Evolutionary Biology News

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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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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