The Theory of Evolution states that modern man evolved from the ape family. This can not be verified as the 'missing link' has not as yet been found. There is no conclusive evidence to prove that man evolved from apes. Footprints of modern man have been found side by side with dinosaur tracks. Archeological evidence exists that contradicts this theory of 'the origin of man'. Modern human artifacts have been found in all layers of geological strata some going back hundreds of millions of years. These artifacts prove that modern man may be million of years older than history tells us. Paleontology
In biology, evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by the shifting allele frequencies of genes. Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life: all contemporary organisms are related to each other through common descent, products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years. Over time, new species evolve from existing species through speciation, and other species become extinct, resulting in the ever-changing biological world reflected in the fossil record.
The basic mechanisms that produce evolutionary change are natural selection (which includes ecological and sexual selection) and genetic drift acting on the genetic variation created by mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow. Natural selection is the process by which individual organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. If those traits are heritable, they pass them to their offspring, with the result that beneficial heritable traits become more common in the next generation. Given enough time, this passive process can result in varied adaptations to changing environmental conditions.
The modern understanding of evolution is based on the theory of natural selection, which was first set out in a joint 1858 paper by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and popularized in Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species.
In the 1930s, scientists combined Darwinian natural selection with the theory of Mendelian heredity to form the modern evolutionary synthesis, also known as "Neo-Darwinism". The modern synthesis describes evolution as a change in the frequency of alleles within a population from one generation to the next. This theory has become the central organizing principle of modern biology, relating directly to topics such as the origin of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, eusociality in insects, and the staggering biodiversity of the living world. Because of its potential implications for the origins of humankind, evolutionary theory has been at the center of many social and religious controversies since its inception. Read more ...
Reality is a biogenetic experiment set in linear time to experience emotions - where all things happen simultaneously. Time is an illusion ergo so is everything else. That being said, there really is no evolution of species, but more the evolution of consciousness in the simulation we call our reality or the alchemy of time. It is often referred to as the Simulation Theory. Once in a while what is believed to be a new humanoid species is discovered but there is no missing link.
All animal life is descended from a single common ancestor - a multicellular organism that most likely lived more than 600 million years ago. This ancestor had two offspring; one that led to the evolution of all animal life, and another that is referred to as the sister to all animals Live Science - May 25, 2023
After decades of debate, scientists believe they have identified the most recent ancestor of the sister to all animals via the novel use of an analytical technique. The finding settles a central question about the evolution of the entire tree of animal life.
A blinking fish reveals clues to how our ancestors evolved from water to land PhysOrg - April 24, 2023
New research shows that these amphibious fish have evolved a blinking behavior that serves many of the same purposes of our blinking. The results suggest that blinking may be among the suite of traits that evolved to allow the transition to life on land in tetrapods the group of animals that includes mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians -'some 375 million years ago.
Humans, But Not Quite: Denisova Cave Shows The Strange Backstory Of Us IFL Science - April 15, 2023
The entrance to Denisova Cave, the famous site in southern Siberia where remains of both Neanderthals and the Denisovans have been found. The Denisova Cave is the site of one of the most important crossroads in the history of humans. Not only does the cave contain evidence of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, but for several years it was the only place where remains were found of our lesser-known cousins: the Denisovans. The cave even features remains of related hybrids, indicating this mysterious location was linked to the inter-species mingling that still lives on in our genome today.
Does evolution ever go backward? In regressive evolution, organisms lose complex features and can appear to evolve "in reverse." But evolution doesn't retrace its steps, experts said Live Science - January 17, 2023
Evolution has produced stunningly complex features, from neuron-studded octopus arms to the mammalian ear. Can evolution ever go "backward," though, reverting complex creatures to previous, simpler forms? In so-called regressive evolution, organisms can lose complex features and thus appear to have evolved "back" into simpler forms. But evolution doesn't really go backward in the sense of retracing evolutionary steps, experts say.
