Tag Archives | evolutionary


Menopause – it’s a guy thing

After decades of trying to shoehorn menopause into a variety of evolutionary contexts that never seemed to add up, a team of Canadian scientists from McMaster University has concluded that what really causes menopause in women is men. Lead researcher on the new study, evolutionary geneticist Rama Singh, says that until now, no one has […]

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Self-delusion a winning strategy in life

A mathematical model that simulates the effects of overconfidence shows that harboring a mistakenly inflated belief that we can easily meet challenges or win conflicts is beneficial in business, sport and war. The developers of the model, from the University of Edinburgh and the University of California, San Diego, use it to simulate the effects […]

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Lasting evolutionary change “slow and rare”

Addressing the long-running debate about short-term vs. long-term evolutionary change, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the changes that stick tend to take a long time, and one million years appears to be the magic number. Oregon State University zoologist Josef Uyeda, the lead author of the […]

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The most intriguing science news from 2010

Do we have depression all wrong? Is there actually some truth to astrology? Could your antique collection be making you sick? Why are scientists teaching robots to lie? Do country boys have more packed into their trousers than their city cousins? Find out all this and more in our selection of 2010’s most interesting science […]

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Religious ritual drives natural selection

A centuries-old religious ceremony carried out in a southern Mexican cave has led to evolutionary changes in a species of fish that dwell in the cave, say researchers from Texas A&M University. Their findings appear in the online journal Biology Letters. Every Easter, over many centuries, the Zoque people of southern Mexico have ventured into […]

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The evolutionary benefits of crying

Crying is known to be a symptom of pain or stress, but an evolutionary biologist from Tel Aviv University (TAU) suggests that tears are also an evolution-based mechanism to bring people closer together and make interpersonal relationships stronger. “Crying is a highly evolved behavior,” explains Dr. Oren Hasson of TAU’s Department of Zoology. “Tears give […]

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Bacteria found to exhibit anticipatory behavior

Bacteria can anticipate future events and prepare for them, according to new research that explores how a microorganism’s genetic networks are hard-wired to “foresee” what comes next in a sequence of events. Reporting their findings in Nature, the Weizmann Institute of Science researchers explained how E. coli bacteria, which normally cruise harmlessly down the digestive […]

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Humans reshaping other species at lightning speed

Human activities such as fishing and hunting are having astonishingly broad and swift impacts on the body size and reproductive abilities of fish and other commercially harvested species, potentially jeopardizing the ability of entire populations to recover, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Human predation, say the […]

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Does religion provide an evolutionary advantage?

Religious people have more self-control than their less religious counterparts, leading to lower rates of substance abuse, better school achievement, better health behaviors, less depression, and longer lives, says University of Miami professor of Psychology, Michael McCullough. McCullough’s new meta-study, appearing in the journal Psychological Bulletin, posits that self-control is critical for success in life, […]

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