Most detailed every study into how animals evolve to better suit their environments shows that pterosaurs become more efficient at flying over millions of years before going extinct with the dinosaurs.
Chemists studying how life started often focus on biopolymers like peptides and nucleic acids, but modern biopolymers don't form easily without help from living organisms. A possible solution to this paradox is that life started using different components, and many non-biological chemicals were likely abundant in the environment. A new survey of a diverse set of such compounds under primitive environmental conditions found many of these easily formed polymers and some spontaneously formed cell-like structures.
Some of the largest birds in history, called pelagornithids, arose a few million years after the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and patrolled the oceans with giant wingspans for some 60 million years. A team of paleontologists has found two fossils -- each from individual pelagornithids with wingspans of 20 feet or more -- that show this gigantism arose at least 50 million years ago and lasted at least 10 million years.
Biodiversity loss is continuing relentlessly worldwide. In order to counteract this, precise monitoring programmes are needed. But too often, these are inadequate - with an insufficient range of species examined and too little coordination. A team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) describes, in an article for the scientific journal One Earth how different stakeholders can combine their data and expertise to improve monitoring and thus counteract further species loss.
Big tidal ranges some 400 million years ago may have initiated the evolution of bony fish and land vertebrates. This theory is now supported by researchers in the UK and at Uppsala University who, for the first time, have used established mathematical models to simulate tides on Earth during this period. The study has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Butterflies have long captured our attention due to their amazing color diversity. But why are they so colorful? A new publication led by researchers from Sweden and Germany suggests that female influence butterfly color diversity by mating with colorful males.
In a study published Oct. 27 in the journal Cell Reports, Yale scientists show how epigenetic mechanisms contribute in real time to the evolution of a gene network in yeast. Specifically, through multiple generations yeast cells were found to pass on changes in gene activity induced by researchers.
Since COVID-19 began its menacing march across Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and then across the world, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has taken a 'whatever works' strategy to ensure its replication and spread. But in a new study published in Evolutionary Bioinformatics, University of Illinois researchers and students show the virus is honing the tactics that may make it more successful and more stable.
By integrating machine-learning technology with high-resolution imaging, scientists are improving the taxonomic resolution of fossil pollen identifications and greatly enhancing the use of pollen data in ecological and evolutionary research.
By analyzing duplicates of thousands of genes, researchers have reconstructed the evolutionary events leading to the creation of eukaryotic cells, the precursors to virtually all life you can see with the naked eye. The evolutionary timeline from simple bacterial cells to complex eukaryotic cells progressed differently than previously thought. The study, a collaboration between the Comparative Genomics lab at IRB Barcelona and the University of Utrecht, has been published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.