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Tortoise evolution: How did they become so big?

Tue, 23 Oct 2018 11:05:34 EDT ~ The evolution of giant tortoise might not be linked to islands, as had been previously thought. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers present the most comprehensive family tree of extinct and extant tortoises so far. Analyzing genetic and osteological data from living species and fossil tortoise they rewrite the evolution of tortoise: Giant size evolved on multiple occasions on the mainland. Find out more...

Ancient Andean genomes show distinct adaptations to farming and altitude

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 21:16:57 EDT ~ Ancient populations in the Andes of Peru adapted to their high-altitude environment and the introduction of agriculture in ways distinct from other global populations that faced similar circumstances. Find out more...

A curious branch of plankton evolution

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:09:50 EDT ~ Planktonic foraminifera -- tiny, shelled organisms that float in the sea -- left behind one of the most complete fossil records of evolutionary history in deep sea deposits. Consequently, evolutionists have a relatively sturdy grasp on when and how new lineages arose. However, a new study reveals that one lineage evolved much more rapidly than everyone predicted, and researchers are looking beyond Darwin's original theories of gradual evolution to understand why. Find out more...

Classifying microbes differently leads to discovery

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 11:50:42 EDT ~ Changing the way microbes are classified can reveal similarities among mammals' gut microbiomes, according to a new study that proposes an alternative method for classifying microbes to provide insight into human and environmental health. Find out more...

Newly described fossils could help reveal why some dinos got so big

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:47:06 EDT ~ A new, in-depth anatomical description of the best preserved specimens of a car-sized sauropod relative from North America could help paleontologists with unraveling the mystery of why some dinosaurs got so big. Find out more...

Scientists go 'back to the future,' create flies with ancient genes to study evolution

Tue, 09 Oct 2018 13:59:23 EDT ~ Scientists have created fruit flies carrying reconstructed ancient genes to reveal how ancient mutations drove major evolutionary changes in embryonic development--the impact of which we see today. Find out more...

Oldest fossil of a flying squirrel sheds new light on its evolutionary tree

Tue, 09 Oct 2018 11:50:41 EDT ~ The oldest flying squirrel fossil ever found has unearthed new insight on the origin and evolution of these airborne animals. Find out more...

Drier, less predictable environment may have spurred human evolution

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 18:33:42 EDT ~ Evidence of a variable but progressively drying climate coincides with a major shift in stone-tool-making abilities and the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. Sediment cores obtained by the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project provide the first continuous environmental context for the diverse archeological evidence recovered from nearby localities in the East African rift valley. Find out more...

Getting a grip on the slow but unique evolution of sharks

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:46:10 EDT ~ Scientists have decoded the whole genomes of two shark species for the first time and improved the whale shark genome sequences released previously. By analyzing the genomes and comparing them with those of other vertebrate species, they have constructed an overview of their unique life histories and evolutionary paths. Find out more...

Viruses influenced gene sharing between Neanderthals and humans

Thu, 04 Oct 2018 11:25:47 EDT ~ Human evolution used to be depicted as a straight line, gradually progressing from an ape-like ancestor to modern Homo sapiens. But thanks to next-generation sequencing, findings in recent years have shown that it wasn't quite so orderly. Now, a new study is reporting new details about the role of viruses in shaping evolution, in particular viral interactions between modern humans and Neanderthals. Find out more...