- This article is about how scientists are trying to understand how are ear has evolved over time to be so well modified to go from hearing loud frequencies at one moment to extremely soft frequencies the next. They are trying to use this information to help in building hearing aids for patients that can adapt to noise just as easily as your average ear.
- A new carnivorous species of dinosaur, Siats meekerorum, was discovered and estimated to live about 98 million years ago in North America.
- This species was among the top three largest carnivores and lived alongside small-bodied tyrannosaurs, keeping the tyrannosaurs from achieving the top predator role.
- New Zealand has experienced its first case of a death from a totally resistant bacteria
- The article also describes potential ramifications of a "post-antibiotic" era where we can't rely on antibiotics to stave off infection during cancer treatments, heart surgeries, and many other medical procedures
- Robert Belshaw at Plymouth University, UK, have found six of the fourteen currently discovered ancient retroviral genes in humans.
- These genes were found in 67 people with cancer.
- Further study could reveal if these viral genes still cause or play a role in disease.
- The boy's genome shows two surprising discoveries, the first being that the boy’s DNA matches that of Western Europeans. This proves that people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia during the last Ice Age people than previously thought.
- The second find is that the boy's DNA matches 25% of living Native Americans meaning that the first people to arrive in the Americas must have been a mixture between the Western Europeans and an East Asian population.
- New analysis of Denisovan genome suggests that Denisovans interbred with an unknown archaic population of related hominids in addition to Neanderthals, Humans, and other hominids.
- The article suggests that this archaic population may be closely related to Homo heidelbergensis.
In a recent article published on ScienceDaily researchers in Munich have recently found that it is not the difference in sequence among proteins, but an imbalance in their levels that can lead to the sterility of Hybrid species. It had already previously been hypothesized that certain genes evolved more quickly then others and while in their original species they can function well and help a diverging population. However, when brought together with another recently diverged population into a hybrid, they can cause negative repercussions. These genes had previously been referred to as hybrid-incompatibility genes but many of them had not been isolated to the point of understanding their true function. Recently, they were able to isolate two such genes though, Lmr (Lethal male rescue) and Hmr (Hybrid male rescue) which form a gene pair in hybrid mating of two fruit-flies of closely related species. These two genes encode proteins that bind to sister chromosomes before cell division, and play an important role in cell segregation. The problem, is that in hybrids these two genes are produced in very different amounts. This causes a much higher amount of the Hmr Lmr complex, which in turn binds to many other sites, because its primary site is not available in enough abundance. It is this random binding of the complex that causes the inability for the hybrids to produce offspring, and not a change in any particular amino acid.
- Traditionally, reptiles like snakes and lizards have been thought to have rudimentary or primitive brains
- This article discusses how that might not be true and that further research could reveal insight into the evolution of cognitive development
- This relates to our lecture on the evolution of intelligence in organisms like dolphins and humans
- Although the bacteria in this study have been living in the same environment for a long time, they still are continuing to adapt; they have not reached the "fitness peak" yet.
- Richard Lenski, the researcher, wonders if there actually will be a fitness peak.
- Remnants of 3.5 billion year old bacteria preserved as a fossil.
- Found in Pilbara district of Western Australia.
- First microbially induced sedimentary structure, or MISS,found in this region.
- This was likely the first instance of the ancestors of our current pets, wolves, being domesticated.
- They studied the mtDNA, and saw that the wolves of ancient Europe shared DNA with dogs that no other wolf species shared.
- This was published in the Journal Science, and the big breaking news here is that dogs were directly related to wolves in Europe, not just close on the phylogenetic tree.
- Mystery of cancer is how it spreads through body. Learned it may fuse with WBCs
- exp: investigated brain metastasis of cancer patient treated with bone marrow transplant (what produces macrophages) from brother
- tumor contained genes from both patient's and donors genes - 'first proof of cell fusion in human cancer' interesting read!
- Obazao, a newly discovered and classified protist contains a gene toolkit that has previously only been known to exist in animals. They involve cell to cell communication, and Obazoa is a single celled organism.
- Obazoa is also interesting in the fact that it contains mitochondria, but lives in anaerobic environments. Mitochondria usually require oxygen to produce ATP..
- This new protist offers insight into the evolution of certain genes and processes leading to multicellular humans..
- This new research looking at mitochondrial DNA sequences of ancient, now extinct wolves and dogs in Europe show that dogs were most likely domesticated by hunters and gatherers in Europe 18,000 to 32,000 years ago.
- It is not conclusive research as mitochondrial DNA is approximately 20,000 base pairs. Genomic DNA sequence comparison would provide more solid evidence, but is hard to find in ancient remains as it tends to degrade.
- The oldest fossilized remains of a big cats found in Tibet
- Suggests that big cats did not diverge from Africa, but instead in Central Asia!
- A young woman from central Taiwan recently checked in to a hospital with this Virus
- The source of the original infection is still unknown and has not been located in the poultry breeding sites by the victim's house.
- According to Dr. Wu, H6N1 is a virus found in wild and domesticated birds across many continents
- Of the 36 close encounters with this virus, there are no casualties and 6 developed a fever or respiratory infection.
- Scientists discover that our brains are 10% smaller than they were approximately 20,000 years ago.
- When it comes to brain size, bigger doesn't always mean better. As humans continue to evolve, scientists say our brains are actually getting smaller.
