Evolutionary Biology News

Genomic Regions That Set Humans Apart From Other Primates Carry Many Autism-Linked Mutations

September 22, 2016

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Autism and Evolution

New research from Harvard Medical School suggests that mutations in genetic regulatory elements may be important in both autism spectrum disorder and human evolution. Small regions of the genome where humans have diverged from chimpanzees contain a variety of mutations implicated in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, report Harvard Medical School researchers at Boston Children’s […]

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New Research Shows Neanderthals Were Born with Wide Bodies and Robust Bones

May 25, 2016

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Were Stocky from Birth

Scientists investigated whether the differences in physique between Neanderthals and modern humans are genetic or caused by differences in lifestyle, finding that Neanderthals’ wide bodies and robust bones were formed by birth. If a Neanderthal were to sit down next to us on the underground, we would probably first notice his receding forehead, prominent brow […]

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Yale Biologists Solve the Mystery of the Tully Monster

March 21, 2016

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Mystery of the Tully Monster Solved

A newly published study from Yale University reveals that the Tully Monster had gills and a notochord, which functioned as a rudimentary spinal cord. The Tully Monster, an oddly configured sea creature with teeth at the end of a narrow, trunk-like extension of its head and eyes that perch on either side of a long, […]

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Was Frozen Mammoth or Giant Ground Sloth Served for Dinner?

February 8, 2016

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Yale Researchers Put Prehistoric Mystery Meat to the Test

A famous dinner for scientists in the 1950s supposedly served meat from a woolly mammoth that was discovered frozen in the arctic. Yale scientists obtained a preserved sample of the meat, which DNA analysis proves is actually from a modern green sea turtle. The green sea turtle is an endangered species, so the flesh sample […]

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New Yale Study Links Childbearing to Accelerated Aging

January 20, 2016

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New Yale Study Links Childbearing to Accelerated Aging

New research from Yale University reveals the first evidence that childbearing may cause accelerated aging in women. The researchers tested 100 healthy postmenopausal women from five rural villages in southern Poland for biomarkers associated with accelerated aging. The study, conducted in partnership with researchers from Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow and the Polish Academy […]

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

January 7, 2016

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New Research Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

A new study from the Max Planck Institute reveals that the mixing of archaic human forms played an important role in shaping the immune system of modern humans. When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have […]

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Bacteria Can Be Spatially Excluded from the Exchange of Amino Acids

December 9, 2015

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Study Shows Bacteria Can Be Spatially Excluded from the Exchange of Amino Acids

New research shows that bacteria, which reciprocally exchange amino acids, stabilize their partnership on two-dimensional surfaces and limit the access of non-cooperating bacteria to the exchanged nutrients. In natural microbial communities, different bacterial species often exchange nutrients by releasing amino acids and vitamins into their growth environment, thus feeding other bacterial cells. Even though the […]

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New Model Maps the Development of Stem Cells in the Human Body

November 13, 2015

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New Model Analyses of the Development of Stem Cells

Using the telomeres on the chromosomes of blood cells, scientists have designed a mathematical model for mapping the development of populations of haematopoietic stem cells with advancing age. Stem cells ensure the regeneration and maintenance of the body’s tissues. Diseases like cancer can arise if they spiral out of control. In collaboration with doctors from […]

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Scientists Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

October 1, 2015

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Researchers Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

Newly published research details the effects of human genetic variation, finding that each person possesses on average about 150 variants capable of disabling genes. A massive effort to study human genetic variation has ended with publication of two papers in the September 30 issue of the journal Nature that catalog the genomes of more than […]

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Harvard Examines the Response to Light and Temperature Shifts in Northeastern Forests

September 21, 2015

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Researchers Conduct Climate Change Test for Forests

Biologists from Harvard University are examining whether the earlier arrival of warm weather will clash with genetic programming of plants. Harvard scientists are taking a hard look at northeastern forests for evidence of a potential springtime scramble, one that could be triggered if age-old growth cues are disrupted by climate change. Researchers in the Department […]

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Scientists Discover A New Species of Hominin

September 12, 2015

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Scientists Identify a New Ancient Ancestor of Humans

An international team of scientists has discovered a new species of a new species of hominin in South Africa that may have existed alongside modern humans. This small creature with a tiny brain opens the door to a new way of thinking about our ancient ancestors. The discovery of 15 individuals, consisting of 1,550 bones, […]

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Turtles Share a Recent Common Ancestor with Birds and Crocodiles

September 3, 2015

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New Research Shows Turtles Share a Recent Common Ancestor with Birds and Crocodiles

New fossil evidence reveals that turtles share a recent common ancestor with birds and crocodiles. There’s a twist in the turtle timeline. Thanks to new fossil evidence, paleontologists are able to prove that turtles share a recent common ancestor with birds and crocodiles. The discovery may settle a longstanding argument among scientists about the origins […]

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Pentecopterus – A Giant Sea Scorpion from the Prehistoric Seas

September 1, 2015

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Biologists Discover Giant Sea Scorpion Pentecopterus

Geologists discovered the fossils of Pentecopterus in a meteorite crater by the Upper Iowa River in northeastern Iowa. You don’t name a sea creature after an ancient Greek warship unless it’s built like a predator. That’s certainly true of the recently discovered Pentecopterus, a giant sea scorpion with the sleek features of a penteconter, one […]

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Fossils Reveal Dogs Evolved as the Climate Changed

August 31, 2015

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Brown Study Shows Dogs Evolved With Climate Change

A new study from Brown University shows how dogs evolved in response to changes in climate over the last 40 million years, demonstrating that predators are sensitive to climate change because it alters the hunting opportunities in their habitat. Brown University — Old dogs can teach humans new things about evolution. In Nature Communications a […]

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Recent Discoveries Change How We Think about Dinosaurs

August 19, 2015

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Triceratops Had a Relative Named Hellboy

Five recent discoveries has re-shaped how scientists and the general public view dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are cool. That’s not up for debate. But, even though the ancient lizards have been extinct for 65 million years, there’s still plenty of exciting, new research challenging the things we think we know about dinosaurs. Over the past few years […]

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Biologists Recreate the Evolutionary Lineage of Adeno-Associated Viruses

August 19, 2015

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Researchers Recreate the Evolutionary Lineage of Adeno-Associated Viruses

A team of researchers from Harvard Medical School has recreated the evolutionary lineage of adeno-associated viruses, allowing them to better understand the intricate structure of viruses and how different properties arose throughout evolution. Harvard Medical School researchers have recreated the evolutionary lineage of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to reconstruct an ancient viral particle that is highly […]

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How Birds Got Their Beaks

August 19, 2015

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A Closer Look at How Birds Got Their Beaks

In a new study evolutionary biologists reveal that bird beaks are the result of skeletal changes controlled by two genetic pathways, shedding light on the origins of one of nature’s most efficient tools. Birds are among the most successful creatures on the planet, with more than 10,000 species living across the globe, occupying a dizzying […]

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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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