Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

After mastodons and mammoths, a transformed landscape

Roughly 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America's vast assemblage of large animals -- including such iconic creatures as mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, ground sloths and giant beavers -- began their precipitous slide to extinction. And when their populations crashed, emptying a land whose diversity of large animals equaled…
Read more

This Ancient Giant Armadillo Is Responsible For Giving Us The Avocado

But not just this giant armadillo. Giant sloths, four-tusked elephants, and a whole bunch of other ancient mammals that roamed the earth over 10,000 years ago also all played a role. Over at National Geographic's The Plate, they're looking at the history of how the modern avocado evolved. The history of humans and avocados stretches back quite far —…
Read more

Heart disease biomarker linked to paleo diet

People who follow the paleo diet have twice the amount of a key blood biomarker linked closely to heart disease, the world's first major study examining the impact of the diet on gut bacteria has found. Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) compared 44 people on the diet with 47 following a traditional Australian diet.…
Read more

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