Humans cooperate with each other in large groups to defend territories or wage war. But what underlies the evolution of this kind of cooperation? Researchers at the Max PIanck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Harvard University show that there may be a link between social bonds and participation in large-scale cooperation: Chimpanzees join their close bond partners when fighting rivals. In humans, too, social bonds may have been essential to the evolution of cooperative abilities.
In a new study an international team of researchers examined three-dimensional digital models of the bones, joints, and muscles of the fins and limbs of two extinct early tetrapods and a closely related fossil fish and discover these early tetrapods had a very distinct pattern of muscle leverage that didn't look like a fish fin or modern tetrapod limbs and their limbs were more adapted for propulsion rather than weight bearing.
Collective research to date regarding nutrients found in the leaves of contemporary cycad species has been inconsistent as far as data collection and narrow in scope, according to a University of Guam-led literature review published on Nov. 19 in Horticulturae journal.
Simon Fraser University researchers have found evidence that large ambush-predatory worms--some as long as two metres--roamed the ocean floor near Taiwan over 20 million years ago.
A new study looks to snakes to broaden our understanding of what makes a gene able to survive on a sex-specific chromosome. Comparing surviving genes on snake sex-specific chromosomes to those that are lost to the ravages of time can teach scientists about the evolutionary pressures that shaped sex chromosomes as we know them today.
Researchers from LSTM's Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions (CSRI) have led an international team investigating the evolutionary origins of a novel defensive trait by snakes - venom spitting - and demonstrated that defensive selection pressures can influence venom composition in snakes in a repeatable manner.
A study of spitting cobras, published in Science (22 January 2021) reveals how a combination of venom components have evolved to create an instantly painful venom, not once, but on three separate occasions. This is the first clear example of snake venom evolving for defence, and provides a remarkable example of convergent evolution, or how natural selection can cause the same solution to a problem to evolve multiple times.
Giant ambush-predator worms, possible ancestors of the 'bobbit worm', may have colonized the seafloor of the Eurasian continent around 20 million years ago. The findings, based on the reconstruction of large, L-shaped burrows from layers of seafloor dating back to the Miocene (23 million to 5.3 million years ago) of northeast Taiwan, are reported in Scientific Reports this week.
In the dark waters of Lake Superior, a fish species adapted to regain a genetic trait that may have helped its ancient ancestors see in the ocean, a study finds. "Evolution is often thought of as a one-way process, at least over deep time, but in this example, over 175 million years, we have this reversal back to a much earlier ancestral state," one of the researchers says.
European eels spawn in the subtropical Sargasso Sea but spend most of their adult life in a range of fresh- and brackish waters, across Europe and Northern Africa. Using whole-genome analysis, a team of scientists led from Uppsala University provides conclusive evidence that all European eels belong to a single panmictic population irrespective of where they spend their adult life, an extraordinary finding for a species living under such variable environmental conditions. The study is published in the PNAS.