Feature Channels: Evolution and Darwin

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Released: 6-May-2021 12:30 PM EDT
Evidence suggests bubonic plague had long-term effect on human immunity genes
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Scientists examining the remains of 36 bubonic plague victims from a 16th century mass grave in Germany have found the first evidence that evolutionary adaptive processes, driven by the disease, may have conferred immunity on later generations of people from the region.

Released: 5-May-2021 5:00 PM EDT
UNH Research: More Than One Way for Animals to Survive Climate Change
University of New Hampshire

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that to live in hotter more desert-like surroundings, and exist without water, there is more than one genetic mechanism allowing animals to adapt. This is important not only for their survival but may also provide important biomedical groundwork to develop gene therapies to treat human dehydration related illnesses, like kidney disease.

Newswise: Study Shows Independent Evolutionary Origins of Vertebrate Dentitions
5-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Study Shows Independent Evolutionary Origins of Vertebrate Dentitions
University of Bristol

The origins of a pretty smile have long been sought in the fearsome jaws of living sharks which have been considered living fossils reflecting the ancestral condition for vertebrate tooth development and inference of its evolution. However, this view ignores real fossils which more accurately reflect the nature of ancient ancestors.

Newswise: Newly identified saber-toothed cat is one of largest in history
Released: 3-May-2021 12:05 PM EDT
Newly identified saber-toothed cat is one of largest in history
Ohio State University

A giant saber-toothed cat lived in North America between 5 million and 9 million years ago, weighing up to 900 pounds and hunting prey that likely weighed 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, scientists reported today in a new study.

Released: 29-Apr-2021 11:35 AM EDT
Molecular biologists travel back in time 3 billion years
Uppsala University

A research group working at Uppsala University has succeeded in studying 'translation factors' - important components of a cell's protein synthesis machinery - that are several billion years old.

Released: 26-Apr-2021 12:10 PM EDT
We've been at it a long time
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Few sites in the world preserve a continuous archaeological record spanning millions of years. Wonderwerk Cave, located in South Africa's Kalahari Desert, is one of those rare sites.

Newswise: New Study Has Scientists Re-Evaluating Relative Brain Size and Mammalian Intelligence
26-Apr-2021 9:30 AM EDT
New Study Has Scientists Re-Evaluating Relative Brain Size and Mammalian Intelligence
Stony Brook University

Scientists from Stony Brook University and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior have pieced together a timeline of how brain and body size evolved in mammals over the last 150 million years. The findings will be published in Science Advances.

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Released: 23-Apr-2021 2:05 PM EDT
First description of a new octopus species without using a scalpel
University of Bonn

An evolutionary biologist from the University of Bonn brought a new octopus species to light from depths of more than 4,000 meters in the North Pacific Ocean.

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Released: 23-Apr-2021 1:20 PM EDT
Travel paths of primates show how their minds work
Oxford Brookes University

How primates get from A to B gives vital information about their cognitive evolution, say researchers in a new study looking at the travel paths of animals in the wild.

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Released: 21-Apr-2021 5:35 PM EDT
Creativity and Community: How Modern Humans Overcame the Neanderthals
American Museum of Natural History

A new study is the first-ever to identify the genes for creativity in Homo sapiens that distinguish modern humans from chimpanzees and Neanderthals.

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Released: 20-Apr-2021 3:25 PM EDT
Little Foot fossil shows early human ancestor clung closely to trees
University of Southern California (USC)

A long-awaited, high-tech analysis of the upper body of famed fossil "Little Foot" opens a window to a pivotal period when human ancestors diverged from apes, new USC research shows.

Released: 20-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Experimental Biology 2021 Press Materials Available Now
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

Embargoed press materials are now available for the virtual Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 meeting, featuring cutting-edge multidisciplinary research from across the life sciences. EB 2021, to be held April 27–30, is the annual meeting of five scientific societies bringing together thousands of scientists and 25 guest societies in one interdisciplinary community.

20-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
How Does a Nose Evolve into a Blowhole? Study Suggests There’s More than One Way
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

The two major types of cetaceans appear to have evolved their characteristic blowholes through different anatomical transformations, according to a study being presented at the American Association for Anatomy annual meeting during the Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 meeting, held virtually April 27-30.

