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With Great Ape Discovery, a Possible Evolutionary Bombshell

Study suggests Europe was a hotbed for great ape evolution, and possible cradle of humanity

(Newser) - For the first time, researchers have found evidence that two distinct species of great apes coexisted outside of Africa many millions of years ago. It's an important, though contested, discovery that suggests European ecosystems in the Miocene Epoch, from about 23 million to 5 million years ago, "enabled,...

Why Don't We Have Tails? Scientists Find a Clue
Why Don't
We Have Tails?
Scientists Have
an Answer
new study

Why Don't We Have Tails? Scientists Have an Answer

They pinpoint a DNA insertion in a gene that may have been a big factor

(Newser) - Our very ancient animal ancestors had tails. Why don't we? Somewhere around 20 million or 25 million years ago, when apes diverged from monkeys, our branch of the tree of life shed its tail. From Darwin's time, scientists have wondered why—and how—this happened. And as an...

ADHD May Have Been Evolutionary Advantage
ADHD May Have Been
Evolutionary Advantage

ADHD May Have Been Evolutionary Advantage

Study involving online berry-picking suggests ADHD is 'adaptive specialization for foraging'

(Newser) - Traits associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can include difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Though such traits are often viewed negatively, it really depends on the environment. Research has backed the "evolutionary mismatch" theory that argues traits of neurodivergence, though perhaps disadvantageous in our hyperstimulated modern world, provided an evolutionary...

Female Animals Grow Bigger Brains, Males Bigger Antlers

Scientists aren't quite sure why, but they have some theories

(Newser) - While it's hard to overlook the giant antlers and horns that animals like moose and rams wave around, researchers recently made a fascinating discovery by checking out what's going on with their un-horned, female counterparts. National Geographic dives into the study, which examined over 400 specimens of ungulates...

Reindeer Eyes Change Color When It's Cold
Reindeer Eyes Change
Color When It's Cold
new study

Reindeer Eyes Change Color When It's Cold

Study suggests it's to help them find their favorite food in the dark

(Newser) - Forget the red, shiny nose—reindeer have a more fascinating story to tell through their blue-shining eyes. The reindeer are unique in that their eyes change color depending on the season, from a golden reflective hue in warmer months to a blue one in winter, per the Washington Post . Now,...

Chimps, Bonobos Recognize Friends After 25 Years Apart
It's the 'Longest-Lasting
Nonhuman Memory'

It's the 'Longest-Lasting Nonhuman Memory'

Chimps, bonobos appear to recognize ex-groupmates after decades apart

(Newser) - Long-term memory goes back a long, long time: perhaps some 7 million years, according to new research on humans' closest living relatives. Researchers led by Laura Simone Lewis, a comparative psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, showed 26 bonobos and chimpanzees side-by-side images of strangers and former groupmates, including...

Cat-Sized Koala Could Be Marsupials' Missing Link
There Was No Record
of Koalas Here. Until Now

There Was No Record of Koalas Here. Until Now

Cat-sized 'Lumakoala' could be marsupials' missing link in Australia's Northern Territory

(Newser) - The modern koala is a well-known and well-loved marsupial, but researchers know surprisingly little about its evolution. Indeed, they describe an "approximately 30-million-year-gap" in the fossil record of Australian marsupials, or diprotodontians, a group including kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats. That gap may be closing, however. Researchers say they've...

These Sea Mammals Can Never Live on Land Again
These Sea Mammals
Can Never Live on Land Again
New Study

These Sea Mammals Can Never Live on Land Again

New study is good news for anyone fearing the orcas are coming for their cars, too

(Newser) - Anyone surprised by recent news of orcas attacking boats might be relieved to know that scientists have determined these massive mammals have evolved to the point where they can never migrate back to land. The same applies to all whales and dolphins, and, in fact, all "fully aquatic" mammals,...

Urban Lizards Show 'Evolution as It's Unfolding'
Urban Lizards
Show 'Evolution
as It's Unfolding'

Urban Lizards Show 'Evolution as It's Unfolding'

'Anolis cristatellus' evolved to cling to windows and walls over 30 to 80 generations: study

(Newser) - Lizards that once dwelled in forests but now slink around urban areas have genetically morphed to survive life in the city, researchers have found, per the AP . The Puerto Rican crested anole, a brown lizard with a bright orange throat fan, has sprouted special scales to better cling to smooth...