- One cognitive scientist, David Geary, argues that as human society grows increasingly complex, individuals don't need to be as intelligent in order to survive and reproduce
- Evolution, of course! Basically, the survival need of being a fantastic swimmer overcame the need for flight!
- Good flippers don't make good wings!
- Read the NatGeo article for more information!
- This article talks about how the complex way humans develop and the regulatory system that is involved with that may have been due to something that eukaryotes picked up to protect themselves from parasitic DNA.
- Interesting article discussing pseudogenes and how recent research suggests that some of the 'junk DNA' may actually play a role in coding for proteins.
- This discovery may lead to new advances in cancer treatments due to the new areas of the genome that may be responsible for playing a key factor in cancer development.
Based on environmental conditions, the roundworm will develop either a wide-mouth or a narrow-mouth.
The wide-mouth is used mainly for predatory attacks, while the narrow mouth is used for food sourcing.
- This change is controlled by a newly identified gene that acts as a switch, sending the development of the worms mouth down one of 2 separate paths.
- Apparently, a gene known as edu-1, determines which mouth the worm will develop.
- This is one of the first examples of the mechanism behind "phenotypic plasticity" being found.
- This group of scientists looked into the apparently wasteful movements of knifefish and found that those movements actually reduced the overall required energy to move.
- This concept applies to many other forms of life, such as reptiles, birds, etc.
- The idea has far reaching implications for applied science, especially in engineering, were the paradigm has been that maneuverability and stability are a trade-off. This doesn't seem to be the case anymore
- Watch the video!
- A single-celled alga evolved multicellularity in the lab
- Like the Lenski experiment, this gives us an accurate look into an aspect of evolution
- Lythronax argestes is estimated to have lived around 80 million years ago, about 10 million years prior to the existence of the T. rex.
- Paleontologists found remains in a location known as lower Laramidia which is today the area around Texas, Utah, and Mexico.
- Is said to have evolved in isolation due to the location of habitat on this island continent.
- Discovery of an ancient species of platypus that lived around 5-15 million years ago in Australia.
- Known now as Obdurodon tharalkooschild
- Grew up to three feet long and had a different, more carnivorous diet than today's platypus.
- Huge addition to the evolutionary tree of the platypus.
- A picture and short article can be found here
- Looks at how climate changes presently and predicted will affect species in a evolutionary aspect.
- Evolutionary questions motivating these studies: how organisms will handle their new circumstances, or how populations will be able to cope with climate change in order to survive and avoid extinction.
- Scientists are changing the focus to non-DNA factors that are inherited and can actually help offspring adapt to their environment.
- Studied two species of butterflies that recently diverged.
- Study suggests that it may be easier to genetically diverge to form new species that once thought
- Evolution can be a process instead of a result of a single event. In this context, changes in wing genome can start such a process.
- The two closely related species had only 12 genomic differences while these two species and a further removed species had hundreds of genomic differences. This suggests that after the initial speciation event genomic differences can accumulate very quickly.
- The interesting thing about the study was that it occurred naturally.
New full skull of Homo erectus was found.
It was said to have been so different to the other skulls that were found during this era.
Even though they were different they are still categorized in the same group.
- At least 441 new species of animals and plants have been discovered over a four year period in the vast, underexplored rainforest of the Amazon, including a monkey that purrs like a cat.
- Many of these species are believed to be endemic and exist only in the amazon, which makes them more vulnerable to rainforest destruction that occurs every minute in the Amazon
- Kissing may have evolved as a way for humans to asses the quality of potential mates.
- Some hypothesize that kissing evolved as a matchmaker because it transmitted peromones or chemical signals that carried information about health or immune compatibility.
- The flu virus is constantly evolving, making it resilient to our vaccines.
- Vaccines today work to produce antibodies against the "head" region of a particular protein on the outer coating of the virus. Problems occur because this is also the region that evolves most rapidly.
- Scientists today are working on making a vaccine that counteracts a slower evolving region of the virus, such as those responsible for creating the body plan of the virus.
- Flu shots may, one day, not have to be acquired annually.
- Scientists said to have found evidence of high presence of oxygen prior to the cambrian explosion
- Oxygen content rose and fell 2 billion years ago
- Carbon containing organisms began to fall to ocean floor- formation of microorganisms on ocean floor
- Cambrian explosion- 542 million years ago (the development of life): oxygen levels rose up to 10%
- Scientists found an intact skull from 1.8 million years ago in Dmanisi, Georgia. They found that the level of variation between fossils was not due to different human species but due to differences in how teeth get worn down
- They propose that instead of multiple human species being in Africa in addition to Homo Erectus, all human ancestors were variations of Homo Erectus. This means that there was much less diversity in human ancestors than originally thought.
- This finding aligns with earlier predictions that the earliest human ancestors were from Africa, evolving approximately 2 million years ago, and then they spread through Eurasia.
- Read more here.
- This article illustrates how the fossil record can refine our hypotheses surrounding descent and ancestry
- 19 Descendants so far have been found. I think it would be really cool to know who your Great Great Great Great Great etc. ancestor is.
- They did this by mapping out the genome of Otzi and thousands of people. Otzi has a unique mutation that wasn't found in any person except for the 19 living relatives.
- Based on the current state of knowledge, the extreme elongation of the body axis occurred in one of two ways: either through the elongation of the individual vertebrae of the vertebral column, which thus became longer, or through the development of additional vertebrae and associated muscle segments.