Squid and human brains develop the same way despite diverging 500 million years ago Live Science - January 16, 2023
Scientists who watched nerve cells connect inside the eyes of growing squid have uncovered a remarkable secret - the cephalopods' brains independently evolved to develop in the same way ours do.
Tiny New Genes Appearing in Human DNA Show How We're Still Evolving Science Alert - December 23, 2022
A new study shows just how human beings continue to evolve in ways we never imagined. New genes typically arise through well known mechanisms like duplication events, where our genetic machinery accidentaly produces copies of pre-existing genes that can end up suiting new functions over time. But the 155 microgenes pinpointed in this study seem to have appeared from scratch, in stretches of DNA that didn't previously contain the instructions that our bodies use to build molecules. Since the proteins these new genes are thought to encode would be incredibly tiny, these DNA sequences are hard to find and difficult to study, and therefore are often overlooked in research.
There's a Weird Link Between Teeth And The Evolution of Pregnancy Science Alert - November 27, 2022
Given how critical brain growth is to early human development, and head size, in turn, influences the size of our jaws, researchers suspected teeth may hold some valuable information on our ancestors' pregnancies. Teeth begin to form at around 6 weeks of gestation but don't develop their hardened exterior layers until the second trimester. From there, the growing layers can retain records of their life history, from weaning to sexual activity.
Sinuses offer new way of studying the evolution of ancient humans PhysOrg - October 24, 2022
The changing shape of the frontal sinuses is helping to reveal more about how modern humans, and our ancient relatives, evolved.
Life on Earth began as inserts in an experiment or Simulation
There's Growing Evidence Life on Earth Started With More Than Just RNA Science Alert - July 18, 2022
How life originated on Earth continues to fascinate scientists, but it's not easy peering back billions of years into the past. Now, evidence is growing for a relatively new hypothesis of how life began: with a very precise mix of RNA and DNA.
Supermountains controlled the evolution of life on Earth. PhysOrg - February 3, 2022
Giant mountain ranges at least as high as the Himalayas and stretching up to 8,000 kilometers across entire supercontinents played a crucial role in the evolution of early life on Earth.
Huge Find of 400,000-Year-Old Bone Tools Challenges Our Understanding of Early Humans Science Alert - September 1, 2021
As far as Lower Paleolithic archaeology goes, this is quite the haul: Experts have uncovered a record 98 elephant-bone tools at a site dating back some 400,000 years. This discovery could change our thinking on how some of the early humans - such as Neanderthals - fashioned implements like these.
Some Humans Are Carrying DNA From an Unknown Ancient Ancestor Science Alert - August 11, 2020
A new analysis of the genomes of the most famous of ancient humans - Neanderthals and Denisovans - has revealed an as-yet-unidentified ancestor for our species - a branch of our distant family tree without any known label to put to it. The study also finds further evidence of interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals, but places it much earlier than we previously knew - some 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. This interbreeding would therefore add new insight into the increasingly complicated history of our emergence as a species, and of our migration out of Africa. There is the possibility that the unknown ancestor is actually Homo erectus, an archaic human ancestor thought to have died out more than 100,000 years ago Ð but as no H. erectus DNA has ever been found, we don't know for sure.
The Origin of Modern Humans Cannot Be Traced to Any One Single Point in Time or Space Science Alert - February 10, 2021
Homo sapiens today look very different from our evolutionary origins, the microbes wriggling about in the primordial mud. But our emergence as a distinct species cannot, based on the current evidence, be conclusively traced to a single location at any single point in time.
Scientists uncover new mode of evolution Live Science - January 22, 2020
Evolution and natural selection take place at the level of DNA, as genes mutate and genetic traits either stick around or are lost over time. But now, scientists think evolution may take place on a whole other scale - passed down not through genes, but through molecules stuck to their surfaces. These molecules, known as methyl groups, alter the structure of DNA and can turn genes on and off. The alterations are known as "epigenetic modifications," meaning they appear "above" or "on top of" the genome. Many organisms, including humans, have DNA dotted with methyl groups, but creatures like fruit flies and roundworms lost the required genes to do so over evolutionary time. Another organism, the yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, also lost key genes for methylation sometime during the Cretaceous period, about 50 to 150 million years ago. But remarkably, in its current form, the fungus still has methyl groups on its genome. Now, scientists theorize that C. neoformans was able to hang on to epigenetic edits for tens of millions of years, thanks to a newfound mode of evolution, according to a study published Jan. 16 in the journal Cell.
