Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

Genetic analysis of New World birds confirms untested evolutionary assumption

Biologists have always been fascinated by the diversity and changeability of life on Earth and have attempted to answer a fundamental question: How do new species originate? An implicit assumption in the discipline of speciation biology is that genetic differences between populations of animals and plants in a given species are important drivers of new…
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Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks

Fossils discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known existence of microbial life on land. Previously, the world's oldest evidence for microbial life on land came from 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old deposits in South Africa…
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Curiouser and Curiouser–Octopus’s Evolution Is Even Stranger Than Thought

As if octopuses, squids and other cephalopods were not already strange enough, they may have found a way to evolve that is foreign to practically all other multicellular organisms on the planet. For most animals, changes that might prove beneficial to the organism primarily occur at the beginning of their molecular production process. Mutations occur…
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Microbes evolved to colonize different parts of the human body

As the human species evolved over the last six million years, our resident microbes did the same, adapting to vastly different conditions on our skin and in our mouths, noses, genitalia and guts. A team of Duke University scientists has tracked how this microbial evolution unfolded, using mathematical tools originally developed for geologists. The scientists…
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Metabolism may be older than life itself and start spontaneously

A set of chemical reactions occurring spontaneously in Earth’s early chemical environments could have provided the foundations upon which life evolved. The discovery that a version of the Krebs cycle, which occurs in most living cells, can proceed in the absence of cellular proteins called enzymes suggests that metabolism is older than life itself. Metabolism…
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A Break in the Search for the Origin of Complex Life

In Norse mythology, humans and our world were created by a pantheon of gods who lived in the realm of Asgard. As it turns out, these stories have a grain of truth to them.Thanks to a team of scientists led by Thijs Ettema, Asgard is now also the name of a large clan of microbes.…
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All 2.3 Million Species Are Mapped into a Single Circle of Life

Since Charles Darwin's day, biologists have depicted how new organisms evolve from old ones by adding branches to numerous trees that represent portions of the animal, plant and microbial kingdoms. Researchers from a dozen institutions recently completed a three-year effort to combine tens of thousands of trees into one diagram, most readable as a circle…
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Biologists watch speciation in a laboratory flask

Biologists have discovered that the evolution of a new species can occur rapidly enough for them to observe the process in a simple laboratory flask. In a month-long experiment using a virus harmless to humans, biologists working at the University of California San Diego and at Michigan State University documented the evolution of a virus…
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