Major changes in the chemical composition of the world’s oceans enabled the first large organisms – possibly some of the earliest animals – to exist and thrive more than half a billion years ago, marking the point when conditions on Earth changed and animals began to take over the world.
A study by scientists from the University of Cambridge has revealed how cooperative behaviour between insect family members changes how rapidly body size evolves – with the speed of evolution increasing when individual animals help one another.
A project exploring the role of East Africa in the evolution of modern humans has amassed the largest and most diverse collection of prehistoric bone harpoons ever assembled from the area. The collection offers clues about the behaviour and technology of prehistoric hunter-gatherers.
Fish embryo study indicates that the last common ancestor of vertebrates was a complex animal complete with gills – overturning prior scientific understanding and complementing recent fossil finds. The work places gill evolution concurrent with shift to self-propulsion in our earliest ancestors.
A tiny sea creature identified from fossils found in China may be the earliest known step on an evolutionary path that eventually led to the emergence of humans
A gene for red colour vision that originated in the reptile lineage around 250m years ago has resulted in the bright red bird feathers and ‘painted’ turtles we see today, and may be evidence that dinosaurs could see as many shades of red as birds - and perhaps even displayed more red than we might think.
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.