Jumping genes: Cross species transfer of genes has driven evolution Science Daily - July 9, 2018
Far from just being the product of our parents, scientists have now shown that widespread transfer of genes between species has radically changed the genomes of today's mammals, and been an important driver of evolution.
'Wiggling and jiggling': Study explains how organisms evolve to live at different temperatures PhysOrg - March 21, 2018
Physicist Richard Feynman famously said that, in principle, biology can be explained by understanding the wiggling and jiggling of atoms. For the first time, new research explains how this 'wiggling and jiggling' of the atoms in enzymes - the proteins that make biological reactions happen - is choreographed to make them work at a particular temperature. Enzyme catalysis is essential to life, and this research sheds light on how enzymes have evolved and adapted, enabling organisms to evolve to live at different temperatures.
Changing environment influenced human evolution BBC - March 16, 2018
Humans may have developed advanced social behaviors and trade 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. The results come from an archaeological site in Kenya's rift valley. "Over one million years of time" is represented at the site, according to Rick Potts from the Smithsonian Institution, who was involved in the studies. There are also signs of developments in toolmaking technologies.
Biologists say recently discovered fossil shows transition of a reptile from life on land to life in the sea PhysOrg - December 6, 2017
Using modern research tools on a 155-million-year-old reptile fossil, scientists at Johns Hopkins and the American Museum of Natural History report they have filled in some important clues to the evolution of animals that once roamed land and transitioned to life in the water. A report on the new discoveries about the reptile, Vadasaurus herzogi suggests that some of the foot-long animal's features, including its elongated, whip-like tail, and triangular-shaped head, are well suited to aquatic life, while its elatively large limbs link it to land-loving species.
How life arose from primordial muck: Experimental evidence overturns accepted theory PhysOrg - November 2, 2017
Life on Earth originated in an intimate partnership between the nucleic acids (genetic instructions for all organisms) and small proteins called peptides, according to two new articles from biochemists and biologists. Their 'peptide-RNA' hypothesis contradicts the widely-held 'RNA-world' hypothesis, which states that life originated from nucleic acids and only later evolved to include proteins.
Fossilized remains of lizard-like creature dubbed Tiny reveal the missing link between humans and fish Daily Mail - October 23, 2017
= Researchers have discovered the fossilized remains of a small, lizard-like creature that is the missing ancestral link between human beings and the fish we evolved from millions of years ago. The remains of the creature, dubbed Tiny, were found in the Scottish Borders in south eastern Scotland in a piece of rock smaller than a clenched fist, after people saw a small part of its skull sticking out. Tiny was one of the first four-legged creatures to move onto land - making it our ancestor and filling in a 15-million year fossil gap when fish transitioned to becoming land dwellers.
Mongolian microfossils point to the rise of animals on Earth Science Daily - October 24, 2017
= A Yale-led research team has discovered a cache of embryo-like microfossils in northern Mongolia that may shed light on questions about the long-ago shift from microbes to animals on Earth. Called the Khesen Formation, the site is one of the most significant for early Earth fossils since the discovery of the Doushantuo Formation in southern China nearly 20 years ago. The Dousantuo Formation is 600 million years old; the Khesen Formation is younger, at about 540 million years old.
Fossil footprints challenge established theories of human evolution Science Daily - September 5, 2017
Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa -- with ape-like feet.
Large-scale study of genetic data shows humans still evolving
In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States and Britain, researchers at Columbia University find that the genetic variants linked to Alzheimer's disease and heavy smoking are less frequent in people with longer lifespans, suggesting that natural selection is weeding out these unfavorable variants in both populations.
In saliva, clues to a 'ghost' species of ancient human Daily Mail - July 21, 2017
Scientists have found hints that a 'ghost' species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in sub-Saharan Africa today. The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual.The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual. Past studies have concluded that the forebears of modern humans in Asia and Europe interbred with other early hominin species, including Neanderthals and Denisovans. The new research is among more recent genetic analyses indicating that ancient Africans also had trysts with other early hominins.
Ancient Fossils from Morocco Mess Up Modern Human Origins Scientific American - June 8, 2017
Dated to more than 300,000 years ago, the finds raise key questions about the defining features of Homo sapiens and how our kind came to be. The year was 1961. A barite mining operation at the Jebel Irhoud massif in Morocco, some 100 kilometers west of Marrakech, turned up a fossil human skull. Subsequent excavation uncovered more bones from other individuals, along with animal remains and stone tools. Scientists' best guess was that the remains were about 40,000 years old and represented African versions of Neandertals. In the decades that followed, researchers shifted their stance on the identity of the remains, coming to see them as members of our own species, Homo sapiens - and they redated the site to roughly 160,000 years ago. Still, the Jebel Irhoud fossils remained something of a mystery, because in some respects they looked more primitive than older H. sapiens fossils.
Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find The Telegraph - May 22, 2017
Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield. But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago. The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknamed El Graeco by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid. An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans - the so-called Missing Link - in the Mediterranean region.
'Humanlike' ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago Science Daily - May 9, 2017
By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, a neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago. The results place the appearance of human-like cognition at the emergence of Homo erectus, an early apelike species of human first found in Africa whose evolution predates Neanderthals by nearly 600,000 years.
Humanity's mystery new cousin is surprisingly young: 335,000-year-old fossils of Homo naledi transform our understanding of human evolution Daily Mail - May 9, 2017
Deep within the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa, archaeologists have discovered the remains of at least three Hominin naledi. The age of the remains has been revealed to be startlingly young, suggesting the species was alive sometime between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago. This places this population of primitive small-brained hominins at a time and place that it is likely they lived alongside modern humans. This is the first time that it has been demonstrated that another species of hominin survived alongside the first humans in Africa.
South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative Science Daily - May 9, 2017
Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, which last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi. The discovery of the new fossils representing the remains of at least 3 juvenile and adult specimens includes a 'wonderfully complete skull,' says an anthropologist.
Human skull evolved along with two-legged walking, study confirms Science Daily - March 17, 2017
The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull - a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Texas at Austin. Compared with other primates, the large hole at the base of the human skull where the spinal cord passes through, known as the foramen magnum, is shifted forward. While many scientists generally attribute this shift to the evolution of bipedalism and the need to balance the head directly atop the spine, others have been critical of the proposed link. Validating this connection provides another tool for researchers to determine whether a fossil hominid walked upright on two feet like humans or on four limbs like modern great apes.
Scientists find 'oldest human ancestor' BBC - January 31, 2017
Researchers have discovered the earliest known ancestor of humans - along with a vast range of other species. They say that fossilized traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are "exquisitely well preserved". The microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and - eventually - to humans. Details of the discovery from central China appear in Nature journal. The research team says that Saccorhytus is the most primitive example of a category of animals called "deuterostomes" which are common ancestors of a broad range of species, including vertebrates (backboned animals). Saccorhytus was about a millimetre in size, and is thought to have lived between grains of sand on the sea bed.
How evolution has equipped our hands with five fingers Science Daily - October 5, 2016
Have you ever wondered why our hands have exactly five fingers? Scientists have uncovered a part of this mystery, and their remarkable discovery is outlined in a new report. We have known for several years that the limbs of vertebrates, including our arms and legs, stem from fish fins. The evolution that led to the appearance of limbs, and in particular the emergence of fingers in vertebrates, reflects a change in the body plan associated with a change of habitat, the transition from an aquatic environment to a terrestrial environment. How this evolution occurred is a fascinating question that goes all the way back to the work of Charles Darwin.
