Archive | Evolution

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How generosity leads to evolutionary success

New insights into the classical game theory match-up known as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” might help explain the presence of generosity in nature, an inclination that can sometimes seem counter to the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest. Biologists have long been puzzled about why there is so much apparent cooperation, generosity, and altruism, in […]

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Baits failing as cockroaches adapt to dislike sugar




Sugar is losing its attraction for roaches and making baits less effective, say scientists who have been investigating the genetic adaptations that are causing cockroaches to increasingly reject glucose. In a study in the journal Science, North Carolina State University entomologists say the aversion has a genetic basis and it eventually spreads to offspring, resulting […]




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Computer scientists mull origins of evolvability




Over time, organisms appear to become increasingly capable of evolving in response to changes in the environment, but computer boffins at the University of Central Florida say the traditional explanation – competition to survive in nature – may not actually be necessary for evolvability to increase. In their paper, published in PLOS ONE, the researchers […]




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Evolution making women taller, thinner




In many places around the world, people are living longer and are having fewer children. But a new study in the journal Current Biology reports that those aren’t the only changes happening. The research shows that modern-day selection may lead women to be taller and slimmer, too. “This is a reminder that declines in mortality […]




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Rapid evolution tied to environmental change




Environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations, report ecologists from Ume� University and the University of Leeds. The new findings, which overturn the common assumption that evolution occurs very slowly, could shed light in areas such as the management of fisheries, where human actions can result in […]




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roadkill

Natural selection reducing road kill




Urban environments can be evolutionary hotspots, suggests a study in the journal Current Biology that explored why road kill surveys show a sharp decline in bird mortality over the last 30 years. Charles R. Brown, of the University of Tulsa, has been studying cliff swallows in Nebraska since 1982. These birds build clusters of mud […]




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neurons

Simulation reveals evolutionary origins of modularity




Robotics researchers say they now understand why humans, bacteria and other organisms evolved in a modular fashion, a finding that they believe will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity. The new insights, detailed in Proceedings of the Royal Society, were gained from a computer simulation that evolved over 25,000 generations. The […]




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Human intellectual abilities in decline, claims geneticist




An intriguing new hypothesis published in the journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in the modern world. The papers’ author, Dr. […]




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nerds

“It’s not you, it’s me,” means it’s probably you, say ovulation boffins




Long after women have chosen Mr. Stable over Mr. Sexy, they struggle unconsciously with the decision, with the highest levels of dissatisfaction occurring during ovulation. The new findings, from UCLA’s Martie Haselton, appear in the journal Hormones and Behaviorand add to previous research that showed how ovulation affects perception and female behaviors. Haselton’s new work […]




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inflatable_heatshield

Inflatable heat shield survives re-entry test




Developed by NASA, a large heat shield inflated with nitrogen has successfully completed a re-entry trip through Earth’s atmosphere while travelling at speeds of up to 7,600 mph. The purpose of the Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) test was to show that a space capsule can use an inflatable outer shell to slow and protect […]




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