If we take a group of islands that suffer from regular volcanic creation and then erosion back into the sea, can we gather invaluable information about how life evolves generally to fill available habitats in other biomes---- ? The answer seems to be YES we can.
The daring explorer ventures near the dangerous predator at his peril, but this is the army ant, so there are fascinating guests and although the danger is real, we can avoid the worst of the bites. The reward is genomes that tell us new stories of parallels and evolutionary successes in these impenetrable, dense forests.
We rarely come across research that leads to true connections with human evolution in other animals, but menopause is an almost unique event that has deep meaning for survival. With these whales, we have a link to one of our own particular characteristics that can only be investigated in these species. Who knows what information we may find among orca ecotypes and even other unique species.
Dolphin worlds are no longer circus-like recreation for humans, but one oceanic species has found it possible to settle down in a relatively restricted habitat. Here is the story of their novel world, with Im sure, more evolutionary possibilities to come.
Its likely that these advanced vertebrates evolved extreme matrotrophy only once, but when we compare that habit with many other advanced features, it seems skinks come out top in adaptations for advanced life styles.
How did our ancestors get about. Moving out of as well as inside Africa presented problems that must have given us our current abilities for walking and running with an incredible efficiency only equalled by wolves. I wonder what gave us this potato-like ability to sit on couches and do nothing?
Pine trees and insects have been together in their habitats for such a long time. However, their relationship is deepened by new research that show how an ancient swap has survived where other intriguing DNA changes have been lost. This story could run for millions of years.
Plants such as Rafflesia spp. are closest to the Euphorbias, but literally stand out as amazing examples of evolution to attract insects for pollination and mammals for dispersal. We take off our hats, and place it round our noses to a plant that parasitizes and almost paralyses us, and perpetually pleases flies!!!
The sloths, anteaters and armadillos are bound together despite millions of years of evolutionary separation. The reason is their vision, limiting them to dimly-lit habitats, and causing many deaths in accidents for the armadillos (and humans.)
How does our skeleton fit us? Is it designed for the activity and sports that we love so much, because of a past of long-distance running and hunting and gathering. Is it more suited to the couch potato, who rarely needs his or her joints to mobilise their frame? The answer lies in agriculture apparently, needing hard work, but from a more gracile form than that of our relatives such as the Neanderthals. The great apes here have heavy frames apart from the 2 extremes, the leaping gibbon and the agricultural human!
In racial discrimination, we have problems, but in birds it is all about the mating prospects of similar individuals. In this case, the stonechat has already successfully colonised many parts of the Old World over millions of years. Here is an insight into evolution of the song and the bird as it continues the selection and the speciations that have made it successful for so long. The nightingale is mentioned as a plastic song
The ostrich and the quail were used here to check out how a bipedal animal (like ourselves) can be run in an optimised way over rough ground. Of course, the birds and the average human may not be interested in their own evolution of gaits, but engineers have strange deluded ideas of fantastical robots that can operate in theatres we can only dream of.
After the great interest shown by our articles on the recent evolution of dogs, cats and horses, we thought it better to follow these up, rather than spout on about relatively unknown species, much as wed love to. North Americans love to think that horses belong there, but they became extinct there for an odd combination of circumstances, like camels and many others.
The evolutionary relationships between organisms are endless, while some stand out as truly incredible. For 10 million years, mountains have moved and bills have been paid as pollination was accomplished by bat, bee and bird
Personality in great tits stretches as far as deciding whether to risk your life for your eggs. Would you go back home if somebody seems to threaten your cosy little nest in some unknown way? Insights into survival, evolution of boldness, domesticity and even our own reactions to stress can be found here!
Animals of unfamiliar as well as familiar types took up niches in the ancient ecosystems, as birds and mammals developed and, of course, feathered dinosaurs ruled the roost!
You would expect an evolutionary shift to be a trend, but in one great family of fish, there is little evidence that lightning strikes twice, especially in the same freshwater ecosystem!
When humans meet, the interbreeding and cross-cultural exchanges show up in history as major advances. When Neanderthals met, it was often only as small family groups, as large tribes are not recorded. If they met for dinner though, the outcome may not have been as you would have thought.
Do sticklebacks become larger when they invade the low salinity of freshwater, or do limited resources cause them to become smaller? Both answers are correct, apparently!
The thought of bat and whale being related because they have similar hearing is incorrect. If we study a range of species, though, the evolutionary convergences of many kinds of sensory structures is very involving. What's next? Our chimpanzee friends will be developing their typing skills before we know it!
Biodiversity is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural pattern it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the result of millions of years of evolution, initially shaped by natural processes, but in modern times increasingly as a result of human intervention. We are an integral part of the web of biodiversity and we depend on this web, as does every other life form on the planet.
Bill size has been investigated in these tunesmiths, with findings proving fruitful for evolutionary theorists. The birds themselves have bigger beak differences on more southerly islands!
A new study has been published on how environmental change effects the evolutionary process. The question of whether speciation is a quick process or a cold unending and slow bore is nearing an answer.
A new study on Neanderthals and the evolution of human ancestors' brains has been published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Researchers in Brazil have discovered that fire and/or cooking had to be developed for our diet long before palaeontologists believed possible, around 1.7 million years ago.
63,000 year old skull fragments of modern humans discovered in Laos. Homo sapiens fossils in Asia confirm that 'out of Africa,' humans colonised far and wide, but perhaps earlier than previously thought.
A new study looks at the origin and evolution of varanid lizards. Many lizards originated in Laurasia but the varanids or monitor lizards have a disputed origins.
