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Scitizen Evolution

Evolution : a collaborative news publishing initiative by scientists, for everyone.

Copyright: Copyright 2008, Take part Media, Inc.

Slowly Developing Primates are Not Dim-witted

2008-04-25 09:56:25

Some primates have evolved big brains because their extra brainpower helps them live and reproduce longer, an advantage that outweighs the demands of extra years of growth and development they spend reaching adulthood, anthropologists from Duke University and the University of Zurich have concluded in...

Invasive Species Can Produce "Hotspots of Evolutionary Novelty"

2008-03-27 14:51:33

Biological invaders are organisms that rapidly spread and multiply after being introduced out of their native range. They are considered one of the most serious threats to biodiversity, and as such, attract the attention of both scientists and the general public.

Syphilis Origins Solved?

2008-01-21 12:09:01

A new paper in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases attempts to tackle a rather sensitive topic...

Turbocharged Human Evolution

2007-12-13 16:25:06

I?ve heard people say that selection pressure on humans has relaxed?or we have slipped from its grip to some degree?and that as a result human evolution is slowing down or may even have stopped. A recent analysis of human genetic data shows that the opposite is true.

Did a Starchy Diet Fuel Gene Copying in Early Humans?

2007-12-11 10:45:19

Biologists usually think of gene mutations as the raw material for evolution. But a wide-ranging analysis of a correlation between genes and diet across many different cultures has unveiled a second starting point for natural selection: extra, unmutated copies of an existing gene...

Bacterial Genomes and Evolution

2007-11-29 10:59:00

The seminar that I give most often when I am invited to speak at other universities begins with a brief introduction to genomes, sets up some comparisons between bacteria and eukaryotes, and then moves into a short overview of bacterial genome size evolution before spending the remainder of the time...

Fodor on Natural Selection

2007-10-16 11:50:43

Philosopher Jerry Fodor offers up the latest example of a familiar genre: essays declaring the forthcoming demise of natural selection, coupled with very little in the way of supporting argument. He is writing in the London Review of Books. There's quite a bit I find wrong with Fodor's essay...

Why Care About Species Extinction?

2007-09-26 11:07:17

The New Republic has a piece titled The Greatest Dying by Jerry Coyne & Hopi E. Hoekstra (see below the fold for how to read it for free if you don't have a TNR subscription). The piece covers the a) general parameters of the mass extinction and b) the reasons why we should care.

Diet & brain evolution: another item on the menu

2007-09-25 12:46:16

At some point in the distant past, there was a dramatic increase in brain size in our hominid ancestors. From approximately 2 million years ago, to the present day, brain volume in the hominid lineage has increased by a factor of 3.5: the brain of Homo erectus had a volume of about 400 milliliters,...

Hobbit: "The Wrist ends the debate!"

2007-09-20 20:22:16

A new study published today in Science attempts to resolve the Hobbit argument. The report states that the so called Hobbit fossils found in Flores, Indonesia represent a new species rather than a diminutive human. Matthew Tocheri, lead author of the study, answers Scitizen's questions.

"Did Climate Cause the Neanderthals' Extinction?"

2007-09-13 10:36:30

A new study published today in Nature pinpoints the climatic background at the time of the Neanderthals' disappearance in Europe some time around 24,000 years ago. Dr Katerina Harvati, co-author of the study, answers Scitizen's questions.

Polling Data on Science and Religion

2007-09-06 12:58:17

Chris Mooney has a link to this analysis* of recent polling data. The analysis was written by David Masci. The subject: How Americans feel about science and faith. Mooney thinks the data supports the Matt Nisbet line that people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens hurt the cause...

"Humans and African Great Apes Probably Split Much Earlier"

2007-08-22 19:01:00

A study in Nature reports evidence of a new species of great ape found in Ethiopia. Interview with Dr Gen Suwa, lead researcher.

Varying Environments Can Speed Up Evolution

2007-07-31 11:28:09

Nadav Kashtan is a specialist of evolution computer simulations. He authored a study on the subject published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A New Human

2007-07-31 11:24:35

A few years ago, everyone was in a tizzy over the discovery of Flores Man, curious hominin remains found on an Indonesian island that had a number of astonishing features: they were relatively recent, less than 20,000 years old; they were not modern humans, but of unsettled affinity,...

Distant Cousins, But Close: The Surprising Complexity of The Sea Anemone Genome

2007-07-24 12:32:35

The question of what the common ancestor of multicellular animals looked like has puzzled biologists for a long time. With the genome of the starlet sea anemone in hand, we can estimate the genome of the common ancestor of 'true' multicellular animals, eumetazoans,...

Bamboozled! The Curious Natural History of the Giant Panda Family

2007-07-20 13:44:39

The discovery of the earliest giant panda skull has established that the giant panda lineage has been eating bamboo for more than 2 million years. This reliance on bamboo may figure prominently in its survival as a species, as well as affecting their size and even the panda?s thumb!

Human Most Likely Origin Is "Somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa?

2007-07-18 19:00:17

A new study published today in Nature shows new evidence that humans probably evolved in Africa. Interview with Dr Andrea Manica, lead author of the study.

?What We Found Fills the Fossil Record Gap between 3.6 and 3.9 Million Years Ago?

2007-07-18 14:51:15

Scientists have discovered new early hominid fossils that may fill the gap between two early human species. Interview with Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie who led the excavations in the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar Region in Ethiopia.

The Creation Museum 3: General Overview

2007-07-05 11:54:12

The Creation museum that opened on May 28 in Kentucky keeps fueling the debate between evolution and creationism. Jason Rosenhouse tells here his visit to the museum along with other bloggers associated with the Panda?s Thumb and Scienceblogs...

"Certain Genes Are Favoured In Males and Not In Females"

2007-06-27 19:00:13

Researchers have found out that good genes can be gender-specific. The study is published in the June 28, 2007 issue of Nature. Interview with Katharina Foerster, lead author of the report.

Family Guy: Christian Alternative to the Theory of Evolution

2007-06-18 12:48:15

Evolution versus creationism reviewed by Family Guy

?It?s Blurring the Distinction Between Humans and the African Apes.?

2007-05-31 20:00:27

Upright walking may have begun in the trees. This hypothesis is the result of a study, based on the observation of orangutans, published today in Science. Robin Crompton, the lead author, answers Scitizen?s question.

Scientific Fraud in the Name of Religion

2007-05-16 15:42:41

An interesting cultural experiment is taking place in Petersburg Kentucky, near the Ohio border. The experiment will shed light on the following question: How much money and glitz does it take to institutionalize a scientific lie? Of course, "buying" reality is not a new idea,...

Evolution in response to climate change

2007-01-26 12:45:57

We are now experiencing substantial changes in the earth?s climate, with warmer temperatures, droughts, and other changes in precipitation patterns found world-wide. Many reports tell of ecological changes brought about by these climatic shifts,...