Geologists search for Anthropocene 'golden spike' BBC - August 30, 2016
The notion that we have entered a new geological age is real and should be formally recognized, according to an international report. The verdict comes from a panel set up to judge the merits of adding an Anthropocene ("Age of Humans") time segment to the history of the Earth. The group delivered its preliminary evidence and recommendations. It now needs to identify a suitable marker in the environment that epitomizes the start of the new phase. The hunt is now on for a "golden spike", as it is known - the marker that scientists can point to years hence - perhaps millions of years hence - and say, "There! That's the start of the Anthropocene Epoch."
Earth entered new Anthropocene epoch in 1950, scientists say Telegraph - August 29, 2016
The rapid industrialization of the last century has caused the Earth to enter its first new geological epoch in more than 11,500 years, scientists believe.
New techniques boost understanding of how fish fins became fingers Science Daily - August 18, 2016
Markers of the wrists and digits in the limb of a mouse (left) are present in fish and demarcate the fin rays (right). The wrist and digits of tetrapods are the cellular and genetic equivalents of the fin rays of fish. The cells that make fin rays in fish play a central role in forming the fingers and toes of four-legged creatures, one of the great transformations required for the descendants of fish to become creatures that walk on land.
Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction PhysOrg - May 23, 2016
Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life on earth was in a tail-spin - climate change, volcanic eruptions, and rising sea levels contributed to a mass extinction that makes the death of the dinosaurs look like child's play. Marine life got hit hardest - 96% of all marine species went extinct. For a long time, scientists believed that the early marine reptiles that came about after the mass extinction evolved slowly, but the recent discovery of a strange new fossil brings that view into question.
Predicting human evolution: Teeth tell the story PhysOrg - February 24, 2016
The evolution of human teeth is much simpler than previously thought, and that we can predict the sizes of teeth missing from human fossils and those of our extinct close relatives (hominins). The research confirms that molars, including wisdom teeth, do follow the sizes predicted by what is called 'the inhibitory cascade' - a rule that shows how the size of one tooth affects the size of the tooth next to it. This is important because it indicates that human evolution was a lot simpler than scientists had previously thought. There seems to be a key difference between the two groups of hominins - perhaps one of the things that defines our genus, Homo.
Fossils Shed New Light on Human-Gorilla Split Live Science - February 11, 2016
Fossils of what may be primitive relatives of gorillas suggest that the human and gorilla lineages split up to 10 million years ago, millions of years later than what has been recently suggested, researchers say. The finding could help resolve a controversy over the continent where the ape and human lineages first evolved, the scientists added. Although the fossil record of human evolution is still patchy, it is better understood than that of great apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas. Since few great ape fossils have been found in Africa so far, some scientists have forcefully suggested that the ancestors of African apes and humans must have emerged in Eurasia. To shed light on the evolution of the ape and human lineages, Suwa and his colleagues investigated the Afar rift of Ethiopia. Previous research at the Afar rift unearthed fossils of some of the earliest known hominins - that is, humans and related species dating back to the split from the ape lineages.
Revealed - the single event that made complex life possible in our oceans PhysOrg - December 1, 2015
The catalyst that allowed the evolution of complex life in Earth's oceans has been identified by a University of Bristol researcher. Up to 800 million years ago, the Earth's oceans were deprived of oxygen. It was only when microorganisms called phytoplankton, capable of performing photosynthesis, colonized the oceans - covering two thirds of our planet - that production of oxygen at a massive scale was made possible.
Ancestors of land plants were wired to make the leap to shore PhysOrg - October 5, 2015
When the algal ancestor of modern land plants first succeeded in making the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting the stage for the vast array of terrestrial life. But the genetic and developmental innovations plants used to make the leap to land have been enduring secrets of nature.
Human Hands Are Primitive Live Science - July 14, 2015
Human hands may be more primitive than those of chimpanzees, more closely resembling the hands of the last common ancestor of humans and chimps, researchers say. These results suggest that since the overall hand proportions of humans are largely primitive, when the first members of the human lineage started to use and produce complex stone tools in a systematic way, their hands were already pretty much like ours today. A key trait that distinguishes humans from all other species alive today is the capability to make and use complex tools. This ability depends not only on the extraordinarily powerful human brain, but also the dexterity of the human hand.
Jurassic saw fastest mammal evolution PhysOrg - July 17, 2015
Mammals were evolving up to ten times faster in the middle of the Jurassic than they were at the end of the period, coinciding with an explosion of new adaptations, new research shows.
Repeated marine predator evolution tracks changes in ancient and Anthropocene oceans Science Daily - April 16, 2015
Scientists synthesized decades of scientific discoveries to illuminate the common and unique patterns driving the extraordinary transitions that whales, dolphins, seals and other species underwent as they moved from land to sea. Drawing on recent breakthroughs in diverse fields such as paleontology, molecular biology and conservation ecology, their findings offer a comprehensive look at how life in the ocean has responded to environmental change from the Triassic to the Anthropocene.
Evolution of marine mammals to water life converges in some genes PhysOrg - January 27, 2015
When marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, manatees and walruses moved from land to water, a series of physical abilities - limbs adapted for swimming, less dense bones that make them more buoyant and a large store of oxygen relative to their body size Ð made it possible. Yet these animals made the transition from land to water millions of years apart. Researchers looked at the genomes of these four marine mammals and compared them to their closest land kin. The genomes of the whale and dolphin were compared to that of the cow, the walrus to the dog and the manatee to the elephant. The marine mammals shared the traits needed to live in a marine environment, but they developed their traits separately Ð a process called convergent evolution.
How Pygmy People Got Their Short Stature Live Science - August 19, 2014
Pygmy traits independently evolved many times among different peoples around the world, because shorter heights may have helped them live in rainforests, researchers say. The small body sizes known as pygmy traits are seen worldwide, limited to peoples who traditionally hunted and gathered food in tropical rainforests, such as in Central Africa and Southeast Asia. These small statures apparently developed independently in these populations, an example of convergent evolution, much as fish and dolphins both evolved streamlined bodies to better swim in their watery worlds.
Viral relics show cancer's 'footprint' on our evolution Science Daily - July 23, 2014
Cancer has left its 'footprint' on our evolution, according to a study which examined how the relics of ancient viruses are preserved in the genomes of 38 mammal species. The team found that as animals increased in size they 'edited out' potentially cancer-causing relics from their genomes so that mice have almost ten times as many ERVs as humans. The findings offer a clue as to why larger animals have a lower incidence of cancer than expected compared to smaller ones, and could help in the search for new anti-viral therapies.
Taller, Fatter, Older: How Humans Have Changed in 100 Years BBC - July 22, 2014
Humans are getting taller; they're also fatter than ever and live longer than at any time in history. And all of these changes have occurred in the past 100 years, scientists say. So is evolution via natural selection at play here? Not in the sense of actual genetic changes, as one century is not enough time for such changes to occur, according to researchers. Most of the transformations that occur within such a short time period "are simply the developmental responses of organisms to changed conditions," such as differences in nutrition, food distribution, health care and hygiene practices.
Timeline of human origins revised: New synthesis of research links changing environment with Homo's evolutionary adaptability Science Daily - July 5, 2014
Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them.
Skulls with mix of Neandertal and primitive traits illuminate human evolution Science Daily - June 21, 2014
Researchers studying a collection of skulls in a Spanish cave identified both Neandertal-derived features and features associated with more primitive humans in these bones. This "mosaic pattern" supports a theory of Neandertal evolution that suggests Neandertals developed their defining features separately, and at different times - not all at once. Having this new data from the Sima de los Huesos site, as the Spanish cave is called, has allowed scientists to better understand hominin evolution during the Middle Pleistocene, a period in which the path of hominin evolution has been controversial.
