“It is clear that life has had a profound role in creating the world we are used to, and the planet has similarly affected the trajectory of life. I think it’s important people acknowledge the miracle of their own existence and recognise what an amazing planet this is.”
An extraordinary new species of arachnid, resembling a spider with a tail, has been discovered in amber from Myanmar (formerly Burma), of mid-Cretaceous age, around 100 million years ago.
Human evolution can seem like a phenomenon of the distant past which applies only to our ancestors living millions of years ago. But human evolution is ongoing. To evolve simply means that mutations – the accidental changes to genes that happen normally in the process of copying DNA – are becoming more or less common in the population over time.
“World’s oldest fossils found in discovery with ‘staggering’ implications for the search for extra-terrestrial life”
The oldest known fossils – dating back 3.7 billion years to a time when the Earth was still being bombarded by asteroids – have been found in Greenland, scientists announced in a discovery that could have “staggering” implications.
Commenting on the discovery, a Nasa expert on the early Earth said if the fossils were evidence of living creatures then the discovery showed “life is not a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing” – increasing the chances that it will have developed on Mars and elsewhere in the Universe.
Scientists believe they have an uncovered an evolutionary throwback in a rare deep ocean whale that washed ashore on a South Australian beach.
Previous research has suggested rapid or sudden environmental change often precipitate accelerated evolutionary adaptation and speciation. Now, scientists say the opposite is also true.
According to new research out of the Netherlands, slow or subtle environmental change slows evolution, leading to fewer adaptations.
With growing concerns about climate change and the ability of plants and animals to adapt, some scientists have questioned whether slowing down global warming would be beneficial.
“Fish which walks out of water and breathes on land for six days ‘could spell major disaster’ for wildlife in Australia”
A bizarre and seemingly super-powered fish which can walk out of water and breathe on land for up to six days could spell a ‘major disaster’ for wildlife, scientists have warned.
The aggressive climbing perch, which has lungs as well as gills, has been discovered in northern Australia.
In looking at snake genomes, serpent anatomy and new clues from early snake fossils, researchers at Yale concluded the earliest ancestral snakes lived on land, not in the water.
“Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturization in dinosaurs,” explained Professor Michael Lee, researcher at both the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum.
Lee is the lead author of the study, published in the journal Science.
“Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly,” Lee added. “Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins.”