Evolution

Massive Genetic Study Supports “Out of Africa” Theory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 21, 2008   View Article

A massive new study of human genetic diversity reveals surprising insights into our species’ evolution and migrations—including support for the theory that the first modern humans originated in Africa—scientists said today.

Researchers compared 650,000 genetic markers in nearly a thousand individuals from 51 populations around the globe—an unprecedented level of detail for a human genetic study.

“Hobbits” May Have Been Genetic Mutants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 3, 2008   View Article

A rare disease characterized by small brain and body size but near normal intelligence is caused by mutations in a gene coding for the protein pericentrin, researchers have found.

The scientists speculate that the condition may explain the tiny, hobbitlike people that occupied a remote, Indonesian island about 18,000 years ago—adding fuel to the debate over whether the unusual creatures were a new species or just diseased modern humans.

Human Evolution Speeding Up, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 11, 2007   View Article

Explosive population growth is driving human evolution to speed up around the world, according to a new study.

The pace of change accelerated about 40,000 years ago and then picked up even more with the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, the study says.

“Hobbit” Human Was Unique Species, Wrist Bones Suggest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 20, 2007   View Article

The proof is in the wrist: The “hobbit” human found on the Indonesian island of Flores is indeed a unique species, not a diseased modern human, a new bone analysis suggests.

Since the discovery of the hobbit’s remains was announced in 2004, researchers have debated whether the find represent a new, small-bodied species called Homo floresiensis or a diseased modern human.

Kenyan Fossils May Add New Branch to Human Family Tree

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 8, 2007   View Article

A pair of fossils recently discovered in Kenya is challenging the straight-line story of human evolution.

Traditional evolutionary theories of the genus Homo suggest a successive progression: Homo habilis gave rise to Homo erectus, which then begat modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Jaws, Teeth of Earliest Bony Fish Discovered

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 1, 2007   View Article

Fossils of sardine-size fish that swam in ancient oceans are the earliest examples of vertebrates with teeth that grow from their jawbones, according to new a new study.

The fish, which lived 420 million years ago, are a “very modest” beginning for the jaw-and-tooth pattern widespread in nature today, said study co-author Philippe Janvier, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France.

Penguins Changed Diet Due to Whaling, Study Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 20, 2007   View Article

Extensive whale and seal hunting in Antarctica over the past 200 years appears to have triggered a shift in the diet of Adélie penguins, a new study suggests.

The seabirds abandoned fish in favor of krill, shrimp-like crustaceans that are a major component in the diets of fur seals and baleen whales.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach