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Fossils Cast Doubt on Climate Change Predictions

November 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Oregon | News | Comments

Leave it to long-dead short-tailed shrew and flying squirrels to outfox climate modelers trying to predict future habitats. Evidence from the fossil record shows that a gluttonous insect-eating shrew didn't live where a species distribution technique, drawn by biologists, put it 20,000 years ago to survive the reach of glaciers.

Neanderthals Not a Subspecies of Humans

November 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by SUNY Downstate Medical Center | News | Comments

Researchers have identified new evidence supporting the growing belief that Neanderthals were a...

Climate Change Didn't Cause Collapse of Bronze Age

November 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Bradford | News | Comments

Scientists will have to find alternative explanations for a huge population collapse in Europe...

Gravity May Have Saved Universe in the Beginning

November 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Imperial College London | News | Comments

Studies have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion...

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Latrines, Sewers Show Varied Ancient Roman Diet

November 14, 2014 2:41 pm | by Associated Press, Frances D'Emilio | News | Comments

Archaeologists picking through latrines, sewers, cesspits and trash dumps at Pompeii and Herculaneum have found tantalizing clues to an apparently varied diet there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed those Roman cities in 79 A.D.

How Mosquitoes Evolved to Like Humans

November 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Rockefeller Univ. | News | Comments

The female mosquitoes that spread dengue and yellow fever didn't always rely on human blood to nourish their eggs. Their ancestors fed on furrier animals in the forest. But then, thousands of years ago, some of these bloodsuckers made a smart switch. They began biting humans and hitchhiked all over the globe, spreading disease in their wake.

Wine Owes Debt to 30 M-year-old Viruses

November 11, 2014 2:00 pm | by The Univ. of Queensland | News | Comments

Next time you pour a glass of wine, raise a toast to the 30-million-year-old viruses that have contributed to the genetic make-up of modern grapes. Viruses are usually a curse to farmers because of the damage they cause to crops, but this study also suggests they play a vital evolutionary role.

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Research Sheds Light on Origins of Multicellular Life

November 7, 2014 7:00 am | by Massey Univ. | News | Comments

The biological world around us is dominated by multicellular plants and animals. All of these intricate forms have evolved from far simpler single-celled ancestors. Now, researchers are reporting the real-time evolution of life forms that have all the hallmarks of multicellular organisms.

Earliest European Genomes Weathered the Ice Age

November 7, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A genome taken from a 36,000-year-old skeleton reveals an early divergence of Eurasians once they had left Africa, and allows scientists to better assess the point at which admixture— or interbreeding— between Eurasians and Neanderthals occurred. The latest research also points to a previously unknown population lineage as old as the first population separations since humans dispersed out of Africa.

Big Pterodactyls Couldn't Fly

November 6, 2014 2:00 pm | by Society of Vertebrate Paleontology | News | Comments

A new study, which teamed cutting-edge engineering techniques with paleontology, has found that take-off capacity may have determined body size limits in extinct flying reptiles. Findings suggest that a pterodactyl with a wingspan of 12 meter or more would simply not be able to get off the ground.

Shape of Eggs Help Explain Evolution of Birds

November 6, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Lincoln | News | Comments

The eggs of amniotes— mammals, reptiles and birds— come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes. Now, evolutionary biologists have addressed shape variety in terrestrial vertebrates' eggs, pinpointing morphological differences between the eggs of birds and those of their extinct relatives, the theropod dinosaurs.

Massive Groundhog-like Fossil Answers Evolution Questions

November 5, 2014 2:00 pm | by Stony Brook Univ. | News | Comments

A newly discovered 66 to 70 million-year-old groundhog-like creature, massive in size compared to other mammals of its era, provides new and important insights into early mammalian evolution. A research team unexpectedly discovered a nearly complete cranium of the mammal, which lived alongside Late Cretaceous dinosaurs in Madagascar.

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Oxygen Levels Delayed the Appearance of Animals

October 31, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

Researchers are reporting that oxygen levels during the billion or more years before the rise of animals were only 0.1 percent of what they are today. Earth’s atmosphere couldn’t have supported a diversity of creatures, regardless of other factors.

