Category Archives: Evolution

Do we need a new theory of evolution?

Stephen Buranyi writes: Strange as it sounds, scientists still do not know the answers to some of the most basic questions about how life on Earth evolved. Take eyes, for instance. Where do they come from, exactly? The usual explanation of how we got these stupendously complex organs rests upon the theory of natural selection.… Read More »

Brain-signal proteins evolved before animals did

Viviane Callier writes: Our human brains can seem like a crowning achievement of evolution, but the roots of that achievement run deep: The modern brain arose from hundreds of millions of years of incremental advances in complexity. Evolutionary biologists have traced that progress back through the branch of the animal family tree that includes all… Read More »

Chimpanzees combine calls to form numerous vocal sequences

Science Daily reports: Humans are the only species on earth known to use language. We do this by combining sounds to form words and words to form hierarchically structured sentences. The question, where this extraordinary capacity originates from, still remains to be answered. In order to retrace the evolutionary origins of human language, researchers often… Read More »

Wild animals are evolving faster than anybody thought

Shutterstock By Timothée Bonnet, Australian National University How fast is evolution? In adaptive evolution, natural selection causes genetic changes in traits that favour the survival and reproduction of individual organisms. Although Charles Darwin thought the process occurred over geological timescales, we have seen examples of dramatic adaptive evolution over only a handful of generations. The… Read More »

Ancient genes for symbiosis hint at mitochondria’s origins

Veronique Greenwood writes: Once, long ago, the only players in the grand drama of life, predation and death were invisibly small and simple cells. Archaea and bacteria jigged and whirled through seas and ponds, assembled themselves into fortresses a few microns wide, and devoured films of organic matter. Then some of them began to change,… Read More »

Even worms feel pain

David P. Barash writes: Who feels more pain, a person or a cat? A cat or a cockroach? It’s widely assumed animal intelligence and the capacity to feel pain are positively correlated, with brainier animals more likely to feel pain, and vice versa. But what if our intuition is wrong and the opposite is true?… Read More »

Peptides on stardust may have provided a shortcut to life

Yasemin Saplakoglu writes: Billions of years ago, some unknown location on the sterile, primordial Earth became a cauldron of complex organic molecules from which the first cells emerged. Origin-of-life researchers have proposed countless imaginative ideas about how that occurred and where the necessary raw ingredients came from. Some of the most difficult to account for… Read More »