It has been a quarter century since corn and soybeans were engineered to withstand the withering mists of the herbicide glyphosate. Initially heralded as a "silver bullet" for weed control, the modified crops and their herbicide companion were quickly and widely adopted across corn and soybean-growing regions of North America. In the following years, though, weeds targeted for eradication quietly fomented a rebellion.
Takahē are a striking bird and a national treasure in Aotearoa New Zealand. But the history and origin story of this flightless swamp hen have become a point of scientific debate.
A research team, led by scientists at the University of York, mapped the family tree of the ferocious ambush-predators and their extinct relatives known as Pseudosuchia. They then compared this with data from the fossil record to understand why crocodiles have so few living species, while there are 11,000 species of their closest living relatives, birds.
Contrary to current understanding, the brains of human newborns aren't significantly less developed compared to other primate species, but appear so because so much brain development happens after birth, finds a new study led by University College London researchers.
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on December 4 have found the earliest-known fossil mosquito in Lower Cretaceous amber from Lebanon. What's more, the well-preserved insects are two males of the same species with piercing mouthparts, suggesting they likely sucked blood. That's noteworthy because, among modern-day mosquitoes, only females are hematophagous, meaning that they use piercing mouthparts to feed on the blood of people and other animals.
A trio of researchers with varied backgrounds is suggesting in an article published in the journal Communications Biology that eating naturally fermented foods may have led to an increase in brain size for early humans. In their paper, Katherine Bryant, an evolutionary neuroscientist at Aix-Marseille Université, Christi Hansen, a dietician at Hungry Heart Farm and Dietary Consulting, and Erin Hecht, a biologist at Harvard University, suggest that eating naturally fermenting foods may also have led to a decrease in the size of the colon.
New genetic research has revealed how British otters were able to recover from species loss in the 1950s with the help of their counterparts from Asia.
The rapid diversification of animals over 500 million years ago—often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion—saw the appearance of the first large swimming predators in our oceans. Amplectobelua symbrachiata, a member of the group Radiodonta, which are relatives of modern arthropods, was the largest of these, reaching nearly one meter in length, and can be easily recognized by their fearsome spiny feeding appendages.
By studying the skull shapes of dipsadine snakes, researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have found how these species of snakes in Central and South America have evolved and adapted to meet the demands of their habitats and food sources.
In today's medical landscape, antibiotics are pivotal in combating bacterial infections. These potent compounds, produced by bacteria and fungi, act as natural defenses against microbial attacks. A team of researchers delved into the intricate world of glycopeptide antibiotics—a vital resource in countering drug-resistant pathogens—to uncover their evolutionary origins.
Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are hot springs on the ocean floor. Sea water penetrates into the ocean crust, becomes heated, and rises to the seafloor surface carrying dissolved nutrients. Around these vents, far from any sunlight, vibrant biological communities are found. Here, microbes play the role of primary producers through chemosynthesis—similar to the role that plants play on land through photosynthesis.
Plants regulate their development with a distinct group of molecular players. ROP proteins, a group of plant-specific proteins, are known to control plant tissue formation. Now, Hugh Mulvey and Liam Dolan at the GMI show that ROP proteins evolved at the transition between unicellular and multicellular plant life. The findings were published on November 30 in the journal Current Biology.