La Brea Tar Pit fossil research shows climate change drove evolution of Ice Age predators PhysOrg - April 10, 2014
Concerns about climate change and its impact on the world around us are growing daily. New scientific studies at the La Brea Tar Pits are probing the link between climate warming and the evolution of Ice Age predators, attempting to predict how animals will respond to climate change today.
Bee Fossils Provide Rare Glimpse into Ice Age Environment Live Science - April 10, 2014
A new analysis of rare leafcutter-bee fossils excavated from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Southern California has provided valuable insight into the local environment during the last Ice Age. The La Brea Tar Pits, located in Los Angeles, contain the world's richest deposits of Ice Ace fossils, and are best known for their collection of saber-toothed cats and mammoths. In the new study, researchers used high-resolution micro-computed tomography (CT) scanners to analyze two fossils of leaf-cutter-bee nests excavated from the pits. By examining the nest cell architecture and the physical features of the bee pupae (stage of development where the bee transforms into an adult from a larva) within the leafy nests, and cross-referencing their data with environmental niche models that predict the geographic distribution of species, the scientists determined their Ice Age specimens belonged to Megachile gentilis, a bee species that still exists today.
How did we get four limbs? Because we have a belly Science Daily - January 28, 2014
As with any long-standing question in evolutionary biology, numerous ideas have been proposed to explain different aspects of the origin of paired appendages in vertebrates known as gnathostomes, which includes all living and extinct animals having both a backbone and jaw.
Survival of the prettiest: Sexual selection can be inferred from the fossil record PhysOrg - January 29, 2013
Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection. The term "sexual selection" refers to the evolutionary pressures that relate to a species' ability to repel rivals, meet mates and pass on genes. We can observe these processes happening in living animals but how do paleontologists know that sexual selection operated in fossil ones? Historically, paleontologists have thought it challenging, even impossible, to recognize sexual selection in extinct animals. Many fossil animals have elaborate crests, horns, frills and other structures that look like they were used in sexual display but it can be difficult to distinguish these structures from those that might play a role in feeding behavior, escaping predators, controlling body temperature and so on. However in their review, the scientists argue that clues in the fossil record can indeed be used to infer sexual selection.
New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution PhysOrg - October 3, 2012
Fossils discovered east of Africa's Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus - Homo - living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago. The finds, announced in the journal Nature, include a face, a complete lower jaw, and part of a second lower jaw.
Many human 'prototypes' coexisted in Africa BBC - August 9, 2012
Fossils from Northern Kenya show that a new species of human lived two million years ago, researchers say. The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa. The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from early primates to modern humans.
New Flat-Faced Human Species Possibly Discovered Live Science - August 8, 2012
New fossils from the dawn of the human lineage suggest our ancestors may have lived alongside a diversity of extinct human species, researchers say. Although modern humans, Homo sapiens, are the only human species alive today, the world has seen a number of human species come and go. Other members perhaps include the recently discovered "hobbit" Homo floresiensis. The human lineage, Homo, evolved in Africa about 2.5 million years ago, coinciding with the first evidence of stone tools. For the first half of the last century, conventional wisdom was that the most primitive member of our lineage was Homo erectus, the direct ancestor of our species. However, just over 50 years ago, scientists discovered an even more primitive species of Homo at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania they dubbed Homo habilis, which had a smaller brain and a more apelike skeleton.
New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution PhysOrg - August 8, 2012
Exciting new fossils discovered east of Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus - Homo - living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago. The finds, announced in the prestigious scientific journal Nature on August 9, include a face, a remarkably complete lower jaw, and part of a second lower jaw.
The mystery of how Earth's primordial soup came to life MSNBC - February 20, 2012
Just as species are believed to have evolved over time, the individual molecules that form the basis of life also likely developed in response to natural selection, scientists say. Life on Earth first bloomed around 3.7 billion years ago, when chemical compounds in a "primordial soup " somehow sparked into life, scientists suspect. But what turned sterile molecules into living, changing organisms? That's the ultimate mystery. By studying the evolution of not just life, but life's building blocks as well, researchers hope to come closer to the answer.
Humans Are Still Evolving, Study Says Live Science - October 4, 2011
Humans, like all other organisms on Earth, are subject to the pressures of evolution. New research suggests that even in relatively modern societies, humans are still changing and evolving in response to the environment.
Climatic Fluctuations Drove Key Events in Human Evolution, Researchers Find Science Daily - September 26, 2011
Research at the University of Liverpool has found that periods of rapid fluctuation in temperature coincided with the emergence of the first distant relatives of human beings and the appearance and spread of stone tools.
Skull points to a more complex human evolution in Africa BBC - September 16, 2011
Professor Chris Stringer compares one of the 13,000-year-old skulls (centre) with modern (l) and ancient (r) African fossils. Scientists have collected more evidence to suggest that ancient and modern humans interbred in Africa. Reanalysis of the 13,000-year-old skull from a cave in West Africa reveals a skull more primitive-looking than its age suggests.
Pre-human fossils viewed as 'game-changer' for evolution MSNBC - September 8, 2011
An analysis of 2 million-year-old bones found in South Africa offers the most powerful case so far in identifying the transitional figure that came before modern humans - findings some are calling a potential game-changer in understanding evolution.
Complex Life Emerged from Sea Earlier Than Thought Live Science - April 14, 2011
Life on Earth began in the oceans, but new fossils are showing that complex algae-like organisms left these salty seas earlier than thought, about 1 billion years ago, and spent more time evolving on land.
A new evolutionary history of primates PhysOrg - March 17, 2011
A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy. The genomes of living primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide an intriguing context for interpreting human evolution. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers to determine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features in genome divergence among primate lineages.
New Statistical Model Moves Human Evolution Back Three Million Years Science Daily - November 6, 2010
Evolutionary divergence of humans and chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists, a new statistical model suggests.
How plants drove animals to the land PhysOrg - September 30, 2010
A new study of ancient oxygen levels presents the first concrete evidence that after aquatic plants evolved and boosted the levels of oxygen aquatic life exploded, leading to fierce competition that eventually led some fish to try to survive on land.
Animal- Human Connection: Crucial in Human Evolution Science Daily - July 21, 2010
It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species -- "the animal connection" -- played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.
New hypothesis for human evolution and human nature PhysOrg - July 21, 2010
t's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species - "the animal connection" - played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.
South African fossils could be new hominid species BBC - April 9, 2010
The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. The fossils of a female adult and a juvenile male - perhaps mother and son - are just under two million years old. They were uncovered in cave deposits at Malapa not far from Johannesburg.
New species of early hominid found PhysOrg - April 6, 2010
A previously unknown species of hominid that lived in what is now South Africa around two million years ago has been found in the form of a fossilized skeleton of a child and several bones of adults. The new species may be a transitional stage between ape-like hominids and Homo habilis, the first recognizably human ancestor of Homo sapiens.
Scientists reveal driving force behind evolution PhysOrg - February 25, 2010
The team observed viruses as they evolved over hundreds of generations to infect bacteria. They found that when the bacteria could evolve defences, the viruses evolved at a quicker rate and generated greater diversity, compared to situations where the bacteria were unable to adapt to the viral infection.
Intelligent people have 'unnatural' preferences and values that are novel in human evolution PhysOrg - February 25, 2010
More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.
DNA evidence tells 'global story' of human history PhysOrg - February 22, 2010
In recent years, DNA evidence has added important new tools for scientists studying the human past. Now, a collection of reviews published by Cell Press in a special issue of Current Biology published online on February 22nd offers a timely update on how new genetic evidence, together with archaeological and linguistic evidence, has enriched our understanding of human history on earth.
Cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications PhysOrg - February 21, 2010
Cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications, says a Duke University expert on theological and biomedical ethics. Because the popular imagination filters science through cultural assumptions about race, cultural history should be an essential part of biomedical conversations.
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