Current Evolutionary Anthropology News and Events

Current Evolutionary Anthropology News and Events, Evolutionary Anthropology News Articles.
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Rapid evolution may help species adapt to climate change and competition
A study shows that a fruit fly species can adapt rapidly to an invader and this evolutionary change can affect how they deal with a stressful climate. Over a few months, the naturalized species adapted to the invasive species' presence. This affected how the flies adapted to cold weather. The flies exposed to invasive species evolved in the fall to be larger, lay fewer eggs and develop faster than flies that hadn't been exposed. (2021-02-22)

Genomic insights into the origin of pre-historic populations in East Asia
East Asia today harbours more than a fifth of the world's population and some of the most deeply branching modern human lineages outside of Africa. However, its genetic diversity and deep population history remain poorly understood relative to many other parts of the world. In a new study, a team of international researchers analyzes genome-wide data for 166 ancient individuals spanning 8,000 years and 46 present-day groups, and provides insights into the formation of East Asian populations. (2021-02-22)

The distribution of vertebrate animals redefines temperate and cold climate regions
The distribution of vegetation is routinely used to classify climate regions worldwide, yet whether these regions are relevant to other organisms is unknown. UmeƄ researchers have established climate regions based on vertebrate species' distributions in a new study published in eLife. They found that while high-energy climate regions are similar across vertebrate and plant groups, there are large differences in temperate and cold climates. (2021-02-18)

Wolves, dogs and dingoes, oh my
Dogs are generally considered the first domesticated animal, while its ancestor is generally considered to be the wolf, but where the Australian dingo fits into this framework is still debated, according to a retired Penn State anthropologist. (2021-02-17)

Evolution's game of rock-paper-scissors
A group of scientists at Lehigh University led by Gregory Lang, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has recently provided empirical evidence that evolution can be nontransitive. Lang and his team identify a nontransitive evolutionary sequence through a 1,000-generation yeast evolution experiment. In the experiment, an evolved clone outcompetes a recent ancestor but loses in direct competition with a distant ancestor. (2021-02-16)

A glimpse into the formation of mitoribosome
SciLifeLab Fellow Alexey Amunts and his team together with researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences report an assembly intermediate of the ribosome in mitochondria. It reveals 22 associated factors that cooperatively organize the biogenesis process. (2021-02-16)

Neandertal gene variants both increase and decrease the risk for severe COVID-19
Last year, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany showed that a major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neandertals. Now the same researchers show, in a study published in PNAS, that Neandertals also contributed a protective variant. Half of all people outside Africa carry a Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of needing intensive care for COVID-19 by 20 percent. (2021-02-16)

Neandertal genes alter neurodevelopment in modern human brain organoids
Building modern human brain organoids with the Neanderthal variant of a gene has provided a glimpse into the way substitutions in this gene impacted our species' evolution. (2021-02-11)

Why overfishing leads to smaller cod
Overfishing, hunting and intensive agriculture and forestry can sometimes contribute to plants and animals becoming endangered. New research from Lund University in Sweden and University of Toronto can now show why this leads to entire populations becoming smaller in size, as well as reproducing earlier. The study is published in the journal PNAS. (2021-02-10)

UMass Amherst researchers gain insight into the biology of a deadly fungus
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have gained new insight into the biological processes of a chytrid fungus responsible for a deadly skin infection devastating frog populations worldwide. (2021-02-08)

Some types of coronavirus steal the hosts' genes to elude their immune system
Researchers discovered this while analysing pathogens found in European hedgehogs that present the same strain of Beta-CoV responsible for both COVID-19 and MERS but without evidence of human transmissibility. It is the first time this ability is observed in coronaviruses (2021-02-08)

Scientists discover how a group of caterpillars became poisonous
The Atala butterfly and its five closest relatives in the genus Eumaeus like to display their toxicity. Their toxicity comes from what they eat as caterpillars: plants called cycads that have been around since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth and contain a potent liver toxin. New research tells the evolutionary tale of how these butterflies gained their toxin-laced defenses as well as the bold colors and behaviors that tell all would-be predators to steer clear. (2021-02-08)

