29 Sep 2015

Our brain’s secrets to success through evolution?

Discoveries about how the human brain contributes to our success – both as a species and as individuals – are among the first fruit of projects funded under the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative program as well as the Human Connectome Project.

This flea preserved about 20 million years ago in amber may carry evidence of an ancestral strain of the bubonic plague.
(Photo by George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University)
28 Sep 2015

Bacteria in ancient flea may be ancestor of the Black Death

About 20 million years ago a single flea became entombed in amber with tiny bacteria attached to it, providing what researchers believe may be the oldest evidence on Earth of a dreaded and historic killer – an ancient strain of the bubonic plague.

Image Credit : stokesrx (flickr)
26 Sep 2015

How fossil corals can shed light on the Earth’s past climate

Researchers from the University of Bristol describe how they used radiocarbon measured in deep-sea fossil corals to shed light on carbon dioxide (CO2) levels during the Earth’s last deglaciation.

Credit : udovic Orlando
25 Sep 2015

After 100 Years in Captivity, a Look at the World’s Last Truly Wild Horses

For the first time, an international team of researchers has sequenced the complete genomes of eleven Przewalski’s horses, including all of the founding lineages and five historical, museum specimens dating back more than a century.

22 Sep 2015

‘Tree of life’ for 2.3 million species released

A first draft of the “tree of life” for the roughly 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes has been released, and two University of Michigan biologists played a key role in its creation.

22 Sep 2015

How a frog’s molecules ‘leaped,’ and ‘crawled,’ to evolve violet vision

The African clawed frog is tongue-less, has long, curvy toes and eyes that are perched on top of its head, but that’s not all that’s odd about it.

Fruit fly wings open window on evolutionary question. Photo: David Houle, Florida State University
18 Sep 2015

58,046 fruit flies help answer 100-year-old question

Why do certain body shape and size relationships remain consistent over long periods? One such example is found in flies, where small wings are normally rounder than large wings.

18 Sep 2015

Southern Ocean: Reconstructing environmental conditions over the past 30,000 years

In the last 30,000 years there was, at times, more mixing in the Southern Ocean than previously thought.

Image Credit : NASA
15 Sep 2015

Sierra Nevada snowpack lowest in five centuries

Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada in 2015 was at the lowest level in the past 500 years, according to a new report led by University of Arizona researchers.

15 Sep 2015

World has lost 3 percent of its forests since 1990

The globe’s forests have shrunk by three per cent since 1990 – an area equivalent to the size of South Africa – despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade.

15 Sep 2015

Research shows evolution in real time

In ongoing research to record the interaction of environment and evolution, a team led by University of California, Riverside biologist David Reznick has found new information illustrating the evolution of a population of guppies.

03 Sep 2015

Scientists reveal New Zealand’s prehistoric wildlife sanctuaries

An international research team led by University of Otago scientists has documented prehistoric “sanctuary” regions where New Zealand seabirds survived early human hunting.

Complete left tusk of an ice-age Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) from the Siberian Arctic on the Taimyr Peninsula. Each individual discovery increases our knowledge about the past distribution of these Ice Age giants. © R.-D. Kahlke/ Senckenberg Weimar
27 Aug 2015

Widest distribution of mammoths during the last Ice Age

Ice Age paleontologist Prof. Dr. Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke of the Senckenberg Research Station for Quaternary Paleontology in Weimar recorded the maximum geographic distribution of the woolly mammoth during the last Ice Age and published the most accurate global map in this regard.

27 Aug 2015

New research sheds light on end of Snowball Earth period

The second ice age during the Cryogenian period was not followed by the sudden and chaotic melting-back of the ice as previously thought, but ended with regular advances and retreats of the ice, according to research published by scientists from the University of Birmingham in the journal Nature Geoscience.

21 Aug 2015

Humans as predators: An unsustainable appetite for adults and carnivores

Humans are just one of many predators in this world, but a new study highlights how their intense tendency to target and kill adult prey, as well as other carnivores, sets them distinctly apart from other predators. As humans kill other species in their reproductive prime, there can be profound

his is a large intact specimen of the fossil, Montsechia. Usually only small fragmentary pieces of the fossil are found. Credit : David Dilcher
17 Aug 2015

IU paleobotanist identifies what could be the mythical ‘first flower’

Indiana University paleobotanist David Dilcher and colleagues in Europe have identified a 125 million- to 130 million-year-old freshwater plant as one of earliest flowering plants on Earth.

13 Aug 2015

Humans responsible for demise of gigantic ancient mammals

Early humans were the dominant cause of the extinction of a variety of species of giant beasts, new research has revealed.

This image shows one of the last remaining amastrid land snail species on O'ahu, Laminella sanguinea, in the Waianae Mountains. Credit - Robert Cowie, PBRC
11 Aug 2015

Research shows catastrophic invertebrate extinction in Hawai’i and globally

Hawai’i has been called the “extinction capital of the world.” But, with the exception of the islands’ birds, there has until now been no accurate assessment of the true level of this catastrophic loss.

10 Aug 2015

How 16th Century observations paved the way for Darwin’s landmark study

Documents dating back to the 16th Century provide a unique insight into one of Darwin’s landmark studies – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

06 Aug 2015

Natural selection, key to evolution, also can impede formation of new species

An intriguing study involving walking stick insects led by the University of Sheffield in England and the University of Colorado Boulder shows how natural selection, the engine of evolution, can also impede the formation of new species.

Credit : Alan Levine
05 Aug 2015

Origins of life: New model may explain emergence of self-replication on early Earth

When life on Earth began nearly 4 billion years ago, long before humans, dinosaurs or even the earliest single-celled forms of life roamed, it may have started as a hiccup rather than a roar: small, simple molecular building blocks known as “monomers” coming together into longer “polymer” chains and falling apart in the warm pools of primordial ooze over and over again.

Credit : Mahala Kephart
05 Aug 2015

4 million years at Africa’s salad bar

As grasses grew more common in Africa, most major mammal groups tried grazing on them at times during the past 4 million years, but some of the animals went extinct or switched back to browsing on trees and shrubs, according to a study led by the University of Utah.