20-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Brain Development Is Surprisingly Similar between Humans and Other Primates
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

What makes the human brain special? It’s not the time it takes to mature, according to new research. Scientists report the human frontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in higher-level thinking and reasoning, follows a developmental trajectory similar to that of other primates including chimpanzees and macaques.

20-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
How Did Dinosaurs Deliver Bone-Crushing Bites? By Keeping a Stiff Lower Jaw.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs chomped through bone by keeping a joint in their lower jaw steady like an alligator, rather than flexible like a snake, according to a study being presented at the American Association for Anatomy annual meeting during the Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 meeting, held virtually April 27-30.

Newswise: New Approach Helps Determine How Much Microbial Community Composition Is Driven by Selection and How Much by Chance
Released: 19-Apr-2021 11:45 AM EDT
New Approach Helps Determine How Much Microbial Community Composition Is Driven by Selection and How Much by Chance
Department of Energy, Office of Science

Quantifying the relative importance of natural selection, migration, and random shifts to a species is a major challenge in ecology research, especially for microbes. This study develops an approach named iCAMP that is based on the concept that different processes can govern different groups of species in a diverse community. Applied to grassland microbial communities, iCAMP revealed that environmental changes altered the relative importance of the ecological processes.

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Released: 15-Apr-2021 2:45 PM EDT
Study of Marten Genomes Suggests Coastal Safe Havens Aided Peopling of Americas
University of Kansas

How did the first humans migrate to populate North America? It's one of the great scientific puzzles of our day, especially because forbidding glaciers covered most of Canada, Alaska and Pacific Northwest during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

Released: 13-Apr-2021 5:05 PM EDT
The Chillest Ape: How Humans Evolved A Super-High Cooling Capacity
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Humans have a uniquely high density of sweat glands embedded in their skin—10 times the density of chimpanzees and macaques. Now, researchers at Penn Medicine have discovered how this distinctive, hyper-cooling trait evolved in the human genome.

Newswise: Study cements age and location of hotly debated skull from early human Homo erectus
Released: 13-Apr-2021 1:05 PM EDT
Study cements age and location of hotly debated skull from early human Homo erectus
American Museum of Natural History

Scientists also find two new, nearly 2-million-year-old specimens--likely the earliest pieces of the H. erectus skeleton yet discovered

Released: 7-Apr-2021 3:25 PM EDT
Genomes of the earliest Europeans
Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)

An international research team has sequenced the genomes of the oldest securely dated modern humans in Europe who lived around 45,000 years ago in Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria.

Released: 6-Apr-2021 9:50 AM EDT
Moffitt Researchers Demonstrate Tissue Architecture Regulates Tumor Evolution Location Matters
Moffitt Cancer Center

In a new article published in Nature Communications, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers show how the location of the tumor and spatial constraints put on it by the surrounding tissue architecture impact genetic heterogeneity of tumors.

Released: 31-Mar-2021 12:55 PM EDT
Study: Female Monkeys Use Males as “Hired Guns” for Defense Against Predators
Wildlife Conservation Society

Researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Congo Program and the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation found that female putty-nosed monkeys (Cercopithecus nictitans) use males as “hired guns” to defend from predators such as leopards.

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Released: 25-Mar-2021 12:50 PM EDT
Study introduces 13 new, threatened species of sparkly moths from Hawaii
Florida Museum of Natural History

Akito Kawahara was snapping pictures at a scenic outlook in Hawaii when he spotted the moth equivalent of a dodo.

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Released: 25-Mar-2021 11:35 AM EDT
Does selfishness evolve? Ask a cannibal
Rice University

One of nature's most prolific cannibals could be hiding in your pantry, and biologists have used it to show how social structure affects the evolution of selfish behavior.

Newswise: Where do the gender differences in the human pelvis come from?
Released: 25-Mar-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Where do the gender differences in the human pelvis come from?
University of Vienna

The pelvis is the part of the human skeleton with the largest differences between females and males. The female birth canal is on average more spacious and exhibits shape features that enable birth of a large baby with a big brain. In forensics, these pelvic differences are used for sex identification of human skeletons. Thus far it was unclear when these pelvic differences first appeared in human evolution. Barbara Fischer from the University of Vienna and her coauthors have published a study in Nature Ecology & Evolution presenting new insights into the evolutionary origin of pelvic sex differences.

