Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

Reconstructing how Neanderthals grew, based on an El Sidrón child

How did Neanderthals grow? Does modern man develop in the same way as Homo neanderthalensis did? How does the size of the brain affect the development of the body? A study led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) researcher, Antonio Rosas, has studied the fossil remains of a Neanderthal child's skeleton in order to establish whether…
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In saliva, clues to a ‘ghost’ species of ancient human

In saliva, scientists have found hints that a "ghost" species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa today. The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual. Past studies have concluded that…
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DNA solves ancient animal riddle that Darwin couldn’t

After the last of its kind died out about 12,000 years ago, a strange animal that stumped Charles Darwin is finally being added to the tree of life, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications. Macrauchenia patachonica lived during the last ice age. It resembled a bulky camel without a hump, with…
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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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