- The fossil revealed a third mechanism for body elongation; Doubling of the vertebral arches
- The 240-million-year-old fossil find from Switzerland also revealed that this primitive fish was not as flexible as today's eels, nor could it swim as fast or untiringly as a tuna.
- This is a study released that maps the genetic diversity of Europe over 4000 years.
- Shows a major difference between farming populations and hunter/gatherer populations in Europe
- Used 364 prehistoric human skeletons
- Dr. Valiant argues that organisms adapt to new environments by developing an hypothesis and testing it and based on the feedback, gradually improving the hypothesis by using an ecorithm, to behave more effectively.
- He also believes Darwins theory,“has the gaping gap that it can make no quantitative predictions as far as the number of generations needed for the evolution of a behavior of a certain complexity,” and “We need to explain how evolution is possible at all, how we got from no life, or from very simple life, to life as complex as we find it on earth today. This is the BIG question.”
- Ecorithm - term coined for algorithms that interact with and benefit from their environment
- The immigration of settlers from Europe is a human example of the founder effect and genetic bottle necking
- "The genetic pool of French-Canadians shows reduced levels of diversity, higher homozygosity, and an excess of rare variants with low variant sharing with Europeans." (Abstract)
- 240-million-year-old pollen grains were found in Switzerland. They serve as evidence that flowering plants actually evolved 100 million years earlier than was previously believed.
- From these fossils, it is suggested that flowering plants may have originated in the Early Triassic period, or even earlier.
- "Basically being inactive and obese is bad for the human population"-Harvard Evolutionary Biologist Daniel Lieberman
- Some diseases are becoming more and more prevalent because our bodies are "inadequately adapted" to the modern world.
- "By treating the symptoms rather than the causes of these diseases, we've created a pernicious positive feedback loop that is a novel form of cultural change," said Lieberman. "We don't pass on obesity, cavities, and flat feet to our children, but we do pass on the environments that cause them; the result is a vicious circle."
- This article discusses controversial topics in Illustra's new film: The Genius of Birds
- Darwinian evolutionists find fallacies with Illustra's case for intelligent design explaining the origin of powered flight (not gliding)
- A new species of Archaea called Haloarchaea exchange DNA in large chunks between genera.
- They were found living in Antarctica's saltiest lake and shown to swap huge chunks of genetic material as a means of surviving their harsh environment
- The lake is known as Deep Lake (the basin sits 50 meters below sea level) and is said to be so salty that it's never frozen, even at temperatures below minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit
- This article discusses the complexity of the sex determining gene of the honey bee.
- These new findings are therefore very important for apiculture for minimizing the danger of inbreeding and thereby the production of diploid drones.
- Two 240 million year old fossil jaws were found in German. The skeleton dates back to the Middle Triassic Period before snakes, lizards, and tuatara differentiated.
- This may provide an early common ancestor for the lizard phylogeny.
- These fossilised remains of a reptile closely related to lizards are the oldest yet to be discovered.
- This armored fish from 419 mya is (perhaps a bit prematurely) being heralded as a potential "missing link." It shows very similar jaw characteristics to a human ancestor.
- It was found in the suburbs of a city in south-west China and is probably the earliest creature with a recognisable jaw.
- It is being hailed as the most significant paleontological discovery in decades
- Bipedal locomotion evolved as a result of the forward shift of the foramen magnum (the hole in the base of the skull for the spinal cord).
- The position of the foramen magnum is said to have evolved separately for many bipedal mammals suggesting that the link is much more than chance but beneficial to fitness.
- Atmospheric oxygen was once thought to begin gathering around 2.3 billion years ago but recent analysis of over 3 billion year old soil has shown atmospheric oxygen gathering then as well. The link can be found here.
- A thin eel-like electric fish was discovered in northern Guyana.
- The fish is so distinct that it represents a new genus.
- The National Health Institute has awarded $17 million to 8 teams, 5 of which are researching nanopore technology.
- Nanopore technology allows only a single-strand of DNA to pass through.
- The pores recognize the Nucleotide passing through based on changes in the current passing through the pores that are only 1-2nm wide.
- The advantages to this technology are: the ability to sequence in real-time, preservation of the DNA molecule allowing for the same molecule to be used repeatedly, its low cost, and it does not require the DNA to be chemically labeled.
- Genetic HIV Resistance is Deciphered here.
- This is an article about the controversy of accepting evolution in schools in Texas.
- The Texas Textbook Review Board oversees the context of textbooks taught in classrooms. With several more creationists on the board, evolution could be completely eliminated from their curriculum.
- The creationists insist that the bible triumphs over any scientific theory.
- They do not want to "taint" the mind of the children with "scientific method." However, this leaves children uneducated about things that other children in neighboring states would know about.
- Although this is an issue in Texas, publishers go where the money is. Therefore, they may avoid adding evolution to their textbooks. THis would then effect other states as they would then have books without information about evolution.
- There should be a serious reconsideration by, not only the Texas Board of Education, but also Boards across the United States to ensure that this vital part of Biology be integrated into curricula.
- Here is another relevant article about Creationistic vs. Evolutionalistic Views in schools in Texas.
- Cool article about studies revealing a widespread extinction of bees.
