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.
Blogs about evolution
An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a genetic research on the giraffe. An international team led by Professor Douglas Cavener of Penn State University sequenced the DNA of the giraffe and of the okapi, its closest living relative. A comparison extended to the genome of other mammals identified 70 genes linked to the giraffe’s evolutionary adaptations, including its long neck.
An article published in the journal “Development” describes a genetic study which suggests that the limbs of tetrapods, and consequently those of humans, might have evolved from the gills of cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and skates. A new analysis shows that a genetic program is shared between those gills and human limbs finding possible evidence to a theory that was discarded over a century ago.
An article published in the journal “Royal Society Open Science” describes a research that provides an explanation of the evolution of sauropod dinosaurs, the ones that become the biggest such as the famous brontosaurus. A team of paleontologists led by Dr. Karl Bates from the University of Liverpool developed computer models of their bodies to examine the evolution of their shapes.
An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a study that investigated a key moment in the evolution, when cells acquired mitochondria (image ©Wikigraphists of Atelier Graphique). Researchers Toni Gabaldón and Alexandros Pitis of the Centre for Genomic Regulation, an international institute for biomedical research based in Barcelona, Spain, conducted a study whose conclusions suggest that the acquisition of mitochondria came late in the evolution of cells.