Evolutionary Biology News

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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Single Factor Can Reset the Immune System Back 500 Million Years

August 18, 2014

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Single Factor Can Reset the Immune System Back to What it Was 500 Million Years Ago

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute reveal that a single factor can reset the immune system of mice to a state likely similar to what it was 500 million years ago, when the first vertebrates emerged. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE) in Freiburg re-activated expression of an ancient gene, […]

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Visual System of Marine Annelids Provides Insight Into the Evolution of Eyes

June 10, 2014

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Marine Annelids Reveals Insight Into the Evolution of Eyes

Scientists of the Max Planck Institute have reconstructed the first neuronal map of the visual system of marine annelids, gaining insight into the evolution of eyes. Larvae of the marine bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii orient themselves using light. Early in their development, these larvae swim towards the light to use surface currents for their dispersal. […]

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New Study Presents “Water World” Theory for the Emergence of Life

April 16, 2014

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New Study Describes How Electrical Energy Naturally Produced at the Sea Floor Might Have Given Rise to Life

A new study describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life, assembling decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture. Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling […]

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Study Reveals Why Life in Earth’s Early Oceans Increased in Size

January 24, 2014

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Biologists Reveal Why Early Life Began to Get Larger in Earths Oceans

A newly published study examined the earliest communities of large multicellular organisms in the fossil record, revealing why life in Earth’s early oceans increased in size. Why did life forms first begin to get larger and what advantage did this increase in size provide? UCLA biologists working with an international team of scientists examined the […]

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New Demographic Data Show How Diversely Different Species Age

December 9, 2013

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How Diversely Different Species Age

Based on the results of a long-term data collection project, a new study shows how different species age, unveiling diversity of aging processes that no existing evolutionary theory can account for. Despite aging being one the hottest topic in the media recently, scientists have no coherent explanation for it. New demographic data on humans, animals […]

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Rudimentary Form of Life Sidesteps Normal Replication Processes

November 4, 2013

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Rudimentary Form of Life Sidesteps Normal Replication Process

Researchers from the University of Nottingham have shown that in some organisms the genetic switches that control DNA replication are unnecessary and that cells will actually grow faster when the replication origins are not present. A rudimentary form of life that is found in some of the harshest environments on earth is able to sidestep […]

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