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A timescale for the origin and evolution of all of life on Earth

Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:31:13 EDT ~ A new study has used a combination of genomic and fossil data to explain the history of life on Earth, from its origin to the present day. Find out more...

Better sleep linked with family tree strength

Mon, 06 Aug 2018 15:20:26 EDT ~ The question of why we sleep has been a longstanding subject of debate, with some theories suggesting that slumber provides respite for the brain, which allows it to filter out insignificant neural connections, build new ones, strengthen memories and even repair itself. However, new research has used mathematical approaches to tackle the adaptive significance of sleep, and the findings suggest that sleep has another purpose -- boosting our 'fitness' and future family line reproductive success. Find out more...

The end-Cretaceous extinction unleashed modern shark diversity

Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:16:35 EDT ~ A study that examined the shape of hundreds of fossilized shark teeth suggests that modern shark biodiversity was triggered by the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event, about 66 million years ago. Find out more...

Modern Flores Island pygmies show no genetic link to extinct 'hobbits'

Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:15:58 EDT ~ A modern pygmy population living on an Indonesian island near a cave with Homo floresiensis ('hobbit') fossils appears to have evolved short stature independently. H. floresiensis was significantly smaller than the modern Flores pygmies, standing about 3.5 feet tall (shorter than the average kindergartener), while modern pygmies average about 15 inches taller. Floresiensis also differed from H. sapiens and H. erectus in their wrists and feet. Find out more...

New dinosaur found in the wrong place, at the wrong time

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 18:24:38 EDT ~ Researchers have discovered a new dinosaur which roamed the Ningxia Autonomous Region, northwest China, approximately 174 million years ago. This is in a place they were never thought to roam and 15 million years earlier than this type of dinosaur was thought to exist. Find out more...

Scientists discover why elusive aye-aye developed such unusual features

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 08:41:00 EDT ~ A new study has, for the first time, measured the extent to which the endangered aye-aye has evolved similar features to squirrels, despite being more closely related to monkeys, chimps, and humans. Find out more...

160-year-old mystery about the origin of skeletons solved

Tue, 31 Jul 2018 10:42:59 EDT ~ Scientists have used powerful X-rays to peer inside the skeletons of some of our oldest vertebrate relatives, solving a 160-year-old mystery about the origin of our skeletons. Find out more...

Do bacteria ever go extinct? New research says yes, bigtime

Mon, 30 Jul 2018 12:03:40 EDT ~ Bacteria go extinct at substantial rates, although appear to avoid the mass extinctions that have hit larger forms of life on Earth, according to new research. The finding contradicts widely held scientific thinking that microbe taxa, because of their very large populations, rarely die off. Find out more...

Extinct vegetarian cave bear diet mystery unravelled

Sat, 28 Jul 2018 08:35:10 EDT ~ Until now, very little is known about the dietary evolution of the cave bear and how it became a vegetarian, as the fossils of the direct ancestor, the Deninger's bear (Ursus deningeri), are extremely scarce. Find out more...

How do jumping genes cause disease, drive evolution?

Thu, 26 Jul 2018 16:27:41 EDT ~ Researchers have developed new techniques to track the mobilization of jumping genes. They found that during a particular period of egg development, a group of jumping-genes called retrotransposons hijacks special cells called nurse cells that nurture the developing eggs. These jumping genes use nurse cells to produce invasive material (copies of themselves called virus-like particles) that move into a nearby egg and then mobilize into the egg's DNA driving evolution, and causing disease. Find out more...