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Charles Darwin

Three waves of evolutionary innovation shaped diversity of vertebrates, genome analysis reveals

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1000pa (Aug. 18, 2011) — Over the past 530 million years, the vertebrate lineage branched out from a primitive jawless fish wriggling through Cambrian seas to encompass all the diverse forms of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Now researchers combing through the DNA sequences of vertebrate genomes have identified three distinct periods of evolutionary innovation that accompanied this remarkable diversification.

The study, led...

1000pa (Aug. 18, 2011) — Over the past 530 million years, the vertebrate lineage branched out from a primitive jawless fish wriggling through Cambrian seas to encompass all the diverse forms of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Now researchers combing through the DNA sequences of...

Getting inside the mind (and up the nose) of our ancient ancestors

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1000pa (Aug. 17, 2011) — Reorganisation of the brain and sense organs could be the key to the evolutionary success of vertebrates, one of the great puzzles in evolutionary biology, according to a paper by an international team of researchers, published August 17 in Nature.

The study claims to have solved this scientific riddle by studying the brain of a 400 million year old fossilized jawless fish -- an evolutionary intermediate between the...

1000pa (Aug. 17, 2011) — Reorganisation of...

Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit: Tools of paleontology shed new light on diversity of natural plant chemicals

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1000pa (Aug. 16, 2011) — In the first study of its kind, researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals. They have shown that during the evolution of these compounds nature doesn't settle for the 'low-hanging fruit' but favours rarer, harder to synthesise forms, giving pointers that will help in the search for potent new drugs.

Research on the fossil record has allowed the...

1000pa (Aug. 16, 2011) — In the first study of its...

Study builds on plausible scenario for origin of life on Earth

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1000pa (Aug. 10, 2011) — A relatively simple combination of naturally occurring sugars and amino acids offers a plausible route to the building blocks of life, according to a paper published in Nature Chemistry.

The study shows how the precursors to RNA could have formed on Earth before any life existed. It was authored by Jason E. Hein, Eric Tse and Donna G. Blackmond, a team of researchers with the Scripps Research Institute. Hein is now...

1000pa (Aug. 10, 2011) — A relatively simple...

Northern humans had bigger brains, to cope with the low light levels

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1000pa (Aug. 4, 2011) — The farther that human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains, according to a new study by Oxford University. But it turns out that this is not because they are smarter, but because they need bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels experienced at high latitudes.

Scientists have found that people living in countries with dull, grey, cloudy skies and long winters have...

1000pa (Aug. 4, 2011) — The farther that human...

Northern humans had bigger brains, to cope with the low light levels, study finds

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1000pa (Aug. 5, 2011) — The farther that human populations live from the equator, the bigger their brains, according to a new study by Oxford University. But it turns out that this is not because they are smarter, but because they need bigger vision areas in the brain to cope with the low light levels experienced at high latitudes.

Scientists have found that people living in countries with dull, grey, cloudy skies and long winters have...

1000pa (Aug. 5, 2011) — The farther that human...

Females can place limits on evolution of attractive features in males, research shows

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1000pa (Aug. 4, 2011) — Female cognitive ability can limit how melodious or handsome males become over evolutionary time, biologists from The University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have observed.

Males across the animal world have evolved elaborate traits to attract females, from huge peacock tails to complex bird songs and frog calls. But what keeps...

1000pa (Aug. 4, 2011) — Female cognitive...

Newly discovered gene sheds light on the evolution of life on Earth

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1000pa (July 26, 2011) — A chance discovery of a genetic mutation in wild barley that grows in Israel's Judean Desert, in the course of a doctoral study at the University of Haifa, has led to an international study deciphering evolution of life on land. The study has been published in the journal PNAS.

"Life on Earth began in the water, and in order for plants to rise above water to live on land, they had to develop a cuticle membrane that...

1000pa (July 26, 2011) — A chance discovery of...

Butterfly study sheds light on convergent evolution: Single gene controls mimicry across different species

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1000pa (July 22, 2011) — For 150 years scientists have been trying to explain convergent evolution. One of the best-known examples of this is how poisonous butterflies from different species evolve to mimic each other's color patterns -- in effect joining forces to warn predators, "Don't eat us," while spreading the cost of this lesson.

Now an international team of researchers led by Robert Reed, UC Irvine assistant professor of ecology...

1000pa (July 22, 2011) — For 150 years scientists...

Mysterious fossils provide new clues to insect evolution

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1000pa (July 19, 2011) — Scientists at the Stuttgart Natural History Museum and colleagues have discovered a new insect order from the Lower Cretaceous of South America. The spectacular fossils were named Coxoplectoptera by their discoverers and their findings were published in a special issue on Cretaceous Insects in the scientific journal Insect Systematics & Evolution.

The work group led by Dr. Arnold H. Staniczek and Dr. Günter...

1000pa (July 19, 2011) — Scientists at the...

Genetic switch for limbs and digits found in primitive fish: Before animals first walked on land, fish carried gene program for limbs

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1000pa (July 11, 2011) — Genetic instructions for developing limbs and digits were present in primitive fish millions of years before their descendants first crawled on to land, researchers have discovered.