- For the first time ever, scientists have documented a widespread extinction of bees that occurred 65 million years ago, concurrent with the massive event that wiped out land dinosaurs and many flowering plants.
- Analyzing DNA sequences of four "tribes" of 230 species of carpenter bees for insight into evolutionary relationships, the researchers began to see patterns consistent with a mass extinction.
- Early Human Ancestor-This is a great article about the recent discovery of what scientists believe to be a 55 million year old human ancestor. It's pretty neat if you're interested in the history of human and primate evolution.
- Rockstar injects himself with snake venom!
- Not everyone dies from being bitten by venomous snakes, so what do they have that others don't? Many people have tried to build up an immunity to snake venom, but it often doesn't work, and in the case of the man in the article, if you don't die you can come very close to losing some body parts.
- Main Point: Humans can not randomly evolve to be able to withstand snake venom.
- King Snakes have an immunity to most forms of snake venom. They posses an enzyme which allows them to break down toxic venoms, although they themselves are not venomous. Could this enzyme be the key to anti-venoms used to cure bites?
- Stocking snake anti-venom is a time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes useless plan. Venoms can be chemically different even within a species and does not have a very long shelf-life. Could the enzyme made by the king snake be used instead as a base for other anti-venoms?
- Links to books detailing more information here
- In simple terms, zoonosis is an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans.
- This is relevant to evolution because these pathogens sometimes evolve to be able to survive in a human host rather than an animal host.
- Popular examples of zoonotic diseases are SARS, H1N1, AIDS, West Nile, Mad Cow, and Ebola Virus
- The textbook also discusses the avian flu outbreak, the H5N1 virus. Here is a timeline of the disease's development in animals and humans! http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/H5N1_avian_influenza_update.pdf
- Live bird markets have lead to the emergence of a previously unrecognized strain of influenza.
- Ducks likely carried various influenza virus strains that are common in the wild, and through their proximity with chickens in these markets, the novel strain was able to evolve to adapt to having chickens as a host.
- H7N9 outbreaks in chicken populations likely lead to the transference of the virus to humans.
- Recently, scientists have discover people who have been exposed to HIV, however they have not contracted it. These people are considered to be immune. They possess a mutation that prevents the entry of the disease. Those who have one copy of the mutation can get the disease but it will progress more slowly and those who have a double copy are shown to be immune. This mutation is most common in Northern Europe and is almost not found at all in Africa and Asia.
- It deals with a mutation in the gene that codes for the CCR5 receptor. This is basically the "lock" that the virus attaches to and takes the cell over with. The mutation in this gene disables the viral connection and therefore blocks the HIV virus from entering cells. Here is a good website describing this phenomenon. HIV Resistance
- A small paravian dinosaur found in northeastern China has challenged the history of birds. Scientist believe the Aurornis xui is the most basal avialan(clade that birds belong to). This discover also implies that bird flight may have evolved at least twice.
|Click for full-size image
- Is Darwinism a metaphysic of naturalistic materialism resting upon a series of biological speculations?
- Link to article talking about Darwin and the "genetic fallacy"
- 145-166 million years ago, early birds had already evolved wings, but were still very similar to their dinosaur kin in many ways.
- The key to these early birds' evolutionary success began with the shortening of their tails. This allowed their hind legs to evolve into more versatile limbs more suited for an aerial lifestyle
- It was this shortening of their tails and the subsequent evolution of their hind legs that drove their rapid diversification, rather than the development of wings.
- Microbes in our bodies may play a role in the evolution of species.
- Nasonia, a wasp, speciate depending on the microbes living with their guts.
- "Reproductive success of these wasps depend not just on the genes they carry, but also on the microbes living within them"
- Information on how symbiosis works here
- Altering animals' habitats (more cities, disrupting forests etc) may affect their brain size, influencing them to get bigger as animals that are better at learning new things survive better and have better fitness (reproduce more)
- Scientists could study genes that produce different brain sizes
- The authors of What Darwin Got Wrong delve into the possibility that Natural Selection does not work as previously thought due to the complexity of our genes.
- The fossils they found show that whales used to have legs, a tail, and wiggle their hips to swim.
- The picture above shows more modern whale species at the top, and older species closley related to whale ancestors futher down.
- Here's a link to the Science daily that describes how scientists used whale fossils to identify the genetic changes that could have caused whales, porpoises and dolphins to lose their hind limbs.
- Specimens and fossils are evidence of T. Rex genealogy
- Guanlong Wucaii- relative of T.Rex determined the link between dinosaurs and birds.
- Guanlong Wucaii lived 90 million years before its relative T. Rex, an estimated 160 million years old
- Lufengpithecus- "appears to represent a late surviving lineage from Eurasian apes"
- Penn State. "Rare fossil ape cranium discovered in China." ScienceDaily, 6 Sep. 2013. Web. 10 Sep. 2013
- The new species discovered, Halmaheramys bokimekot, is truly unique. After analyzing its DNA, it was found that it is not only a new species, but a part of an entirely new genus.
- It's fascinating that new species are being discovered to this day. This region is supposedly filled with unknown biodiversity that is waiting to be discovered.
- Spiny Boki Mekot Rat was discovered in the forests of Halmahera! The same place Alfred Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin, outlining his theory of evolution!
- This animal shows how mammals evolved through Moluccas.
- Further studies in the Halmahera will be done to further investigate the "birthplace of evolution."