Newswise: Snappy evolution was behind the success of ancient crocodiles
22-Mar-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Snappy evolution was behind the success of ancient crocodiles
University of Bristol

New research led by the University of Bristol has revealed that crocodiles once flourished on land and in the oceans as a result of fast evolution.

Newswise: Penguin hemoglobin evolved to meet oxygen demands of diving
Released: 23-Mar-2021 4:05 PM EDT
Penguin hemoglobin evolved to meet oxygen demands of diving
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Experiments on ancient proteins reveal evolution of better oxygen capture, release

Newswise: New evidence in search for the mysterious Denisovans
Released: 23-Mar-2021 8:05 AM EDT
New evidence in search for the mysterious Denisovans
University of Adelaide

An international group of researchers led by the University of Adelaide has conducted a comprehensive genetic analysis and found no evidence of interbreeding between modern humans and the ancient humans known from fossil records in Island Southeast Asia. They did find further DNA evidence of our mysterious ancient cousins, the Denisovans, which could mean there are major discoveries to come in the region.

Released: 22-Mar-2021 1:35 PM EDT
Spider study explores how body type affects running
Cornell University

Cornell researchers discovered that male huntsman spiders, who travel long distances to find mates, have small bodies relative to their long legs, while the females, who secure and defend their nests and don’t stray far from it, have bigger abdomens compared to their leg lengths.

16-Mar-2021 2:05 PM EDT
New study investigates how life on land recovered after “The Great Dying”
University of Bristol

Over the course of Earth’s history, several mass extinction events have destroyed ecosystems, including one that famously wiped out the dinosaurs. But none were as devastating as “The Great Dying,” which took place 252 million years ago during the end of the Permian period.

Newswise: Long-accepted theory of vertebrate origin upended by fossilized fish larvae
8-Mar-2021 1:35 PM EST
Long-accepted theory of vertebrate origin upended by fossilized fish larvae
University of Chicago Medical Center

A new study out of the University of Chicago, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Albany Museum challenges a long-held hypothesis that the blind, filter-feeding larvae of modern lampreys are a holdover from the distant past, resembling the ancestors of all living vertebrates, including ourselves.

Newswise: New Study Sheds Light on Caribbean Mammal Extinctions, Helps Guide Conservation Strategies
9-Mar-2021 12:45 PM EST
New Study Sheds Light on Caribbean Mammal Extinctions, Helps Guide Conservation Strategies
Stony Brook University

A new study reveals that the largest and smallest mammals in the Caribbean have been the most vulnerable to extinction. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, help predict future extinction risk and inform the conservation strategies needed to prevent future biodiversity loss.

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Released: 5-Mar-2021 1:50 PM EST
Chimpanzees without borders
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Researchers from the Pan African Programme: The Cultured Chimpanzee (PanAf) at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) and a team of international researchers, collected over 5000 fecal samples from 55 sites in 18 countries across the chimpanzee range over 8 years.

Newswise: Evolution drives autism and other conditions to occur much more frequently in boys, genetic researchers say
Released: 3-Mar-2021 10:45 AM EST
Evolution drives autism and other conditions to occur much more frequently in boys, genetic researchers say
McMaster University

Evolutionary forces drive a glaring gender imbalance in the occurrence of many health conditions, including autism, a team of genetics researchers has concluded.

Newswise: New book reveals Charles Darwin’s cultural impact in unprecedented detail
Released: 2-Mar-2021 8:45 AM EST
New book reveals Charles Darwin’s cultural impact in unprecedented detail
National University of Singapore

NUS historian of science Dr John van Wyhe has co-published a groundbreaking new book on Charles Darwin which shows for the first time the extent of his cultural impact over the past 160 years. A decade in the making, this volume demonstrates that Darwin is the most influential scientist who has ever lived, having the most species named after him and he is also the most translated scientist in history.

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Released: 1-Mar-2021 2:25 PM EST
The human brain grew as a result of the extinction of large animals
Tel Aviv University

A new paper by Dr. Miki Ben-Dor and Prof. Ran Barkai from the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University proposes an original unifying explanation for the physiological, behavioral and cultural evolution of the human species, from its first appearance about two million years ago, to the agricultural revolution (around 10,000 BCE).

Newswise:Video Embedded neandertals-had-the-capacity-to-perceive-and-produce-human-speech
VIDEO
26-Feb-2021 1:55 PM EST
Neandertals had the capacity to perceive and produce human speech
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Neandertals -- the closest ancestor to modern humans -- possessed the ability to perceive and produce human speech, according to a new study published by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers including Binghamton University anthropology professor Rolf Quam and graduate student Alex Velez.