Oceans Arrived on Earth Early

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

Water is essential for life on the planet, but the answers to two key questions have eluded us: where did Earth's water come from and when? While some hypothesize that water came late to Earth, well after the planet had formed, findings from a new study significantly move back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in the inner solar system.

Once-useful Gene Now has Negative Health Impacts

October 24, 2014 7:00 am | by Cell Press | News | Comments

In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment. However, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations.

Researchers Sequence Early Modern Human DNA

October 23, 2014 7:00 am | by Max Planck Institute | News | Comments

A research team has sequenced the genome of a 45,000-year-old modern human male from western Siberia. The comparison of his genome to the genomes of people that lived later in Europe and Asia show that he lived close in time to when the ancestors of present-day people in Europe and eastern Asia went different ways.

Europeans Were Lactose Intolerant Post Agriculture

October 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. College Dublin | News | Comments

By analyzing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset of cheese-making.

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Stone Confirms History Theory

October 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Today, Israeli archaeologists said they discovered a large stone with Latin engravings that lends credence to the theory that the reason Jews revolted against Roman rule nearly 2,000 ago was because of their harsh treatment.

Early Universe's Temp Could Have Supported Life

October 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by Inside Science News Service, Ker Than | News | Comments

Life in the universe could be much older than previously thought, forming as early as 15 million years after the Big Bang, according to a provocative new idea proposed by an astrophysicist. In this scenario for the early universe, rocky planets born from the dregs of massive, primordial stars would have been warmed by the heat of a radiation that permeated all of space, which was much hotter back then than it is now.

Secrets of Dinosaur Ecology Found in Fragile Amber

October 20, 2014 2:41 pm | by The Geological Society of America | News | Comments

Ryan McKellar’s research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, McKellar uses the tiny pieces of fossilized tree resin to study the world in which the now-extinct behemoths lived.

Degenerative Spinal Condition Found in Royal Mummies

October 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Wiley | News | Comments

Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now, a new study refutes that claim, finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

Ancient Mountains Fed Early Life

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by The Australian National Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have found evidence for a huge mountain range that sustained an explosion of life on Earth 600 million years ago. The mountain range was similar in scale to the Himalayas and spanned at least 2,500 kilometers of modern west Africa and northeast Brazil, which at that time were part of the supercontinent Gondwana.

International Effort Needed to Protect Important Footprints

October 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Colorado Denver | News | Comments

An international team of advisors is dedicated to creating a museum complex in Tanzania showcasing perhaps the most important collection of hominin footprints in the world today.

Extinct Roos were Made for Walking

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Brown Univ. | News | Comments

A new paper posits that the Pleistocene members of the now-extinct family of sthenurine kangaroos were likely bipedal walkers. The scientists make their case based on a rigorous statistical and biomechanical analysis of the bones of sthenurines and other kangaroos past and present.

Malaria is Shaping the Human Genome

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Western Australia | News | Comments

For millennia, malaria has been a major killer of children in Africa and other parts of the world. In doing so, it has been a major force of evolutionary selection on the human genome.

Weird Fossils Confirmed as Distant Cousins

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Adelaide | News | Comments

More than 100 years since they were first discovered, some of the world's most bizarre fossils have been identified as distant relatives of humans. The fossils belong to 500-million-year-old blind water creatures. Alien-like in appearance, they were filter-feeders shaped like a figure eight. Their strange anatomy has meant that no one has been able to place them accurately on the tree of life, until now.

Researchers Uncover Evolution of Extreme Parasites

October 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Basel | News | Comments

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Now, zoologists have discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites.

We're Hardwired to See Spiders

October 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Nala Rogers | News | Comments

The spider's iconic leggy shape can abruptly yank our attention, even when we’re focused on something else, according to a new study. Other shapes such as houseflies and hypodermic needles don’t draw our attention in the same way. This suggests that spiders may be hardwired into our visual systems, helping us avoid a threat that our ancestors faced for millions of years.

Archaeologists Find Remains of Iron Age Chariot

October 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Leicester | News | Comments

Archaeologists have unearthed a hoard of rare bronze fittings from a 2nd or 3rd century BC chariot that appears to have been buried as a religious offering. The pieces appear to have been gathered in a box, before being planted in the ground upon a layer of cereal chaff and burnt as part of a religious ritual.

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