- First mammals arose during the Triassic period roughly 225 million years ago
- They had differentiated teeth, large brains, warm blood, and fur (very different from the reptilian ancestors)
- They may have risen as a result of the Permian mass extinction which eliminated almost all life on Earth
- This mass extinction allowed cynodont therapsids to adapt to fill many different niches in the Triassic period
- Cynodonts split into two groups: cynognathians (plant-eaters; herbivores) and probainognathians (flesh-eaters; carnivores)
- Probainognathians (known for their various body shapes and range of adaptations) quickly diversified and gave rise to the first mammals 25 million years after the mass extinction
- “The theory of evolution via Natural Selection completely transformed the world of science 150 years ago and its ramifications rippled across all aspects of life, including politics and religion. It is as well accepted in the world of biology as the Earth orbiting the Sun is in astronomy, but is perhaps the most socially divisive issue in science. Whilst the reality of evolution is well known there is a lot of detail to figure out in its 3.5 billion year history. These are ten of the most important discoveries from the last decade that are helping science fill in the picture.”
- This new discoveries are very important to the environment.
- Many new discoveries are due to technology advancement.
- Junk DNA: non-coding DNA or DNA that does not code for protein. This article talks about Junk DNA and the effects it can have on the development of cells.
- Oldest Ancestor
- Lucy’s Baby-3.3 million year old fossilized toddler and the world's oldest known child. Remains found include a skull, teeth, fingers, torso, foot and kneecap.
- Neanderthal Genome Project - Is studying the possible gene flow between AMH and Neanderthal's, finding a significant fraction of Neanderthal genes in the modern human genome.
- Giant Amoeba
- Lice: using DNA from lice and seeing how they have evolved to determine the evolution of humans!
- Tiktaalik: This link talks more into details about Tiktaalik and things researchers have found over the years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDQCa7rleI- here is a video that explains the significant of the discovery of Titktaalik from Professor Neil Shubin.
- Old Bat
- Humanzees - these are not real. Some people are just fascinated by the idea of a possible cross between humans and chimpanzees, because there is a large amount of genetic similarity
- Butterflies supergenes: This Youtube video of butterfly supergenes gives a great visual as to how butterflies use mimicry to confused predators; their wings "tell lies"
- Scot Kelchner has proposed a different way to present the evolution of different species, genes, and traits. Instead of Darwin's evolutionary "Tree of Life", Kelchner has come up with a network web to mathematically show how things are connected.
- This article analyzes one of the aspects of reduced fitness that inbred organisms face as a barrier.
- How does this effect us? Species that are forced to inbreed due to low populations could go extinct.
- This decreases genetic variation among species.
- Male fertility and male mating behavior is not effected in inbred beetles, however, the number of eggs the sperm effectively fertilize decreases.
- This could be due to the variable size in sperm in the inbred individuals.
- Studies have shown that when the element molybdenum is highly oxidized and mixed with organic substance and energy such as heat or light,it has the potential to "help organics make the leap to life." Adding boron may have a similar effect.
- Biochemist Steve Benner claims "This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because 3 billion years ago, the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen, but Mars did. It’s yet another piece of evidence which makes it more likely life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite, rather than starting on this planet."
- Analysis of a Martian meteorite shows the presence of boron, and tests for molybdenum are now underway.
- Here is an interesting article related to Martian origin of life
- Stick Bug may lead to breakthroughs in understanding antibiotic resistance
- Review --> convergent evolution describes the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages.
- The Corvid family of birds (includes crows, ravens, magpies, etc.) have intelligence that is comparable to apes and dolphins
- Like humans, these birds are able to incorporate face recognition to a impressive degree--in one experiment, John Marzluff of the University of Michigan and his team wore two different types of masks: those wearing one type of mask attacked the birds while those wearing the other type simply walked by. Five years later, Marzluff repeated the same experiment, and discovered that the birds present during the first experiment remembered which masks were a threat and which masks were safe, and passed on that information to the other birds and their offspring.
- This type of face recognition is cognitively complex--PET scans of both birds and humans revealed that the same portions of the brain reported activity in both species
- This type of cognitive intelligence is the result of cognitive evolution between the birds and the humans
- After years of debate and discussion, the 55 million years old fossil of a Gastornis indicates that this huge bird is a herbivore.
- Because of its huge beak and enormous size, many scientists assume it ate meat
- Researchers determined its diet by analyzing the calcium isotope of the fossil.
- National Geographic published an article this summer regarding the possible recent divergence of of the "Type D" Killer Whale.
- This is an article outlining how harmful mutations can lead to the "rescue" of the species by a beneficial mutation that leads to increased complexity and an even higher level of fitness as compared to the species before the harmful mutation occurred.
- Scientists from the University of Cambridge used a high-speed camera attached to a microscope to capture planthoppers' jumping movements and found that the insects have toothed gears at the base of their hind legs.
- Scientists changed a single gene in the mouse genome. This extended the life span of the mouse by 20%.
- The targeted gene is called mTOR and it is involved in metabolism and energy balance.
- This gene is hypothesized to be involved in lengthening the life span by restricting calorie intake.
- The mice were able to retain more memory as they aged, but they suffered from bone deterioration.