Newswise: Scientists describe earliest primate fossils
Released: 24-Feb-2021 1:35 PM EST
Scientists describe earliest primate fossils
University of Washington

A new study published Feb. 24 in the journal Royal Society Open Science documents the earliest-known fossil evidence of primates. These creatures lived less than 150,000 years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event that killed off non-avian dinosaurs and saw the rise of mammals.

Newswise: Evidence That Earth’s First Cells Could Have Made Specialized Compartments
22-Feb-2021 7:00 AM EST
Evidence That Earth’s First Cells Could Have Made Specialized Compartments
Biophysical Society

ROCKVILLE, MD – Scientists have long speculated about the features that our long-ago single-celled ancestors might have had, and the order in which those features came about.

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Released: 22-Feb-2021 1:00 PM EST
Rapid evolution may help species adapt to climate change and competition
Washington State University

Loss of biodiversity in the face of climate change is a growing worldwide concern. Another major factor driving the loss of biodiversity is the establishment of invasive species, which often displace native species.

Released: 22-Feb-2021 11:35 AM EST
‘Jumping genes’ repeatedly form new genes over evolution
Cornell University

A study, “Recurrent Evolution of Vertebrate Transcription Factors by Transposase Capture,” published Feb. 19 in Science, investigates how genetic elements called transposons, or “jumping genes,” are added into the mix during evolution to assemble new genes through exon shuffling.

Released: 19-Feb-2021 1:20 PM EST
Origin of life -- Did Darwinian evolution begin before life itself?
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Munich)

Before life emerged on Earth, many physicochemical processes on our planet were highly chaotic.

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Released: 16-Feb-2021 10:55 AM EST
First humans in Tasmania must have seen spectacular auroras
University of Melbourne

Drilling a 270,000-year old core from a Tasmanian lake has provided the first Australian record of a major global event where the Earth's magnetic field 'switched '- and the opportunity to establish a precedent for developing new paleomagnetic dating tools for Australian archaeology and paleosciences.

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Released: 15-Feb-2021 11:20 AM EST
Neanderthals and Homo sapiens used identical Nubian technology
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Long held in a private collection, the newly analysed tooth of an approximately 9-year-old Neanderthal child marks the hominin's southernmost known range.

Released: 15-Feb-2021 10:45 AM EST
Capuchin monkey genome reveals clues to its long life and large brain
University of Liverpool

An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of a capuchin monkey for the first time, uncovering new genetic clues about the evolution of their long lifespan and large brains.

Newswise: How a Single Gene Alteration May Have Separated Modern Humans from Predecessors
8-Feb-2021 12:25 PM EST
How a Single Gene Alteration May Have Separated Modern Humans from Predecessors
University of California San Diego Health

UC San Diego researchers discovered a single gene alteration that may help explain cognitive differences between modern humans and our predecessor, and used that information to develop Neanderthal-like brain organoids in the lab.

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Released: 5-Feb-2021 3:25 PM EST
Nehandertals' gut microbiota and the bacteria helping our health
Universita di Bologna

Neanderthals' gut microbiota already included some beneficial micro-organisms that are also found in our own intestine.

Newswise:Video Embedded new-clues-emerge-in-how-early-tetrapods-learned-to-live-and-eat-on-land
VIDEO
27-Jan-2021 3:05 PM EST
New clues emerge in how early tetrapods learned to live — and eat — on land
University of Chicago Medical Center

New research out of the University of Chicago has found evidence that the lobe-finned fish species Tiktaalik roseae was capable of both biting and suction during feeding, similar to modern-day gars. These results provide evidence that bite-based feeding originally evolved in aquatic species and was later adapted for use on land.

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Released: 29-Jan-2021 2:05 PM EST
Experiments show the record of early life could be full of "false positives"
Geological Society of America (GSA)

For most of Earth's history, life was limited to the microscopic realm, with bacteria occupying nearly every possible niche.

Released: 29-Jan-2021 10:10 AM EST
Study: Did cobras first spit venom to scare pre-humans?
Cornell University

New research suggests that for some cobras, the venom evolved additional complexity to deter potential enemies – possibly including Homo erectus, humans’ extinct close relative.


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