Pangolin coronavirus could jump to humans
Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have found important structural similarities between SARS-CoV-2 and a pangolin coronavirus. (2021-02-05)

Marmoset monkeys eavesdrop and understand conversations between other marmosets
Marmoset monkeys perceive the vocal interactions between their conspecifics not just as a string of calls, but as coherent conversations. They also evaluate their content. These are the findings of a study by researchers at the University of Zurich which combined thermography methods with behavioral preference measures. (2021-02-03)

The underestimated mutation potential of retrogenes
mRNA molecules from retrogenes are reverse transcribed to DNA and incorporated into the genome. (2021-02-02)

Pollinator host-switches and fig hybridization dominate fig-wasp coevolution
Together with colleagues from 11 institutions from home and abroad, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have recently shown that the fig hybridization mediated by pollinator host-switching in the obligate fig-wasp pollination system is more common than previously thought. (2021-02-02)

Territorial, expert navigators: The black howler monkeys of Mexico
New research published this week in the journal Animal Behaviour reveals the advanced navigation and memory skills of black howler monkeys. (2021-01-29)

Gender and spatial behavior
Research based on the daily movements of people living in a contemporary hunter-gatherer society provides new evidence for links between the gendered division of labor in human societies over the past 2.5 million years and differences in the way men and women think about space. (2021-01-28)

Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans
A cross-cultural analysis found several factors may have played a role in building the relationship between humans and dogs, including temperature, hunting and surprisingly - gender. The analysis used ethnographic information from 144 traditional, subsistence-level societies from all over the globe. People were more likely to regard dogs as a type of person if the dogs had a special relationship with women--such as having names and being treated as family. (2021-01-25)

Stimulating brain pathways shows origins of human language and memory
Scientists have identified that the evolutionary development of human and primate brains may have been similar for communication and memory. (2021-01-25)

Chimpanzee friends fight together to battle rivals
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. (2021-01-22)

Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation
A new study highlights the progress our machines have made in replicating evolutionary processes and what this could mean for engineering design, software refinement, gaming strategy, robotics and even medicine, while fostering a deeper insight into foundational issues in biological evolution. (2021-01-18)

What the lungfishes' genome teaches us about the vertebrates' conquest of land
The genome of the Australian lungfish is the largest sequenced animal genome and helps us to better understand the conquest of land by vertebrates - study led by evolutionary biologists from the University of Konstanz (2021-01-18)

Changing diets -- not less physical activity -- may best explain childhood obesity crisis
Variation in consumption of market-acquired foods outside of the traditional diet -- but not in total calories burned daily -- is reliably related to indigenous Amazonian children's body fat, according to a Baylor University study that offers insight into the global obesity epidemic. (2021-01-17)

WSU scientists identify contents of ancient Maya drug containers
Scientists have identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time. The researchers detected Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida) in residues taken from 14 miniature Maya ceramic vessels. The vessels also contain chemical traces present in two types of dried and cured tobacco. (2021-01-15)

CCNY's David Lohman finds Asian butterfly mimics different species as defense mechanism
Many animal and insect species use Batesian mimicry - mimicking a poisonous species - as a defense against predators. The common palmfly, Elymnias hypermnestra (a species of satyrine butterfly), which is found throughout wide areas of tropical and subtropical Asia, adds a twist to this evolutionary strategy: the females evolved two distinct forms, either orange or dark brown, imitating two separate poisonous model species, Danaus or Euploea. (2021-01-14)

The dire wolf was a distinct species, different from the gray wolf, biologists discover
The iconic, prehistoric dire wolf, which prowled through the Americas over 11 millennia ago, was a distinct species from the smaller gray wolf, an international team of scientists reports today in the journal Nature. The study, which puts to bed a mystery that biologists have pondered for more than 100 years, was led by researchers from UCLA, along with colleagues from Durham University in the UK, Australia's Adelaide University and Germany's Ludwig Maximilian University. (2021-01-13)