Genetic switches control the timing and location of gene activity. When a particular switch taken from fish DNA is placed into mouse embryos, the segment can activate genes in the developing limb region of embryos, University of Chicago...

1000pa (July 11, 2011) — Genetic instructions...

Evolution and domestication of seed structure shown to use same genetic mutation

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1000pa (July 7, 2011) — For the first time, scientists have identified a mutation in plants that was selected twice -- during both natural evolution and domestication.

The mutation has been identified as the source of variation in the evolution of fruit morphology in Brassica plants and it was also the source of key changes during the domestication of rice.

"We have shown that the genetic source of both natural and human-made changes was the...

1000pa (July 7, 2011) — For the first time...

Salamanders spell out evolution in action

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1000pa (July 11, 2011) — Lungless salamanders (Ensatina eschscholtzii) live in a horseshoe-shape region in California (a 'ring') which circles around the central valley. The species is an example of evolution in action because, while neighboring populations may be able to breed, the two populations at the ends of the arms of the horseshoe are effectively unable to reproduce.

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC...

1000pa (July 11, 2011) — Lungless salamanders...

Environs prompt advantageous gene mutations as plants grow; changes passed to progeny

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1000pa (July 5, 2011) — If a person were to climb a towering redwood and take a sample from the top and a sample from the bottom of the tree, a comparison would show that the two DNA samples are different.

Christopher A. Cullis, chair of biology at Case Western Reserve University, explains that this is the basis of his controversial research findings.

Cullis, who has spent over 40 years studying mutations within plants, most recently flax (Li...

1000pa (July 5, 2011) — If a person were...

New theory on origin of birds: Enlarged skeletal muscles

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1000pa (July 2, 2011) — A developmental biologist at New York Medical College is proposing a new theory of the origin of birds, which traditionally has been thought to be driven by the evolution of flight. Instead, Stuart A. Newman, Ph.D., credits the emergence of enlarged skeletal muscles as the basis for their upright two-leggedness, which led to the opportunity for other adaptive changes like flying or swimming. And it is all based on...

1000pa (July 2, 2011) — A developmental biologist...

Evolution to the rescue: Species may adapt quickly to rapid environmental change, yeast study shows

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1000pa (June 23, 2011) — Evolution is usually thought to be a very slow process, something that happens over many generations, thanks to adaptive mutations. But environmental change due to things like climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, etc. is happening very fast. There are just two options for species of all kinds: either adapt to environmental change or become extinct.

So, according to McGill biology professor, Andrew...

1000pa (June 23, 2011) — Evolution is usually thought...

Life-history traits of extinct species may be discoverable, large-scale DNA sequencing data suggest

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1000pa (June 14, 2011) — For the first time, scientists have used large-scale DNA sequencing data to investigate a long-standing evolutionary assumption: DNA mutation rates are influenced by a set of species-specific life-history traits. These traits include metabolic rate and the interval of time between an individual's birth and the birth of its offspring, known as generation time.

The team of researchers led by Kateryna Makova, a Penn...

1000pa (June 14, 2011) — For the first time...

Sodium channels evolved before animals' nervous systems

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1000pa (May 18, 2011) — An essential component of animal nervous systems -- sodium channels -- evolved prior to the evolution of those systems, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have discovered.

"The first nervous systems appeared in jellyfish-like animals six hundred million years ago or so," says Harold Zakon, professor of neurobiology, "and it was thought that sodium channels evolved around that time. We have now...

1000pa (May 18, 2011) — An essential component of...

Tiny variation in one gene may have led to crucial changes in human brain

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1000pa (May 16, 2011) — The human brain has yet to explain the origin of one its defining features -- the deep fissures and convolutions that increase its surface area and allow for rational and abstract thoughts.

An international collaboration of scientists from the Yale School of Medicine and Turkey may have discovered humanity's beneficiary -- a tiny variation within a single gene that determines the formation of brain convolutions --...

1000pa (May 16, 2011) — The human brain has yet...

Evolutionary adaptations can be reversed, but rarely

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1000pa (May 16, 2011) — Physicists' study of evolution in bacteria shows that adaptations can be undone, but rarely. Ever since Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution in 1859, scientists have wondered whether evolutionary adaptations can be reversed. Answering that question has proved difficult, partly due to conflicting evidence. In 2003, scientists showed that some species of insects have gained, lost and regained wings over...

1000pa (May 16, 2011) — Physicists' study of...

Sticking their necks out for evolution: Why sloths and manatees have unusually long (or short) necks

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1000pa (May 6, 2011) — As a rule all mammals have the same number of vertebrae in their necks regardless of whether they are a giraffe, a mouse, or a human. But both sloths and manatees are exceptions to this rule having abnormal numbers of cervical vertebrae. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal EvoDevo shows how such different species have evolved their unusual necks.

Birds, reptiles and amphibians have varying...

1000pa (May 6, 2011) — As a rule all mammals...

First Bird

First Bird
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Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...