Evolution

Fins to Limbs: New Fossil Gives Evolution Insight

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 1, 2004   View Article

Today researchers announced their discovery of a 365-million-year-old fossil limb bone of an ancient tetrapod. Tetrapods, including humans, are four-limbed animals with backbones. The fossil was found during road construction that revealed an ancient streambed.

Scientists say the find will help shed light on how early animals evolved limbs from fins. This crucial adaptation enabled Earth’s animal life to crawl from water to land.

New Theory: Universe Created by Intelligent Being

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 11, 2004   View Article

On any given starry night thousands, perhaps millions, of people crane their necks skyward and allow their minds to swirl around two fundamental questions: Are we alone, and why are we here?

According to a lawyer and science enthusiast in Portland, Oregon, not only is the universe full of life, but some of it may be intelligent beyond our wildest imagination. He also says that collectively as intelligent beings we are entwined in our ultimate destiny: to give birth to another universe.

Ancient Figurines Found – From First Modern Humans?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 17, 2003   View Article

Humans have had a refined artistic bent for at least 33,000 years, according to the discovery of three deftly carved ivory figurines in a cave in southwestern Germany. The miniature statues include a horse, a diving waterfowl, and a half-man, half-lion.

The figurines come from an ongoing excavation of Hohle Fels Cave in the Ach Valley and are dated to a time when some of the earliest known relatives of modern humans populated Europe, an era known as the Aurignacian.

Fossils Shed Light on Africa’s “Missing Years”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 3, 2003   View Article

A massive, ancient, rhino-like creature with two bony horns protruding from its nose and several species of distant elephant relatives are among a jackpot of fossils recovered from the highlands of Ethiopia.

The fossils help fill a huge gap in the evolutionary history of African mammals known as the “missing years,” shedding light on the origin and distribution of the famed beasts that roam Africa today.

Black Bears Adapting to City Living, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 26, 2003   View Article

Black bears (Ursus americanus) have efficiently adapted to the urban couch potato lifestyle, according to a recent study that compared urban and wild land bears in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada.

Given a readily available and replenishing food resource—garbage dumpsters—the urban bears are nearly a third less active and weigh up to thirty percent more than bears living in more wild areas, biologists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society report.

Baboon Study: Sociable Moms Have Healthier Young

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 13, 2003   View Article

Female baboons that enjoy the close company of others raise more successful offspring than do baboons who lead a more solitary life, according to results from an ongoing, long-term research project in Kenya.

“Social animals actually seem to spend a lot of time forming social bonds. They invest so much [effort] it’s hard to imagine that [social bonds] don’t matter. But no one had ever shown that they did,” said Susan Alberts, a biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and researcher behind the study.

Monkeflower Mutation Provides Evolution Insight

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 12, 2003   View Article

For years scientists have grappled to understand the number and type of genetic mutations required for a new species to evolve. Does it require the accumulation of many minute mutations? Or can a single mutation spark a big change?

Now researchers studying pink and red flowers in the monkeyflower (Mimulus) family have found a persuasive answer: A single mutation can recruit a whole new set of pollinators, serving as the fork in the road that leads to a new species.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach