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Exit Dinosaurs, Enter Fishes

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A pair of paleobiologists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego have determined that the world’s most numerous and diverse vertebrates ¬– ray-finned fishes – began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs.

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Doves Share Pigeon Gene for Head Crests

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The same gene that creates elaborate head crests in domestic rock pigeons also makes head and neck feathers grow up instead of down in domesticated doves to give them head crests, although theirs are much simpler and caused by a different mutation, University of Utah researchers found.

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Studies Find Early European Had Recent Neanderthal Ancestor

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The new study, co-led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator David Reich at Harvard Medical School and Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, provides the first genetic evidence that humans interbred with Neanderthals in Europe.

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Scientists Find Evidence of Key Ingredient During Dawn of Life

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Scientists from the UNC School of Medicine provide the first direct experimental evidence for how primordial proteins developed the ability to accelerate the central chemical reaction necessary to synthesize proteins and thus allow life to arise not long after Earth was created.

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‘Genomics Holds Key to Understanding Ecological and Evolutionary Processes’

Scientists at the University of Southampton think that Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) of invasive organisms holds the key to furthering our understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes.

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Climate and Ecosystem Instability Delayed Dinosaur Success

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Climate and plant community instability may have hampered the success of dinosaurs in the tropics during the Late Triassic Period (235-201 million years ago), according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This finding was reached by co-author Alan H. Turner, PhD, of Stony Brook University, and an international team of scientists by examining the sedimentary rocks and fossil record preserved in the Chinle Formation in northern New Mexico to investigate the environment in tropical latitudes during the Late Triassic.

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Self-Awareness Not Unique to Mankind

Humans are unlikely to be the only animal capable of self-awareness, a new study has shown.

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Virus Evolution and Human Behavior Shape Global Patterns of Flu Movement

The global movement patterns of all four seasonal influenza viruses are illustrated in research published today in the journal Nature, providing a detailed account of country-to-country virus spread over the last decade and revealing unexpected differences in circulation patterns between viruses.

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Do Cheaters Have an Evolutionary Advantage?

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What is it with cheating? Cheaters seem to have an immediate advantage over cooperators, but do they have an evolutionary advantage? A study published in Current Biology suggests the benefits of cheating change with its prevalence,in a population. Cheaters may succeed, for example, only when they are rare, and fail when they become so numerous they push out cooperators.

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Study Shows Early Bird Catches More Than Just the Worm

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A group of international researchers published in Functional Ecology found that compared with early birds, late risers are more likely to be cuckolded. The study’s lead author, Dr. Timothy Greives of North Dakota State University, Fargo, said they found that early risers used that time to mate with birds not in their social pair. Melatonin-implanted birds did not sire as many birds and later cared for nestlings fathered by an early riser in their nest. Study results provide insight into the evolution of the body clock.