Researchers have discovered that one of humanity’s closest relatives also experiences menopause, contradicting a popular hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of this process. Continue reading Chimpanzees go through menopause, too
The ability to digest milk into adulthood has recently evolved in humans. What has driven this evolution? Scientists have found that the ability to digest could have helped ancient peoples survive famines and plagues. Continue reading Ability to digest milk could have helped ancient peoples survive famine
No one can escape aging. But scientists have found that turtles and tortoises live much longer and barely age compared to humans and other animals. Continue reading Turtles barely age compared to humans and other animals
by Misha Guptafigures by Xiaomeng Han For close to two centuries, humans have been studying the biological past using fossil records. In recent history, we have added the ability to reconstruct the sequence of our DNA to our arsenal. Furthermore, phylogenetic trees (structures that define the evolutionary relationships in the line of descent from a common ancestor) have been created for all manners of organisms, … Continue reading Viral Fossil Records: A Look into the Past! (and the Future?)
by Sanjana Kulkarnifigures by Corena Loeb The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) has been infecting humans for thousands of years. Today, TB, which is thought to have originated in Africa and evolved alongside human hosts, is found across the globe and causes 1-2 million deaths annually, making it the second leading infectious disease killer after COVID-19. As new COVID-19 variants keep emerging, we can observe the … Continue reading The Human-Tuberculosis Arms Race
by Piyush Nandafigures by Corena Loeb Around 600 million years ago, single-celled life transitioned to multicellular life forms, begetting a paradigm shift in the definition of life on earth. This was an event so remarkable in earth’s timeline that it would set the stage for the evolution of complex organisms, from sponges to the human body we each reside in. These complex life forms eventually … Continue reading Grand Evolutionary Transitions: The eruption of multicellularity
Commercial harvesting of plants may have forced them to evolve to camouflage and evade humans. Continue reading Plants Can Camouflage Too, and They’re Hiding from Us
by Sam Berry In 1918, a new influenza (flu) strain infected nearly a third of the world’s population, leaving tens of millions dead. At the time, relatively little was known about this strain, later called the Spanish Flu—why it was so dangerous, how it spread, even what it was made up of. In the past 100 years, we’ve unveiled the structure of the double-helical DNA … Continue reading What Can Evolution Teach us About the Viruses of the Future?
In 2007, during an excavation on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, archeologist Armand Salvador Mijares discovered a 67,000-year-old foot bone that led scientists to rethink the history of human evolution. The bone had features resembling hominins—a subfamily of primates comprised of modern Homo sapiens and others closely related human species. The finding provided the earliest direct evidence of human presence in the Philippines, … Continue reading Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines
The Church lab at Harvard University recently announced plans to create a hybrid mammoth and elephant. Using a technology called CRISPR, researchers in the Church lab have learned how to insert mammoth DNA into the cells of modern elephants. Theoretically, this could set the stage for developing an embryo with DNA from both a modern elephant and the woolly mammoth. The group would like to … Continue reading Could Woolly Mammoths Walk Again?