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- The Mars Rover Opportunity set the driving distance record for a human vehicle on another world
- A successful launch for the ATV-5 Georges Lemaître space cargo ship going to the International Space Station
- Byron Scott is the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach
- Maske: Thaery by Jack Vance
- Google launches the Baseline Study project to create a portrait of a person in perfect health
Tag Archives: Evolution
The discovery of new fossils of Metaspriggina walcotti allowed to shed light on the origin of some of the characteristics of the chordates, animals with a backbone structure which in vertebrates has become the spine. It’s an animal lived about 500 million years ago, during the Middle Cambrian period. Due to their worm-like appearance and a length that could reach 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches), they don’t seem like much but they could be the ancestors of all vertebrates living today.
The Burgess Shale is an area in Canada very well known in the world of paleontology because it represents an extraordinary reservoir of fossils from the Middle Cambrian, which is about five hundred million years ago. In 2012, in Kootenay National Park, about 40 km from the original site, a new deposit of fossils was discovered described in a paper just published in the journal “Nature Communications”.
A team of paleontologists led by Professor Neil Shubin from the University of Chicago published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” the results of a research on Tiktaalik roseae. It’s a species that lived during the Devonian period, about 375 million years ago, which is a transitional form between fish and legged animals. This research highlights the adaptation of the hind fins of this animal, showing that it had already started in fish.
The sequencing of the genome of the amborella trichopoda (photo ©Scott Zona) helped solve the mystery of the appearance of flowering plants during the Cretaceous. Charles Darwin called it an abominable mystery due to the difficulty of understanding how plants evolved to result in the birth of the flowers. The Amborella Genome Project, which also published online the DNA sequences of this plant, has uncovered a horizontal gene transfer from other organisms.
A team of scientists led by Dr. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has almost completely sequenced the mitochondrial DNA taken from a femur of a hominid who lived about 400,000 years ago. It’s the oldest hominid DNA sequenced so far and gave unexpected results, revealing a genetic connection with the Denisova, a population of hominids still poorly known.
An international team coordinated by the Broad Institute, a research center affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, announced they have completed the sequencing of the genome of a coelacanth, a fish that was thought to be extinct until 1938, when a living specimen was found. Continue reading