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How old are your organs? To scientists’ surprise, organs are a...

Anatomy model with internal organs (stock image). Credit: © Alexander Borisenko / Adobe Stock Scientists once thought that neurons, or possibly heart cells, were the oldest cells in the body. Now, Salk Institute researchers have discovered that the mouse brain, liver and pancreas contain populations of cells and proteins with extremely long lifespans -- some…

Is sex primarily a strategy against transmissible cancer?

Illustration of sperm cells fertilizing egg cell (stock image). Credit: © nobeastsofierce / Adobe Stock One of the greatest enigmas of evolutionary biology is that while sex is the dominant mode of reproduction among multicellular organisms, asexual reproduction appears much more efficient and less costly. However, in a study publishing on June 6 in the…

An island haven for frogs in a sea of extinctions

Coast of New Guinea (stock image). Credit: © Byelikova Oksana / Adobe Stock New Guinea is one of the only places in the world where frogs are safe from the species-destroying chytrid fungus. An international team of scientists has published a new paper that shows how to keep it that way, but they need help…

First-ever spider glue genes sequenced, paving way to next biomaterials breakthrough

Spider building web (stock image). Credit: © ian / Adobe Stock UMBC postdoctoral fellow Sarah Stellwagen and co-author Rebecca Renberg at the Army Research Lab have published the first-ever complete sequences of two genes that allow spiders to produce glue -- a sticky, modified version of spider silk that keeps a spider's prey stuck in…

Ancient DNA sheds light on Arctic hunter-gatherer migration to North America...

Illustration of Chukotka, Alaska and the Bering Strait (stock image). Credit: © Anton Balazh / Adobe Stock New research reveals the profound impact of Arctic hunter-gathers who moved from Siberia to North America about 5,000 years ago on present-day Native Americans. Although this group is well-known from archaeology and ancient DNA, previous genetic studies suggested…

DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new group...

Depiction of Ice Age people (stock image). Credit: © anibal / Adobe Stock Two children's milk teeth buried deep in a remote archaeological site in north eastern Siberia have revealed a previously unknown group of people lived there during the last Ice Age. The finding was part of a wider study which also discovered 10,000…

New sub-species of pilot whale identified in Pacific Ocean

Short-finned pilot whales (stock image). Credit: © Piotr Wawrzyniuk / Adobe Stock Short-finned pilot whales are found over a wide swath of the world's oceans, with habitats in the Indian, and Pacific, and North Atlantic oceans. Despite this wide distribution, the whales have been recognized as a single species -- but a recent study has…

Plant lineage points to different evolutionary playbook for temperate species

Gooseberries on a branch (stock image). Credit: © ChrWeiss / Adobe Stock An ancient, cosmopolitan lineage of plants is shaking up scientists' understanding of how quickly species evolve in temperate ecosystems and why. Many researchers have thought new species evolve in tandem with the development of different physical characteristics and the appearance of new kinds…

Sponges collect penguin, seal, and fish DNA from the water they...

Sea sponges, Aplysina aerophoba (stock image). Credit: © damedias / Adobe Stock Just like humans leave DNA in the places we inhabit, water-dwelling animals leave DNA behind in the water column. In a paper published June 3 in the journal Current Biology, scientists report that sponges, which can filter 10,000 liters of water daily, catch…

Feathers came first, then birds

Feather (stock image). Credit: © IdeeID / Adobe Stock New research, led by the University of Bristol, suggests that feathers arose 100 million years before birds -- changing how we look at dinosaurs, birds, and pterosaurs, the flying reptiles. It also changes our understanding of feathers themselves, their functions and their role in some of…

Oldest flaked stone tools point to the repeated invention of stone...

Ethiopia map (stock image). Credit: © Sean Gladwell / Adobe Stock A new archaeological site discovered by an international and local team of scientists working in Ethiopia shows that the origins of stone tool production are older than 2.58 million years ago. Previously, the oldest evidence for systematic stone tool production and use was 2.58…

Sponges collect penguin, seal, and fish DNA from the water they...

Sea sponges, Aplysina aerophoba (stock image). Credit: © damedias / Adobe Stock Just like humans leave DNA in the places we inhabit, water-dwelling animals leave DNA behind in the water column. In a paper published June 3 in the journal Current Biology, scientists report that sponges, which can filter 10,000 liters of water daily, catch…

New records show spread of parasitic deer flies across the United...

Deer (stock image). Credit: © Martina / Adobe Stock With flattened bodies, grabbing forelegs and deciduous wings, deer keds do not look like your typical fly. These parasites of deer -- which occasionally bite humans -- are more widely distributed across the U.S. than previously thought, according to Penn State entomologists, who caution that deer…

Iconic Australian working dog may not be part dingo after all

Australian kelpie. Credit: © everydoghasastory / Adobe Stock Researchers at the University of Sydney have found no genetic evidence that the iconic Australian kelpie shares canine ancestry with a dingo, despite Australian bush myth. The paper, published in the journal Genes, is the first peer-reviewed study of its kind to find that the domestic and…

Declining fertility rates may explain Neanderthal extinction

Neanderthal depiction (stock image). Credit: © procy_ab / Adobe Stock A new hypothesis for Neanderthal extinction supported by population modelling is put forward in a new study by Anna Degioanni from Aix Marseille Université, France and colleagues, published May 29, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The lack of empirical data allowing testing of…

Ancient DNA tells the story of the first herders and farmers...

Shepherd and goats (stock image). Credit: © kubikactive / Adobe Stock A collaborative study led by archaeologists, geneticists and museum curators is providing answers to previously unsolved questions about life in sub-Saharan Africa thousands of years ago. The results were published online in the journal Science Thursday, May 30. Researchers from North American, European and…

Transgenic fungus rapidly killed malaria mosquitoes in West African study

Mosquito (stock image). Credit: © mycteria / Adobe Stock According to the World Health Organization, malaria affects hundreds of millions of people around the world, killing more than 400,000 annually. Decades of insecticide use has failed to control mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite and has led to insecticide-resistance among many mosquito strains. In response,…

Pain free, thanks to evolution

Wasabi (stock image). Credit: © karin / Adobe Stock African mole-rats are insensitive to many different kinds of pain. As an international research team led by the MDC's Gary Lewin reports in Science, this characteristic has even allowed mole-rats to populate new habitats. Thanks to a genetic change, the highveld mole-rat is able to live…

Early humans used northern migration routes to reach eastern Asia

Traditional Mongolian gers (stock image). Credit: © evyamcs / Adobe Stock Northern and Central Asia have been neglected in studies of early human migration, with deserts and mountains being considered uncompromising barriers. However, a new study by an international team argues that humans may have moved through these extreme settings in the past under wetter…

Could some chimps’ crustacean crave yield clues about human evolution?

Chimpanzee (stock image). Credit: © Pascal Martin / Adobe Stock Why do we fish? At some point eons ago, our primarily fruit-eating ancestors put their hands in the water to catch and eat aquatic life, inadvertently supplementing their diet with nutrients that initiated a brain development process that eventually led to us. But how did…

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