- If this research is further investigated, it could help counter age related diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
- Think of the possibilities for our species! People are struck by disease everyday which, unfortunately, if serious enough, can lead to death. Perhaps people who do not get struck by these terminal diseases have better genes for fighting against these diseases. Also, these people who do not have genetically related diseases can live longer. If we can increase the average human life-span by 16 years, these people who may be more viable can live longer and produce more offspring. This could cause humans to become healthier in future generations. ***Just a thought. Highly speculative.
- The Dark Side of Evolution: Eugenics
- North Carolina works to compensate the many victims of eugenics it sterilized in the 1950s.
- An interesting theory on Human evolution. Where do we really come from?
- Here's an interesting, easy to follow video that gives some general facts about Human evolution!
- Are humans still evolving today?
- This article says yes, mainly by way of differing reproductive success or differing numbers of children.
- Less teeth and receding hairlines could be the future for humans? This article details 5 possibilities as to what the future for humans may hold: lack of wisdom teeth, disappearance of race differences, less hair, increased resistance to diabetes and heart disease, and physically weaker.
- First quantitative study of “uniqueness” of the human foot
- Used pressure-sensitive treadmill to study human steps and compare them to apes
- Found that humans have maintained more flexibility in feet than originally thought
- As humans are evolving today, it may come as a surprise to know that our brain size is actually shrinking!
- Though some people argue that we're getting dumber, scientists are arguing that our brains are getting more efficient.
- Why are our brains shrinking though?
- With global warming, our bulky bodies get overheated faster, which may lead to death in extreme cases.
- This makes people with smaller statures more fit to endure global warming.
- Therefore, since we are evolving to push to be smaller, our brains don't need as much matter to control our bodies.
- Studying the differences in DNA sequences of common ancestors can help scientists pin point mutations that occur in evolved species.
- White Nose Syndrome has become a wildlife health crisis in northeastern United States killing at least 5.7 million hibernating bats. WNS has been associated with a specific fungus that thrives in cold, humid conditions characteristics of bat hibernation sites. (More information on WNS in bats can be found here)
- Research is now being shifted to the closest known relatives of this fungus to determine what genetic variations can be causing one fungus to be deadly while its close relatives are benign. Andrew Minnis and Daniel Linder outline their research on the evolution of species related to the fungus causing WNS in the journal Fungal Biology. Linder explains that "Identification of the closest known relatives of this fungus makes it possible to move forward with genetic work to examine the molecular toolbox this fungus uses to kill bats. Ultimately, we hope to use this information to be able to interrupt the ability of this fungus to cause disease”
- More info can be found here
- This is an interesting article from the University of California, Berkeley about how they think grasshoppers have changed their tunes and how they think evolution is playing a role.
- This article describes how the first "mechanical gear" has been found in a living creature. Scientists believe the bug, issus, evolved due to the need to flee dangerous situations. They are not sure what exact predator (birds, wasps, or other animals) was the major source of selection, but that this gear has made the species extremely fast at fleeing predators.
- MECHANICAL GEARS in nature: Gears were previously thought to be solely a man-made invention. This evidence from plant hoppers contradicts that notion.
- During the Cambrian period, there was an explosion of new species.
- Darwin could not explain this occurrence, and thought it was a major shortcoming of evolution.
- Researchers discovered that during this period of time, evolution occurred at a rate that was five times faster than the expected rate; however, it is still consistent with Darwin's theory.
- Read more here.
- 4 new species of legless lizards were recently discovered in California!
- different from snakes because of characteristics such as eyelids and absence of belly scales
- This is an incredible video and article about Octopus vulgaris. This defense mechanism shown by the octopus has rarely been caught on film!
- A species of songbird may have obtained genes from another species to fly for greater distances.
- A new species of snail has been discovered in a Croatian cave system. Due to the complete darkness of the cave, the snail has lost eyes and shell pigmentation.
- Multiple genomes exist within the human body.
- The variation between each person may be too big to ignore!
- Having multiple genomes impacts medicine
- It is also changing forensics.
- Sequencing people's genome is becoming more common because of this.
- Some of the mutations that causes our variation are common to diseases.
- Multiple genomes also can affect organ transplants.
- In this article it discusses which vertebrates were first to acquire faces.
- Apparently it comes from a 416-Million-year-old fish fossil located in China.
- This is an interesting article about the survival of a species depending on the variance of its mate's genes!
- This article outlines the findings of a recent study conducted at Penn State. The study showed that the massive amount of non-coding DNA in the human genome may have a purpose after all.
- The article also discusses a possible increased understanding of transposons.
- Toads adapted to live in trees with back feet that can grip like hands.
- Also, found frogs that provide a link between frogs with tadpoles, and frogs that develop beyond that point before hatching.
- This article looks at a combination of linked events that led to the explosion of new animal life
- Scientists discovered that a certain protein evolved based on how it moves and not its structure
- This is really important because it affects the research of antibiotics and resistance
- Interesting article about the evolution of Mars and why the environment was formed to be how it is today.
- This is a link to the geneious program we discussed in lecture! Download it and check it out!
- Researchers at Penn State may have found the origin of non-coding RNA
- Because of the potent toxin in the stinger, the asian green hornet is killing humans and causing bullet- sized craters in the skin.
- The use of over the counter pesticides in Namibia has lead to a mass death event of African Wildlife including Vultures.
- This is a great example of what we have discussed in class! Brain size in finches are affected by the environment!
- This is a really neat read on the evolution of musical talent in humans.
