Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

When the dinosaurs died, lichens thrived

When an asteroid smacked into the Earth 66 million years ago, it triggered mass extinctions all over the planet. The most famous victims were the dinosaurs, but early birds, insects, and other life forms took a hit too. The collision caused clouds of ash to block the sun and cool the planet's temperature, devastating plant…
Read more

Evolution of life in the ocean changed 170 million years ago

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research. Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate. However, from the middle of the Jurassic…
Read more

Pathogens may have facilitated the evolution of warm-blooded animals

Six hundred million years ago, fever appeared in animals as a response to infections: the higher body temperatures optimized their immune systems. At the time, virtually all animal species were cold-blooded. They had to sit in warm patches of habitat for extended periods of time to achieve fever-range body temperatures. For Michael Logan, a Tupper…
Read more

Bedbugs evolved more than 100 million years ago

Bedbugs -- some of the most unwanted human bed-mates -- have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. Work by an international team of scientists, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bedbug species…
Read more

Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, new research shows

Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, substantially earlier than indicated by most DNA-based estimates, according to new research by a UCL academic. The research, published in Science Advances, analysed dental evolutionary rates across different hominin species, focusing on early Neanderthals. It shows that the teeth of hominins from Sima de los Huesos,…
Read more

Researchers identify largest carnivorous mammals ever to live on land

Twenty-three million years ago, a giant carnivore larger than any modern-day lion or polar bear stalked sub-Saharan Africa, according to the fossils of a previously undiscovered species that spent decades in a museum drawer. Portions of the animal's jaw, skull and skeleton, including enormous teeth, were discovered in a drawer at the National Museums of…
Read more

A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious. Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit. The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on…
Read more

A Clever New Strategy for Treating Cancer, Thanks to Darwin

The large outer leaves of the vegetables were “literally riddled with holes, more than half their substance being eaten away.” With each step he took around the ravaged cabbages, tiny swarms of little ash-gray moths rose from the ground and flitted away. This was, it appears, the first record in the United States of the diamond­back…
Read more

Fossil Site Reveals Day That Meteor Hit Earth and, Maybe, Wiped Out Dinosaurs

Sixty-six million years ago, a giant meteor slammed into Earth off the coast of modern-day Mexico. Firestorms incinerated the landscape for miles around. Even creatures thousands of miles away were doomed on that fateful day, if not by fire and brimstone, then by mega-earthquakes and waves of unimaginable size. Now, scientists have unearthed a remarkable trove of fossils…
Read more