Recently, in Myanmar, an odd-nosed monkey was discovered. Always an exciting event, the primate discovery has livened up the whole of primate evolution.
The way that human evolution has historically adapted to climate change and the prevailing environment and the way that modern humans persistently modify their environment and ignore the consequences of changes to the global climate, thus risking the future existance of the human race.
For three species in the family Notthenioidae, a bleak outlook once again threatens. Climate change is about to deal a double evolutionary deal on a group of Antarctic animals that have adapted well to the icy environment only to lose out to global warming.
In the late Middle Pleistocene, haematite (iron oxide) was carried at least twenty km by Neanderthals. Whether used as red ochre for cave painting and burials as their descendants did 40 thousand years ago, or for other ceremonial or even everyday use, Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University et al have tried to discover.
Eels are among the most successful of all fish groups, and that extends back through time to the evolution of the bony teleosts themselves. The new species was named Protanguilla palau, complete with a unique family and genus.
It takes 24 million generations for a mammal the size of a mouse to become as large as an elephant, but just 100,000 generations to reverse the process and reach extreme dwarfism, say scientists studying mammal evolution.
Recent study suggests that human behaviour is having previously unsuspected impacts upon seed dispersal and natural selection within seed-dispersing species.
Two new species of frog discovered in New Guinea, one the smallest vertebrate yet. One small step for Paedophryne amauensis is a giant step for the evolution of the tiniest vertebrate footprints anywhere.
Primate faces evolve to be simpler and plainer in larger groups, which help them communicate through facial expression, a new study suggests. Their facial evolution also alter according to their environment.
Lauren Sallan, post-doctoral student at the University of Chicago has equalled her prestigious colleagues with recent achievements in evolutionary understanding. The idea that the development of features in the head precedes that in other areas such as body shape is a hard one to prove.
New research on orangutans can shed light on the evolution of the human species. Sometime in the deep past, one or more hominid species started down an evolutionary path that would eventually lead to us: how exactly did that happen? Now, a recent piece of research on hungry orangutans has contributed something to the discussion.
The Brown Argus occurs in southern Britain. It's a butterfly from the family of 'Blues' (It resembles the female Common Blue very closely), widespread in particular habitats. Researchers recently published a paper in Molecular Ecology entitled, ''Evidence for evolutionary change associated with the recent range expansion of the British butterfly in response to climate change.''
Thanks to increases in computer power it is now possible to produce computer models that were previously impossible. Recent computer modelling that has looked at evidence of Hominin groups has given new insights how these groups evolved and coped with climate change during the last Ice Age.
Mammals have developed a uniquely efficient blood clotting mechanism, which probably offered a survival advantage. But that same advantage comes at a price: a higher risk of heart disease. The culprits are important components of mammalian blood known as platelets, which helped protect early mammals from injury.
Prof. Alice Gibb watched the catch jump from the net back into the water. It had jumping skills and knew what it wanted to do. Her study of feeding behaviour was abandoned and 'studies of stranding' became the new research aim. By now, she has achieved unbelievable results relevant to the (possibly frequent) evolution of land vertebrates from the fish, more than 300 million years ago.
An innovative use of MRI scanners and tarantulas has revealed intriguing new information about a spider's heart - it may show a double-beat, similar to that felt by humans. The research, being presented at this week's annual conference of the Society for Experimental Biology, in Glasgow, also holds out the possibility of investigating useful properties in spider venom, and the evolution of the brain.
The hidden world of the feathered color-spectrum has been mapped out in detail, in a new study of color - as seen from the bird's point of view - just published in Behavioral Ecology, out today. It seems for all their dazzle to our eyes, there is even more possibility for bird's evolutionary display to explore as two-thirds of possible colors have yet to be painted on their plumage.
Worries about the growth of oxygen-depleted dead zones may be eased by a new study, which models the 50-year evolution of low oxygen tongues and plumes across the oceans. The paper in Science shows that bacteria have a big influence on the ebb and flow of oxygen through the seas but that a long term decline in oxygen, due to global warming, is still likely.
In one of the biggest mass-participation studies of its kind, 6,000 members of the public across Europe have helped document the evolutionary track of banded snails over the last fifty years. The Evolution Megalab project, published today in PloS One, shows that warmer temperatures are influencing snails in some areas and threw up some interesting surprises.
Humpback whale song - Whales singing in the vast expanses of the oceans introduce new song elements into their repertoire each year, creating new 'remixes'. And the most popular tunes quickly ripple across the oceans in a massive cultural interchange that has no known parallels outside of homo sapiens. So say scientists studying Pacific humpback whales.
The reluctance of US high school science teachers to teach evolutionary biology is causing a major stumbling block in the provision of a sound scientific education. Evolution is one of those things that you either believe in or you don't and recent research indicates that more than half of US public school science teachers are not strong advocates of evolutionary biology.
How fluctuations in levels of oceanic oxygen affected the early evolution of animal life. The accepted view of the Earth's history is that for its first four billion years it was in an anoxic state and that about 600 million years ago the oceans became oxygen-rich to approximately the degree that they are today.
US study indicates that Neanderthal extinction was not due to dietry deficiency. Archaeologists cannot agree whether Neanderthals are a separate human species or a subspecies of modern humans.
Israeli archaeologists believe that remains found in a cave indicate that Homo sapiens roamed Israel 400,000 years ago.
El Sidron in Spain was always a site of mystery thanks to pair of human jawbones discovered there in 1994. They were thought to date back to the Spanish Civil War. In paper released on this week scientists have said that those bones belonged to Neanderthals who died 50,000 years ago.