Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

Unravelling the reasons why mass extinctions occur

Scientists from the University of Leicester have shed new light on why mass extinctions have occurred through history -- and how this knowledge could help in predicting upcoming ecological catastrophes. The international team has investigated sudden ecological transitions throughout history, from mass mortality events in the far past to more recent extinctions which have occurred…
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Tracking the evolution and transmission of yellow fever

A pioneering Oxford University research collaboration into yellow fever virus (YFV) has shed new light on the exceptional recent outbreak in Brazil and how the virus spreads. The findings have implications for monitoring viral transmission and could potentially contribute to a strategy for eliminating YFV worldwide. Published in Science, the international collaboration coordinated by scientists from…
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First North American co-occurrence of Hadrosaur and Therizinosaur tracks found in Alaska

An international team of paleontologists and other geoscientists has discovered the first North American co-occurrence of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks in the lower Cantwell Formation within Denali National Park, suggesting that an aspect of the continental ecosystem of central Asia was also present in this part of Alaska during the Late Cretaceous. This comprehensive cross-disciplinary…
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Evolution of Testes: Molecular Vestiges

The loss of anatomical features is a frequent evolutionary event. For example, humans and other great apes have lost their tail and whales have lost their legs. The most convincing evidence comes from the presence of vestiges in fossils. Unfortunately, the fossil record preserves predominantly vestiges of hard structures such as bones or teeth. Consequently,…
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Two new creatures discovered from dawn of animal life

Earth's first complex animals were an eclectic bunch that lived in the shallow oceans between 580-540 million years ago. The iconic Dickinsonia -- large flat animals with a quilt-like appearance -- were joined by tube-shaped organisms, frond-like creatures that looked more like plants, and several dozen other varieties already characterized by scientists. Add to that list two…
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Genome structure of dinosaurs discovered by bird-turtle comparisons

A discovery by scientists at the University of Kent has provided significant insight into the overall genome structure of dinosaurs. By comparing the genomes of different species, chiefly birds and turtles, the Kent team were able to determine how the overall genome structure (i.e. the chromosomes) of many people's favourite dinosaur species -- like Velociraptor…
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Ancient skull shows early ‘baleen whale’ had teeth

Today's baleen whales (Mysticetes) support their massive bodies by filtering huge volumes of small prey from seawater using comb-like baleen in their mouths much like a sieve. But new evidence reported in the journal Current Biology on May 10 based on careful analysis of a 34-million-year-old whale skull from Antarctica -- the second-oldest "baleen" whale ever found…
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Jurassic fossil tail tells of missing link in crocodile family tree

A 180-million-year-old fossil has shed light on how some ancient crocodiles evolved into dolphin-like animals. The specimen -- featuring a large portion of backbone -- represents a missing link in the family tree of crocodiles, and was one of the largest coastal predators of the Jurassic Period, researchers say. The newly discovered species was nearly…
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