Curious Kids: How did some animals evolve wings to fly?

Today's birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs.

Matthew Wills, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath • conversation
Oct. 22, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: evolution birds dinosaurs feathered-dinosaurs curious-kids

Life on Earth: why we may have the Moon's now defunct magnetic field to thank for it

The Earth's magnetic field was most likely weaker when life evolved on our planet than it is today.

Jon Mound, Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of Leeds • conversation
Oct. 15, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: evolution atmosphere moon earth sun magnetism magnetic-fields life-on-earth solar-winds

South America is filled with mammals of North American origin but not vice versa – and scientists have figured out why

Why were mammals travelling south through newly-formed Panama so much more successful than those heading north?

Christine Janis, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Bristol • conversation
Oct. 6, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: evolution mammals panama biogeography

Evolution on the smallest of scales smooths out the patchwork patterns of where plants and animals live

Local adaptation allows plants and animals to thrive in a diversity of places. Sometimes adaptation sharpens patterns of where organisms live, but 85% of the time, it creates a more homogeneous world.

Mark C. Urban, Director, Center of Biological Risk; Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~10 min

Tags: evolution environment ecology trees forests charles-darwin adaptation

Chimpanzees in volatile habitats evolved to behave more flexibly – it could help them weather climate change

As in humans, environmental changes provoked chimpanzees to develop a diverse range of behaviours.

Fiona Stewart, Visiting Lecturer in Primatology, Liverpool John Moores University • conversation
Sept. 15, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: evolution climate-change human-evolution forests grasslands savanna behaviour

When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

Artefacts suggest a ‘great leap’, a recent evolution of modern intelligence. Fossils and DNA argue that’s an illusion.

Nick Longrich, Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Paleontology, University of Bath • conversation
Sept. 9, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: evolution anthropology human-evolution archaeology fossils intelligence

Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead bodies, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead people, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

Humans aren't inherently selfish – we're actually hardwired to work together

The 'good' side of our nature is much more deep-rooted than the 'evil' side.

Steve Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Leeds Beckett University • conversation
Aug. 20, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: evolution psychology primates racism evolutionary-psychology early-humans modern-humans selfishness

Mysterious evolution of wonky whale skulls revealed by new study

How we worked out when whales first evolved asymmetrical skulls.

Ellen Coombs, PhD Candidate in Biosciences, UCL • conversation
July 28, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: evolution fossils whales cetaceans animal-evolution

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