferred Walking to Hopping

October 23, 2014

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Ancient Family of Sthenurine Kangaroos Likely Preferred Walking to Hopping

Based on a rigorous comparative analysis of kangaroo anatomy, biologists at Brown University reveal that the ancient family of sthenurine kangaroos likely preferred walking to hopping. Imagine that a time machine has transported you to the Australian outback 100,000 years ago. As you emerge, you see a huge kangaroo with a round rabbit-like face foraging […]

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Yale Study Shows Risk Patterns for Autism and Schizophrenia Associated with Birth Size

September 17, 2014

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Genetic Tug of War Explains Autism and Schizophrenia

A new study from Yale University shows that bigger babies do have increased risk of autism, while smaller babies are more likely to develop schizophrenia. The size of babies and even human behavior may be shaped during early fetal development by a molecular tug of war between paternal and maternal genes, according to an emerging […]

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Research Reveals Evolution Used Similar “Toolkits” to Shape Flies, Worms, and Humans

August 29, 2014

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Evolution of Flies, Worms and Humans Share Patterns of Gene Expression

Several newly published studies reveal that flies, worms and humans share ancient patterns of gene expression. Although separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolution, flies, worms, and humans share ancient patterns of gene expression, according to a massive Yale-led analysis of genomic data. Two related studies led by scientists at Harvard and Stanford, […]

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