Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

Giant leaps of evolution make cancer cells deadly

HOW does cancer do it? How does one little cell transform itself into an invader that rages out of control? Surprisingly abruptly, according to new results that are pointing the way to Darwinian-inspired treatments. When a cancer evolves the ability to metastasise, or invade multiple tissues in the body, it has to pull off several remarkable…
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Strange Ancient Fish Had Front And Back Legs

The closest known relative of the ancestors of limbed animals such as humans likely evolved the foundation for rear legs even before the move to land, researchers say. This ancestor may have even been able to walk underwater, they added. These findings reveal that a key step in the evolution of hind limbshappened in fish, challenging…
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Fossil Pigments Reveal the Colors of Ancient Sea Monsters

During the Age of the dinosaurs, huge reptiles, such as mosasaurs and ichthyosaurs, ruled the seas. Previously, scientists could only guess what colours these spectacular animals had; however, pigment preserved in fossilised skin has now been analysed at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and MAX IV Laboratory, Lund University, Sweden. The unique soft tissue…
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Rapid Evolution of Novel Forms: Environmental Change Triggers Inborn Capacity for Adaptation

In the classical view of evolution, species experience spontaneous genetic mutations that produce various novel traits -- some helpful, some detrimental. Nature then selects for those most beneficial, passing them along to subsequent generations. It's an elegant model. It's also an extremely time-consuming process likely to fail organisms needing to cope with sudden, potentially life-threatening…
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At 400,000 Years, Oldest Human DNA Yet Found Raises New Mysteries

Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries. In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years.…
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Acid Rain, Ozone Depletion Contributed to Ancient Extinction

Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth's history. Some researchers have suggested that this extinction was triggered by contemporaneous volcanic eruptions in Siberia. New results from a team including Director of Carnegie's…
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Neanderthal Viruses Found in Modern Humans

Ancient viruses from Neanderthals have been found in modern human DNA by researchers at Oxford University and Plymouth University. The researchers compared genetic data from fossils of Neanderthals and another group of ancient human ancestors called Denisovans to data from modern-day cancer patients. They found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan viruses in the modern human…
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Ancient, Modern DNA Tell Story of First Humans in the Americas

University of Illinois anthropology professor Ripan Malhi looks to DNA to tell the story of how ancient humans first came to the Americas and what happened to them once they were here. He will share some of his findings at the meeting, "Ancient DNA: The First Three Decades," at The Royal Society in London on…
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