This Could Change Theory on the Origin of Humankind

Australopithecus africanus fossils in South Africa are a million years older than we thought

(Newser) - The earliest species of human is thought to have evolved from East Africa based on fossil findings, including that of the famous Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis who lived in what is now Ethiopia some 3.2 million years ago. But that theory might now be shifting thanks to new findings...

Researchers Solve a Mystery About How Boas Breathe
Now We Know Why Boa
Constrictors Don't Suffocate
new study

Now We Know Why Boa Constrictors Don't Suffocate

They can shift their breathing to different areas of their body while eating

(Newser) - Scientists and snake fans have long wondered how exactly boas and other constrictors can ingest massive prey without suffocating. Biomechanics researcher John Capano of Brown University found the answer somewhere in the 200-plus pairs of ribs that run the length of a boa’s body, reports NPR News. In new...

GOP Senate Candidate Has Some Thoughts on Evolution

'Why are there still apes?' asks Herschel Walker

(Newser) - More controversy for Senate candidate Herschel Walker: The candidate, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Georgia, is taking flak over comments he made questioning the theory of evolution, NPR reports. "At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not?" Walker told pastor Chuck Allen at...

Humans Are 'Literally Changing the Anatomy' of Elephants

Genetic mutation passes from tuskless females ignored by poachers in Mozambique

(Newser) - Human behavior is "literally changing the anatomy of animals," according to the author of a new study that finds decades of ivory poaching in Mozambique has encouraged the evolution of elephants without tusks . What was once a rare genetic mutation causing tusklessness in female elephants at Mozambique's...

They Ran Out of Big Game to Hunt. Then Their Brains Swelled

Researchers say shift to hunting smaller game caused early humans' brains to nearly triple in size

(Newser) - In hunting large mammals to near extinction, early modern humans may have prompted an explosion in brain size—in a good way. Humans emerged as big-game hunters in Africa 2.6 million years ago but would ultimately see large animals dwindle as a result of hunting practices, according to Miki...

Study of Dire Wolf DNA Has Surprising Results

They're 'not related closely in any way' to gray wolves

(Newser) - Biologists have long observed that a nature has a tendency to evolve things into crabs . It also appears to like making wolves. Scientists say they were very surprised when an analysis of the genome of the dire wolf, a North American predator that went extinct around 11,000 years ago,...

You Might Have an Extra Artery in Your Arm
Fast-Evolving Human Trait:
An Extra Artery in Our Arms
in case you missed it

Fast-Evolving Human Trait: An Extra Artery in Our Arms

Researchers say having 3 is becoming more common

(Newser) - A study out of Australia suggests that textbooks on human anatomy will have to reflect a fundamental change by the end of this century: Most of us will have three blood vessels running down our arm, instead of two. Researchers studying adult cadavers report a sharp increase in this third...

Fossil of 4-Legged Whale Found in Peru

Scientists believe it swam like an otter

(Newser) - What's 13 feet long and has webbed feet with small hooves? It's a whale, according to researchers examining a 42.6-million-year-old fossil found near Peru's Pacific coast. The four-legged early whale, which could apparently move on land as well as in the sea, is the most complete...

A New Study Just Rewrote the History Book on Plants

Study suggests they appeared 500M years ago, or 100M years earlier than believed

(Newser) - The arrival of plants on Earth changed the planet and its inhabitants in big ways, and a new study suggests they arrived far earlier than thought. University of Bristol researchers now say that land plants evolved from pond scum about 500 million years ago—a whopping 100 million years earlier...

How the Tiger Snake's Venom Beat Evolution

Australian tiger snake venom hasn't changed in 10M years

(Newser) - With its exceedingly deadly venom unchanged over the past 10 million years, the Australian tiger snake has essentially defeated evolution. Researcher Bryan Fry says in a press release it's "really unusual" for venom to remain unchanged over such a long period of time. Typically, predators and prey evolve...

'Frankenstein' Dinosaur Transforms Evolutionary Tree

Chilesaurus bridges two major dino groups, scientists say

(Newser) - Like the theropod dinosaur T. rex, Chilesaurus stood upright, with strong hind legs and shorter front limbs. But its flat teeth were more closely related to ornithischians like triceratops and stegosaurus. That's just one thing that irked scientists when Chilesaurus was named a theropod following its discovery in Chile...

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