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Major fossil study sheds new light on emergence of early animal life 540 million years ago

Mon, 21 May 2018 15:43:02 EDT ~ All the major groups of animals appear in the fossil record for the first time around 540-500 million years ago -- an event known as the Cambrian Explosion -- but new research suggests that for most animals this 'explosion' was in fact a more gradual process. Find out more...

Genome structure of dinosaurs discovered by bird-turtle comparisons

Mon, 21 May 2018 09:26:53 EDT ~ A discovery has provided significant insight into the overall genome structure of dinosaurs. By comparing the genomes of different species, chiefly birds and turtles, a research team was able to determine how the overall genome structure (i.e. the chromosomes) of many dinosaur species might have looked through a microscope. Find out more...

The dark side of our genes -- healthy aging in modern times

Fri, 18 May 2018 10:28:11 EDT ~ Scientists collate the evidence for the mismatch between past evolutionary adaptation and our modern lives. They also ask whether natural selection linked to modernization might reduce globally the burden of some chronic diseases. Find out more...

Major shift in marine life occurred 33 million years later in the South

Thu, 17 May 2018 08:18:29 EDT ~ A new study of marine fossils from Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand and South America reveals that one of the greatest changes to the evolution of life in our oceans occurred more recently in the Southern Hemisphere than previously thought. Find out more...

Worm-eating mice reveal how evolution works on islands

Wed, 16 May 2018 08:56:58 EDT ~ When animals are isolated on islands, they can evolve into strange new species found nowhere else on Earth. But what's the cut-off -- how small can an island be and still support the evolution of multiple new species from a single common ancestor? A family of worm-eating mice from a tiny island in the Philippines have set a new lower limit for island size and evolution. Find out more...

American tropics, Amazon origins

Mon, 14 May 2018 15:19:34 EDT ~ A new study is suggesting many of the plants and animals that call Latin America home may actually have their roots in the Amazon. Researchers found that a dynamic process of colonization and speciation led to the formation of the American tropics, which is today the most species-rich region on the planet. Find out more...

Jurassic fossil tail tells of missing link in crocodile family tree

Fri, 11 May 2018 12:32:31 EDT ~ A 180-million-year-old fossil has shed light on how some ancient crocodiles evolved into dolphin-like animals. Find out more...

Ancient skull shows early 'baleen whale' had teeth

Thu, 10 May 2018 15:02:20 EDT ~ 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. But new evidence based on careful analysis of a 34-million-year-old whale skull from Antarctica -- the second-oldest 'baleen' whale ever found -- suggests that early whales actually didn't have baleen. Their had well-developed gums and teeth, which they apparently used to bite large prey. Find out more...

Stone Age hepatitis B virus decoded

Thu, 10 May 2018 08:15:46 EDT ~ Scientists have successfully reconstructed genomes from Stone Age and Medieval European strains of the hepatitis B virus. This unprecedented recovery of ancient virus DNA indicates that hepatitis B was circulating in Europe at least 7,000 years ago. Find out more...

Can chimpanzee vocalizations reveal the origins of human language?

Tue, 08 May 2018 08:15:05 EDT ~ Fossil primates provide important clues about human evolution, but the sounds they made and the soft tissue involved in making those sounds weren't preserved. So chimpanzees can provide important points of comparison for inferring the sorts of sounds our early ancestors may have made. Find out more...