Head skeletons of skate and shark showing gill arch appendages in red (Image Andrew Gillis)

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.

Mitochondria structure: 1 : inner membrane, 2 : outer membrane, 3 : Cristae, 4 : Matrix

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.

Ornithomimus skeleton at the Royal Ontario Museum

An article published in the journal “Cretaceous Research” describes the analysis of the fossilized remains of a skeleton of Ornithomimus, a dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous period, between 99.6 and 65.5 million years ago. This is the best example of this kind of dinosaurs found so far because the conservation of its feathers and skin is more extensive compared to the specimens previously found. Aaron van der Reest, the main author of the study, discovered these fossils in 2009 in the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.

It’s only been a few weeks since the announcement of the discovery of bones of Homo naledi, a new species related to modern humans. Found in a cave called Rising Star, about 50 km north-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, the bones have immediately been studied and two articles just published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes studies on the these hominids’ hands and feet.