Robert Foley (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology) discusses the cumulative processes by which we became human.
Over the last fifty years, long-term studies following individual animals over entire lifespans have allowed insight into the evolutionary influence of social behaviour – finally fulfilling the holistic approach to evolution first suggested by Darwin, argues the author of a new milestone work on mammal societies.
Heliconius butterflies have evolved bright yellow colours to deter predators, while peppered moths famously turned black to hide from birds. A new study reveals that the same gene causes both, raising fascinating questions about how evolution by natural selection occurs in these species.
A symbiotic relationship that has existed since the time of the dinosaurs is at risk of ending, as habitat loss and environmental change mean that a species of Australian crayfish and the tiny worms that depend on them are both at serious risk of extinction.
Latest research suggests a new mechanism for how sexual displays of red beaks and plumage might be ‘honest signals’ of mate quality, as genes that convert yellow dietary pigments into red share cofactors with enzymes that aid detoxification – hinting that redness is a genetic sign of the ability to better metabolise harmful substances.
A study of butterflies suggests that when a species adapts, other parts of its genetic make-up can be linked to that adaptation, limiting diversity in the population.
The flexible physiology of Barbary macaques in responding to extreme environmental conditions of their natural habitat may help shed light on the mechanisms that allowed our ancestors to thrive outside Africa, say researchers. New study also presents the first evidence for male primates boosting their metabolic physiology for mating.
Latest analysis shows that human limbs share a genetic programme with the gills of cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and skates, providing evidence to support a century-old theory on the origin of limbs that had been widely discounted.
Giles Yeo (MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit) discusses the origins of lactose intolerance.
The earliest example of an organism living on land – an early type of fungus – has been identified. The organism, from 440 million years ago, likely kick-started the process of rot and soil formation, which encouraged the later growth and diversification of life on land.