- Scientists found a bone flute, which is thought of to be the oldest man made instrument.
- Our brain store the process of sounds.
- Music exercises our minds, which is makes them more active. Perhaps for this reason, they were able to become larger and more capable of socializing.
- We process sounds differently than any other animal.
- PET imaging verifies that music enjoyment is a personal phenomenon.
- Great Essay on the influence of Evolution and its forefathers on Hollywood and culture
- Scientist from the Univesity of Uzbekistan have found a salt-tolerant bacteria that can help improve crop yields by helping the rooting process in plants.
- Transgendered males were accepted in traditional hunter-gatherer cultures because they provided an extra set of hands in supporting the family.
- This ensured that their familial line (and thus, their own genetic make-up) was passed on to future generations despite not having children of their own
- Interesting article discussing how sometimes a fast-paced gene conversion versus a slow accumulation of mutations causes a species line to go extinct.
- A third mechanism for skeletal body elongation has been found.
- The process involves the doubling of the vertebral arches; for example, instead of having one vertebral arch per myomeric segment, it has two.
- This is an interesting article about a species of albino dolphins that were spotted a few weeks ago in US waters.
- Albinism is caused in humans by a lack of melanin production and is genetically passed down from both parents. In the case of these dolphins, the question is, was this a genetic mutation in the parents due to the environment?
- These are a very rare type of mammals and so little is known about them.
- This article shows an example of coalescence. It details the largest study of Europe's genetic diversity ever done by using ancient DNA found in skeletons. Scientists used this DNA, along with other phylogeny criteria and migration patterns, to look back in time and see when certain populations diverged and how Europe's diversity today came to be.
- Here's an interesting article that discusses a new variation in DNA linked to testicular cancer. Scientists think it may have emerged because it also helps protect light-skinned people from sun damage.
- When put to the test, fruit flies out survived cockroaches when exposed to higher gamma rays.
- This could be because cockroaches are larger or it could be that fruit flies have less chromosomes that are effected.M
- The article states that genetics still play an important role in the mate choice of modern humans.
- The scientists who contributed to the article are found here and here
- Evolution shaped our lungs through optimization of energy conservation and delivery speed
- This is an example of evolution's interrelationship with other fields like physics
- The following article gives a evolutionary analysis of the collapse of cod fisheries, relating to what we talked about artificially selecting for certain fish stereo types.
- analyzed genetic data, isotopes, oxygen levels in mitochondria
- Some ancestral mitochondria in the Audobon warbler was displaced by "wanderlust" genes found in Myrtle warblers
- it could be that the myrtle warbler's mitochondria powers its travels better
- Flies are annoying, but thankfully, the Venus Flytrap can help keep their infestation to bearable levels.
- The Venus Flytrap goes through physiological changes when it captures the fly.
- The Venus Flytrap is carnivorous and it has 18 systems to help achieve that.
- This link goes through those 18 systems to understand how the Venus Flytrap preys and digests it's meal.
- Recent research suggests that ants are actually more closely related to bees than to wasps. This is a demonstration of how new evidence can cause changes in phylogenetic trees, and lead to more well supported hypotheses.
- This is a really interesting article and experiment done by researchers at LSU (go dawgs!) that examines the possibilities of how microbes and microbial DNA may have been able to survive permafrost.
- This is an article on a study Bedrich Mosinger! Check it out!
- Cool article about new DNA recovered to help modify modern-European genetic history
- Geneticist in Oxford has supposedly sequenced the DNA of this fabled creature from two unidentified animals killed in the Himalayas
- Believes the Yeti could be a hybrid of two species of bar - an extinct polar bear and a brown bear. Very interesting article!
- Interesting article probing into the evolution of human intelligence as a series of traits selected for by hominids changing environment.
- This article also links to other articles discussing different specific extinct hominid species
- Tooth-like structures have been found to originate form outer-body coverings
- The ancient fossil is dated 1.8 million years old and was found in a medieval village in Georgia.
- Scientists had previously identified many different species of ancient humans in Africa prior to the development and origination of Homo Erectus in Africa. However, these new fossils predate the earliest identified origination of Homo Erectus, leading researchers to question these earlier species and the developmental path of early humans.
- The discovery of this fossil is important to understanding how humans evolve, suggesting that the immigration out of Africa happened much earlier than previously thought.
- The skull was discovered to be 1.5 meter tall male with a massive jaw, big teeth, and a small brain.
- The remains at Dmanisi give us insight in to the first of our relatives to have body proportions similar to that of a modern human and to harness fire and cook food.
- Extremely informative due to how well it has been kept in tact over the years.
- Article with supporting facts and video here.
- A killer bacteria had diminished the male population of Blue Moon butterflies to nearly 1% of the total population
- The female contracts the bacteria and it kills the males before they are born
- In less than 1 year, a "suppressor gene" is thought to have evolved and has kept the bacteria at bay. Now the males are up to 40% of the population
- Article explaining how evolution is causing people to lose genes related to molar teeth
- 25% of people no longer develop molar teeth.
- Ancient Judean Palm Trees went extinct thousands of years ago
- Seeds found in ancient, unearthed jar produce living tree that was once extinct
- explains how oxygen levels haven't exactly changed and is not the sole cause of evolution to advanced life
- New study showing how rat and mice masticatory apparatuses may be responsible for their success rate.
