Blogs about evolution

Reconstruction of Allkauren koi (Image courtesy Gabriel Lío. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the discovery of a new species of pterosaur that was called Allkauren koi from the early Jurassic period. A team of scientists discovered a partial skeleton in the Cañadón Asfalto Formation, in the province of Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina, with a braincase in excellent conditions. For this reason its study can provide new information about the origins and evolution of these flying reptiles.

Markers of wrists and digits in a mouse (left) and in a fish fin rays (right) (Image courtesy Shubin laboratory)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the evolution of from fins to hands. A team of scientists coordinated by paleontologist and developmental biologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago, Illinois, used the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic engineering technique to show that the same cells that generate fish fin rays have a central role in the formation of tetrapods fingers and toes.

Reconstruction of Echovenator sandersi and its inner ear (Image courtesy A. Gennari 2016. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes a research on an ancient cetacean called Echovenator sandersi that shows how these marine mammals’ ultrasonic hearing is very ancient. A team of scientists led by Morgan Churchill of New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York, used modern scanning techniques to analyze the very well preserved ear of a fossil dating from the Oligocene period.

Culex Molestus, the London Underground mosquito

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” describes a research on the influence of human activities on the evolution of various species of animals and the plants. According to a team of researchers from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with the University of Queensland, humans they are causing the emergence of new species but they can’t replace those that are getting extinct.

Sclerocormus parviceps complete (a), in close-ups (b, c, d) and in reconstructions (e, f, g, h)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the analysis of an ichthyosauriform reptile that lived at the beginning of the Triassic period, about 248 million years ago, in today’s Anhui province in China. Called Sclerocormus parviceps, it has very different characteristics from most other members of the same group. This shows that those marine reptiles had rapidly evolved and diversified after the great extinction at the end of the Permian period, far quicker than previously thought.