Evolution

Researchers recently studied the reaction of aphids when a parasitic wasp with genetic variation laid eggs in them and found that different genotypes of the wasp affected where the aphids went to die, including whether they left the plant host entirely. The team also found an example of the emergence of a shared phenotype that was partly wasp and partly aphid.


You wouldn’t know it by current world events, but humans actually evolved to be peaceful, cooperative and social animals.
‘Man the Hunter’ theory is debunked in new book, February 18, 2006, By Neil Schoenherr
So begins a discussion regarding humans as a prey species rather than predators.  It isn't true, and it doesn't even make any sense.  After all, what do any of those traits have to do with being a predator or prey?

Does anyone believe that wolves or lions aren't social?  or cooperative?  or peaceful amongst themselves?

Some assume that evolution only occurs gradually, over hundreds or thousands of years, but scientists have shown otherwise numerous times and now a new paper in Ecology Letters affirms that environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations.

Researchers found significant genetically transmitted changes in laboratory populations of soil mites in just 15 generations leading to a doubling of the age at which the mites reached adulthood and large changes in population size. The results  demonstrate that evolution can be a game-changer, even in the short-term.


At some point everyone has heard the question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg.".  What is surprising about this question is that it can still produce any debate.

It is surprisingly obvious yet one wonders what has contributed to its longevity and its countinued appearance in various arguments.

Why obvious?  Well, let's consider the premises.  Unless one is predisposed to believing that animals simply appear, then we must reject the premise that a chicken can exist as a fully formed adult without any previous existence.  As a result, the only element left to examine is the egg.  Yet, an egg doesn't spring into existence fully formed either.

Male and female blue tits look a lot alike to us but in the UV-range, visible to birds, the male is much more colorful.


The term 'living fossil' is a topic for argument among scientists because it appears to suggest that some organisms have stopped evolving. Like 'missing link' or 'God particle' the concern is the colloquial meaning has overtaken the science one.


A team of scientists has uncovered how some sea snakes have developed 'shrunken heads' - literally smaller physical features than their related species.

A large head would seem to be a welcome trait for sea snakes, which typically have to swallow large spiny fish. However, there are some circumstances where it wouldn't be very useful: sea snakes that feed by probing their front ends into narrow, sand eel burrows have evolved comically small heads. 


Who says you can't go home again?  Not evolutionary biology. Well, sort of. There is a supposition with the proper name of "Dollo's law" which states that evolution is unidirectional and irreversible and once an organism has evolved specialized traits, it can't return to the lifestyle of its ancestors. It hasn't really caught on.


The  divergent lineage of the oldest known genetic branch of the human Y chromosome, the hereditary factor determining male sex, has been pushed back in time.

The new divergent lineage, found in an individual who submitted his DNA to Family Tree DNA, a company specializing in DNA analysis to trace family roots, branched from the Y chromosome tree before the first appearance of anatomically modern humans in the fossil record.


A new paper says that flocks of birds, schools of fish, and groups of any other living organisms might have a mathematical function in common - body sizes are distributed according to the same mathematical expression, where the only unknown is the average size of the species in an ecosystem.