Asian butterfly mimics other species to defend against predators
Many animal and insect species use Batesian mimicry -- mimicking a poisonous species -- as a defense against predators. The common palmfly Elymnias hypermnestra -- a species of satyrine butterfly that is found throughout wide areas of tropical and subtropical Asia -- adds a twist to this evolutionary strategy. (2021-01-13)

Research explains why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs
New research by scientists at the University of Bristol explains how a 'stop-start' pattern of evolution, governed by environmental change, could explain why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs. (2021-01-07)

New mammal reference genome helps ID genetic variants for human health
A new reference genome assembly identified more than 85 million genetic variants in the rhesus macaque, the largest database of genetic variation for any one nonhuman primate species to date. (2020-12-23)

Ancient DNA sheds light on the peopling of the Mariana Islands
Compared to the first peopling of Polynesia, the settlement of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, which happened around 3,500 years ago, has received little attention. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Australian National University and the University of Guam have now obtained answers to long debated questions regarding the origin of the first colonizers of the Marianas and their relationship to the people who initially settled in Polynesia. (2020-12-22)

Evolution of a killer: How African Salmonella made the leap from gut to bloodstream
University of Liverpool scientists have exploited the combined power of genomics and epidemiology to understand how a type of Salmonella bacteria evolved to kill hundreds of thousands of immunocompromised people in Africa. (2020-12-21)

Pregnant women whose exercise routines disrupted by COVID-19 show higher depression scores
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life, including many people's ability to exercise, which can boost mood, reduce stress and benefit one's physical and mental health. A Dartmouth study finds that pregnant women whose exercise routines were impacted by the pandemic have higher depression scores than those who have continued to exercise as usual. The study, whose findings are published in PLOS ONE, is among the first to examine the links between COVID-19, exercise changes and prenatal depression. (2020-12-21)

Scientists solve 'flea mystery'
Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) and the University of Bristol in the UK solved the 'Flea Mystery.' (2020-12-20)

Genetic exchange discovered in anciently asexual rotifers
Skoltech's evolutionary biologists discovered recombination in bdelloid rotifers, microscopic freshwater invertebrates, which have long been regarded as 'an evolutionary scandal' due to their presumed ancient asexuality. The existence of such anciently asexual groups calls into question the hypothesis that sexual reproduction is indispensable for long-term evolutionary success of species. However, the recent study published in Nature Communications provides evidence of recombination and genetic exchange in bdelloids. (2020-12-18)

Babbler bird falls into climate change trap
Animals can fall into an 'ecological trap' by altering their behavior in the 'wrong direction' in response to climate change, researchers say. (2020-12-16)

Whole genomes map pathways of chimpanzee and bonobo divergence
Chimpanzees and bonobos are sister species that diverged around 1.8 million years ago as the Congo River formed a geographic boundary and they evolved in separate environments. Now, a whole-genome comparison of bonobos and chimpanzees reveals the gene pathways associated with the striking differences between the two species' diets, sociality and sexual behaviors. (2020-12-16)

Creating a ground plan for stonefly evolution
A team led by the University of Tsukuba microscopically examined the eggs of stoneflies to identify ground plan features and shed light on the evolutionary history of the order. By identifying ancestral and derived features, the researchers reconstructed the evolution of egg structures, and confirmed that establishing an embryonic ground plan can provide unique insights into the evolution of the group. (2020-12-15)

Primitive fish fossils reveal developmental origins of teeth
Teeth and hard structures called dermal odontodes are evolutionarily related, arising from the same developmental system, a new study published today in eLife shows. (2020-12-15)

Kernels of history
Earlier this year Douglas J. Kennett, a UC Santa Barbara professor of anthropology, demonstrated that maize, or corn, became a staple crop in the Americas 4,700 years ago. It turns out he was just beginning to tell the story of the world's biggest grain crop. (2020-12-15)

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