- Another key find in evolution of ants
- closest relatives: mud dauber wasps
- Speleonectes tulumensis
- Venom made of peptidase; which is also found in digestion and rattle snake venom and a neurotoxin found in spiders
- Rare in crustaceans because it is believed they have not faced the same evolutionary pressures as say to need this type of a weapon to kill their prey.
- Read more about it, and see a picture of the organism HERE
- It is known that during the time of the dinosaur mass extinction event, ~65 million years ago, that many of the earths flowering plants went extinct as well.
- It has long been the assumption that the pollinators of these plants also suffered a decline, but the fossil record for bees is too lacking to confirm it.
- The research team featured in this article combines field observation of the sparse fossil record with molecular phylogentics to confirm that a mass extinction event of carpenter been happened during this time.
- This research group did a genome wide comparison of herpes simplex viruses isolated from around the world.
- Their data supports anthropologists theory that humans originated in Africa, then spread east into Asia and west into Europe
- Herpes simplex was a good choice for this research because it is passed through close contact, to usually run in families or people living in close proximity, so it would have closely followed the migration of early humans
- Some grazing and pollinating pressures conducted in this experiment can effect the genetic makeup of a plant
- This is a really good example of how the environment can cause genetic material to evolve and adapt.
- These lizards live mostly underground!
- You might mistake them for snakes, because they are long and slender with no legs, which could show some evolutionary data on snakes and lizards.
- These fossils are over 12 million years older than the next oldest.
- They are most closely related to a reptile called tuatara. Tuataras can be found off the coast of New Zealand.
- The fossils found are from 240 million years ago. Molecular data suggest that lizards evolved 290 million years ago, so we are incredibly close to that time period now.
- Article claiming that your face is as unique as a fingerprint because its made up of "Fine Tuning of Craniofacial Morphology by Distant-Acting Enhancers."
- Article here.
- An article included in the title explaining the coevolution between bats and Tiger moths in the Arizona desert.
- "An evolutionary arms race" between these two species with the latest evolved trait being the Tiger moths production of a toxin making it distasteful to its predator bats.
- An article disproving a theory of "100 million other habitable planets"
- Theory stated that there were millions of planets that are earth-like and habitable in the galaxy.
- This article goes into detail how the evidence is not strong enough to consider these planets habitable and how evolution plays a role in our planet as opposed to these other "earth-like" planets.
- Article link within title.
- Suggestion of 8.8 billion "Earth-Like" plants (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/11/about_those_rep078841.html)
- This shale contains fossils of strange and unfamiliar organisms from the Cambrian era.
- The organisms have no living descendants.
- Cool article about the discovery of a new shark.
- were collecting scalloped hammerheads when they discovered different genetic signatures in mitochondrial and nuclear genomes.
- they examined it morphologically and suggested that it was a cryptic species (a species that is physically almost indistinguishable from a more common species)
- Here is article about the speciation of butterfly species
- This publication explains RNA's role in the control of gene expression in splicesomes, further supporting the theory of the "RNA World" origin of life
- Fossilized insects in the act of copulation were discovered in China. Fossil evidence of copulating insects are rare and provide critical information on mating position and genitalia orientation.
- The scientists were actually tracking white-lipped peccaries when the drawings were discovered.
- I thought this was very interesting since the class was discussing art and emotion from a genetic standpoint last lecture.
- This is a really awesome example of the environment affecting the phenotype of organisms!
- Lice have been closely associated with humans for millions of years
- Research suggest present day humans intermingled with known Neanderthals in begging years
- Article explains study which followed ovarian cancer through multiple patients
- Different routes and expressive in each patient indicated impressive evolution occurring between these tumors
- Article proving that evolution will never stop using bacterial competition.
- Interesting because Richard Lenski and his lab at Michigan State University have worked on E.coli samples for 25 years and still see evolution.
- They have the ability to unfreeze previous samples of the bacteria from many years ago and can bring them back to life to compete with current bacterial evolutionary traits.
- 3 individual cats discovered in Southwestern Tibet
- Discovery of fossils extends cat lineage back another 2 million years
- What could this mean if children were no longer taught about evolution?
- Archaeopteryx, a feathered dinosaur, has long been believed to be related to birds in that it was evolving towards the evolution of flight. However, new research has changed the view on this.
- Archaeologists have found what appears to be the first evidence of making string!
- found evidence of twisted fibers that were used by Neanderthals in France about 90,000 years ago.
- the fibers were twisted together showing intelligent design
- Relative to the idea we learned about in class discussing the relationship of viruses and the relationship of their hosts (a pattern suggesting hosts and parasites have been cospeciating for millions of years).
- Significant in the case of evolutionary medicine.
- Further evidence that viruses originated in a common ancestor.
- Research at oxford university and Plymouth university shows that ancient viruses from neanderthals have been found in the DNA of humans today. This finding came from comparing the genetic data extracted from neanderthal and Denisovan fossils to data from cancer patients today.
- Discovery will aid in finding more links between ancient viruses and diseases that exist today.
- This is a really neat article possibly explaining another theory on Dingbat sexual selection due to a mutation in a linked gene!
- One of the immune response genes in humans was found in the Neanderthal genome as well!
- This could help pinpoint the origin of the gene, and it could also lead to further information about the human/Neanderthal common ancestor. Is also might lead to evidence that humans and Neanderthals hybridized!