Evolution articles

Genetic studies reveal diversity of early human populations – and pin down when we left Africa

Genetic studies reveal diversity of early human populations – and pin down when we left Africa

By George Busby, University of Oxford. Humans are a success story like no other. We are now living in the “Anthropocene” age, meaning much of what we see around us has been made or influenced by people. Amazingly, all humans alive today – from the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego on the southern tip of

Alligators Are Ancient: New Studies Show They Haven’t Evolved for Over 8 Million Years

While many of today’s top predators are more recent products of evolution, the modern American alligator is a reptile from another time. New research shows these prehistoric-looking creatures have remained virtually untouched by major evolutionary change for at least 8 million years, and may be up to 6 million years older than previously thought. Besides

Human History Tells Us That We are an Invasive Species

Human populations have not always grown unchecked. A new study of South America’s colonization finds that for much of human history on the continent, human populations grew like an invasive species, which is regulated by the environment as it spreads into new places. Populations grew exponentially when people first colonized South America. But then they crashed, recovered slightly,

Bigger Brains Seem to be an Extinction Risk

Many of the pressures that have put animal life on the precipice of the sixth mass extinction are easy to spot: pollution, climate change, over-hunting, fractured habitats. Now research suggests relative brain size could be another important factor. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, come as something of a surprise. Research

Myth of the ‘Missing Link’ in Evolution Does Science No Favors

Sean Nee, Pennsylvania State University This spring, the world learned of a newly discovered missing link between microbes and humans called Lokiarchaeota. The actual story is that the microbe Lokiarchaeota, discovered on the deep sea floor by a hydrothermal vent called Loki’s Castle, shares features with both bacteria and us. The spin is that this