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Did Genetic Links to Modern Maladies Provide Ancient Benefits?

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Researchers have discovered that genetic variations associated with some modern maladies are extremely old, predating the evolution of Neanderthals, Denisovans (another ancient hominin) and contemporary humans.

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Blind Beetles Show Extraordinary Signs of Sight

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University of Adelaide researchers have made a surprising discovery in the aquifers beneath the Western Australian desert, which challenges the traditional Darwinian view of evolution.

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New Study Reveals Oldest Primate Lived in Trees

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Say “primate” and most people wouldn’t think of a tree-dwelling, squirrel-like creature that weighs no more than a deck of playing cards, but a new study suggests that may perfectly describe humans’ earliest primate ancestors.

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Virginia Tech Paleontologist Names a Carnivorous Reptile That Preceded Dinosaurs

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Paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt's latest addition to the paleontological vernacular is Nundasuchus, a 9-foot-long carnivorous reptile with steak knifelike teeth and bony plates on the back.

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Predatory Sea Snails Produce Weaponized Insulin

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Some cone snails add insulin to the venom cocktail they use to catch fish, University of Utah biologists have discovered. Adding the hormone to the mix of venom toxins may have enabled predatory cone snails to disable entire schools of swimming fish with hypoglycemic shock. The snail insulin could prove useful as a tool to probe the systems the human body uses to control blood sugar and energy metabolism.

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Out of the Pouch: Ancient DNA From Extinct Giant Roos

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Scientists have finally managed to extract DNA from Australia's extinct giant kangaroos ─ the mysterious marsupial megafauna that roamed Australia over 40,000 years ago.

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Yabba Dabba D’OH! Stone Age Man Wasn’t Necessarily More Advanced Than the Neanderthals

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A multi-purpose bone tool dating from the Neanderthal era has been discovered by University of Montreal researchers, throwing into question our current understanding of the evolution of human behaviour. It was found at an archaeological site in France.

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Mapping Snake Venom Variety Reveals Unexpected Evolutionary Pattern

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Venom from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Everglades is distinct from the cocktail of toxins delivered by the same species in the Florida panhandle area, some 500 miles away. But no matter where you go in the Southeastern United States, the venom of the eastern coral snake is always the same. The results of a large-scale survey of venom variation in the two snake species, published January 8, 2015 in the journal GENETICS, challenge common assumptions in venom evolution research, provide crucial information for rattlesnake conservation, and will help coral snake antivenom development.

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Black Widow Spider Venom Unveiled: The Fast Evolution of a Potent Toxin

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New research shows rapid evolution has helped to make the venom of black widow spiders so toxic. The results of this study will be presented at the annual conference of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in West Palm Beach, Florida on January 6, 2015.

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Desires of Microscopic Shrimp Illuminate Evolutionary Theory

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New research on bioluminescent ostracods shows how tiny crustaceans are helping scientists to understand evolution by sexual selection. The results of this study will be presented at the annual conference of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in West Palm Beach, Florida on January 5, 2015.