525-million-year-old fossil defies textbook explanation for brain evolution
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 13:21:37 EST
According to a new study, fossils of a tiny sea creature with a delicately preserved nervous system solve a century-old debate over how the brain evolved in arthropods, the most species-rich group in the animal kingdom. Combining detailed anatomical studies of the fossilized nervous system with analyses of gene expression patterns in living descendants, they conclude that a shared blueprint of brain organization has been maintained from the Cambrian until today.
Human evolution wasn't just the sheet music, but how it was played
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:42:49 EST
A team of researchers has identified a group of human DNA sequences driving changes in brain development, digestion and immunity that seem to have evolved rapidly after our family line split from that of the chimpanzees, but before we split with the Neanderthals.
A Tale of Terroir: Porcini mushrooms have evolved with a preference to local adaptation
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 18:42:47 EST
A genetic survey of porcini mushrooms across the Northern Hemisphere found that these delicious fungi evolved in surprising ways -- contrary to the expectations of many who think that geographic isolation would be the primary driver for species diversity. In fact, there are regions in the world where porcini maintain their genetic distinctiveness in local ecological niches, even if they are not isolated geographically from other genetic lineages.
Groundbreaking insights into the evolution of color patterns in frogs and toads
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 18:42:05 EST
A team of researchers has discovered new insights into the evolution of color patterns in frogs and toads -- collectively known as anurans. Animal color patterns can help them camouflage with their surroundings and avoid detection from preys or predators. Many anurans have a light stripe along their back, which, when observed from above, creates the optical illusion that the animal is split in two halves and confuses visually-oriented predators. Although this color pattern is widespread in frogs around the world, little is known regarding its evolution or genetic origin.
Welsh 'weird wonder' fossils add piece to puzzle of arthropod evolution
Tue, 15 Nov 2022 11:39:57 EST
International team of researchers describe new fossil species discovered in fossil deposit near Llandrindod Wells in mid-Wales. The fossil, Mierridduryn bonniae, shares many features with Cambrian 'weird wonder' Opabinia, but is 40 million years younger. Robust phylogenetic analyses suggest that Mierridduryn is either the third opabiniid ever discovered, or is a distinct group that is key for understanding the evolution of the arthropod head.