For a long time, it has been thought that evolutionary and ecological research were quite separated from each other. After all, evolution takes place on long timescales while ecological events usually happen much faster. At least, that was the common perception. Lately, however, it has become clear that, in some cases, the relevant timescales in […]
Our close evolutionary cousin, the common chimpanzee, comes in four subspecies, each one named after its location along an East-West band in Africa. Yet, there are chimps outside of Africa as well. Many European zoos possess a group of chimpanzees, which often plays a part in conservation plans… Wondering how the hybrids come into play? Find out […]
The Iliad, Homer’s epic poem telling the tale of Achilles and the war of Troy, is widely considered to be one of the greatest and well-known pieces of ancient literature. Despite its status, however, the date of its production is still uncertain. A new study, published in the journal BioEssays, used phylogenetic methods to derive an estimate […]
The evolutionary history of humanity isn’t the easiest tale to tell. As time passed, we, unlike other primates, spread across the globe, colonizing the various lands we explored. All these different habitats were surely characterized by diverging sets of selection pressures. Lo and behold, there arose diversity among human beings. But finding the exact genetic […]
The ancient and mysterious Greek philosopher Heraclitus once purportedly said that war is the father of all things. Now, a recent article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution presents a new perspective on the phrase. The genome, that collection of genes representing the hereditary information of an organism might seem like quite a peaceful place. […]
The Blue Whale (or Balaenoptera musculus) is big. Very big. In fact, as far as we know, it’s the largest animal to have ever lived on earth, growing to roughly 30m and weighing in at an impressive 175 tons. But could there be, or have been, a bigger whale? Find out at United Academics.
A lot of ant species are very social. So social in fact that they’re called ‘eusocial’. But, even though the common conception involves a single queen leading her tightly organized colony, many social systems are possible. Even within a single species. For example, in the red fire ant Solenopsis invicta two different social organizations are […]
In 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus, a British scholar, published (anonymously at first) An Essay on the Principle of Population. In this highly influential work on population dynamics, he noted that “the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence.”. Put simply, a population can’t keep growing, as the resources it needs are […]
The 54rd Carnival of Evolution (A Walkabout Mount Improbable) is up and running at ideonexus. Get clicking and enjoy the journey!
A recent duo of articles by Stanford professor Gerald Crabtree has sparked some controversy. In two parts, he discusses our ‘fragile intellect’. In the first part, it is stated that our intelligence is based on the many, many genes, and, as such, is very fragile. In the second part, he argues that, during much of […]