Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine. The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2…
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To predict an epidemic, evolution can’t be ignored

When scientists try to predict the spread of something across populations -- anything from a coronavirus to misinformation -- they use complex mathematical models to do so. Typically, they'll study the first few steps in which the subject spreads, and use that rate to project how far and wide the spread will go. But what…
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Scientists to search for relatives of extinct Galapagos tortoises

George, the last known member of the Pinta tortoise species, died in 2012 at over 100 years of age after refusing to mate in captivity with females from related subspecies. Park rangers and scientists from the Galapagos National Parks (PNG) and Galapagos Conservancy will tour the Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island in hopes of "locating…
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In a first, fossil dinosaur feathers found near the South Pole

Ten exquisitely preserved fossil feathers found in Australia represent the first solid evidence that feathered dinosaurs lived at Earth’s poles, paleontologists report in an upcoming study in the journal Gondwana Research. The feathers date back 118 million years to the early Cretaceous period, when Australia was much farther south and joined with Antarctica to form…
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Beetle fossilised in amber reveals earliest evidence of prehistoric pollination as scientists discover the insect had flower traces on its feet when it died 99million years ago

The earliest-known example of a pollinating insect has been found preserved in amber dating back to around 99 million years ago, researchers report. The fossilised tumbling flower beetle was found with pollen still stuck to its legs preserved in amber from deep inside a mine in northern Myanmar's Hukawng Valley. The find pushes back the…
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Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed

An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed. The findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, are based on years…
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New data on the evolution of plants and origin of species

There are over 500,000 plant species in the world today. They all evolved from a common ancestor. How this leap in biodiversity happened is still unclear. In the upcoming issue of Nature, an international team of researchers, including scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, presents the results of a unique project on the evolution of plants.…
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The last mammoths died on a remote island

The last woolly mammoths lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean; they died out 4,000 years ago within a very short time. An international research team from the Universities of Helsinki and Tübingen and the Russian Academy of Sciences has now reconstructed the scenario that could have led to the mammoths' extinction. The researchers…
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These Butterflies Evolved to Eat Poison. How Could That Have Happened?

The caterpillar of the monarch butterfly eats only milkweed, a poisonous plant that should kill it. The caterpillars thrive on the plant, even storing its toxins in their bodies as a defense against hungry birds. For decades, scientists have marveled at this adaptation. On Thursday, a team of researchers announced they had pinpointed the key…
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