Evolution News

Science Daily

Seed ferns: Plants experimented with complex leaf vein networks 201 million years ago
Tue, 16 Apr 2024 11:59:52 EDT
According to a research team led by palaeontologists, the net-like leaf veining typical for today's flowering plants developed much earlier than previously thought, but died out again several times. Using new methods, the fossilized plant Furcula granulifer was identified as such an early forerunner. The leaves of this seed fern species already exhibited the net-like veining in the late Triassic (around 201 million years ago).

Evolution's recipe book: How 'copy paste' errors cooked up the animal kingdom
Mon, 15 Apr 2024 11:05:53 EDT
A series of whole genome and gene duplication events that go back hundreds of millions of years have laid the foundations for tissue-specific gene expression, according to a new study. The 'copy-paste' errors allowed animals to keep one copy of their genome or genes for fundamental functions, while the second copy could be used as raw material for evolutionary innovation. Events like these, at varying degrees of scale, occurred constantly throughout the bilaterian evolutionary tree and enabled traits and behaviours as diverse as insect flight, octopus camouflage and human cognition.

How seaweed became multicellular
Fri, 12 Apr 2024 11:34:41 EDT
A deep dive into macroalgae genetics has uncovered the genetic underpinnings that enabled macroalgae, or 'seaweed,' to evolve multicellularity. Three lineages of macroalgae developed multicellularity independently and during very different time periods by acquiring genes that enable cell adhesion, extracellular matrix formation, and cell differentiation, researchers report. Surprisingly, many of these multicellular-enabling genes had viral origins. The study, which increased the total number of sequenced macroalgal genomes from 14 to 124, is the first to investigate macroalgal evolution through the lens of genomics.

Geobiology: New placozoan habitat discovered
Thu, 11 Apr 2024 13:01:14 EDT
Traces of DNA in the stomachs of predatory snails give a team og geobiologists new insights into the ecology of placozoans.

3D mouth of an ancient jawless fish suggests they were filter-feeders, not scavengers or hunters
Wed, 10 Apr 2024 11:27:36 EDT
Early jawless fish were likely to have used bony projections surrounding their mouths to modify the mouth's shape while they collected food. Experts have used CT scanning techniques to build up the first 3D pictures of these creatures, which are some of the earliest vertebrates (animals with backbones) in which the mouth is fossilized. Their aim was to answer questions about feeding in early vertebrates without jaws in the early Devonian epoch -- sometimes called the Age of Fishes -- around 400 million years ago.