Although bonobos and chimpanzees are similar in size, bonobo calls sound an octave higher than chimpanzee calls. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, explain this discrepancy with the fact that the vocal folds of bonobos are only half as long as those of chimpanzees of the same age. Whether or not other factors have contributed to this discrepancy is subject to further research.
What came first -- animals or oxygen? That question is the central theme of a special issue of Emerging Topics in Life Sciences published Sept. 28 by Portland Press. Titled "Early Earth and the Rise of Complex Life," the issue was edited by UC Riverside's Timothy Lyons.
Experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that the brain's parahippocampal place area responded more strongly to a scene recognition task while the occipital place area responded more to a navigation task.
Japanese researchers identified a large novel protein complex in the inner chloroplast membrane that functions as a motor to import proteins into the chloroplast. Components of the complex evolved from a protein of the endosymbiont cyanobacterium-like ancestor of chloroplasts that lost its protein-degrading function but retained its motor ability. These findings solve a longstanding mystery surrounding this protein translocation system that uniquely evolved in photosynthetic eukaryotes.
UTA researchers set out to determine whether pythons could have adapted to an extreme Florida freeze event in 2010. They generated data for dozens of samples before and after the freeze event. By scanning regions of the Burmese python genome, they identified parts of the genome that changed significantly between the two time periods, providing clear evidence of evolution occurring over a very short time scale in this population.
Michigan State University researchers have improved an introductory biology class to make it more accessible for students not majoring in life sciences. The new course, 'Integrative Biology: From DNA to Populations,' features Avida-ED, a digital evolution software program that allows populations of digital organisms, aka Avidians, to undergo actual, not simulated, evolutionary change.
People who have better spatial memory are also better at identifying odors, according to a study published this week in Nature Communications. The study builds on a recent theory that the main reason that a sense of smell evolved was to aid in navigation, since most animals rely primarily on smell to find food and avoid predators.
Computational image analysis of behaving cuttlefish reveals principles of control and development of a biological invisibility cloak.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the University of Leipzig presented experienced human raters with digital images of rhesus macaques of different ages and asked them to identify related individuals. They found that although infant rhesus macaque faces are individually distinguishable, only just before they reach puberty can offspring be matched correctly to the faces of their parents.
Scientists at Oregon State University have shed light on the evolutionary history of a soil-borne bacteria that is so dangerous to grazing animals it is kept behind lock-and-key to prevent its spread.