New Ant Species Found, Science News
One weird ant suggests lost world of ancient ants living underground. (...)
Its DNA may be even more interesting. Genetic analysis puts the new ant so far from other species that it deserves its own subfamily, Martialinae, (...).
Paleoanthropology: Brainy Babies And Risky Births For Neandertals, Science
Excerpts: As adults, the extinct Neandertals had brains and bodies larger than those of living people. But little has been known about their early brain development because few fossils have been found of Neandertal newborns or female pelves. A 1990 study of 10 Neandertal fossils between the ages of 2 and 10 found that their brain volumes were as large as those of modern humans. But the new study uses "amazing specimens" to provide the first data on infants, (...).
- Source: Paleoanthropology: Brainy Babies And Risky Births For Neandertals, Ann Gibbons, DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5895.1429, Science : Vol. 321. no. 5895, p. 1429, 08/09/12
Evolution: Dynamics Of Body Size Evolution, Science
Excerpts: Is bigger better? Does climate affect size? The processes controlling body size evolution remain unclear.
Body size is one of the simplest organismic traits one can measure, yet it correlates with almost every aspect of the biology of a species, from physiology and life history to ecology. So, not surprisingly, biologists have long been interested in understanding how body size evolves. Two things are obvious when one looks at the distribution of body sizes of species within large groups: The sizes span multiple orders of magnitude, and species are not distributed uniformly within this range.
- Source: Evolution: Dynamics Of Body Size Evolution, Kaustuv Roy, Science: 1451-1452., 08/09/12
The Evolution Of Superstitious And Superstition-Like Behaviour, Proc. Biol. Sc.
Excerpts: Superstitious behaviours, which arise through the incorrect assignment of cause and effect, receive considerable attention in psychology and popular culture. Perhaps owing to their seeming irrationality, however, they receive little attention in evolutionary biology. Here we develop a simple model to define the condition under which natural selection will favour assigning causality between two events. This leads to an intuitive inequality (...) that shows that natural selection can favour strategies that lead to frequent errors in assessment (...). (...) We conclude that behaviours which are, or appear, superstitious are an inevitable feature of adaptive behaviour in all organisms, including ourselves.
- Source: The Evolution Of Superstitious And Superstition-Like Behaviour, K. R. Foster, H. Kokko, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0981, Proceedings B: Biological Sciences, 2008/09/09
Anthropologists Develop New Approach To Explain Religious Behavior, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: Without a way to measure religious beliefs, anthropologists have had difficulty studying religion. Now, two anthropologists from the
Source: Anthropologists Develop New Approach To Explain Religious Behavior, ScienceDaily & University of Missouri-Columbia, 2008/09/10
Biologists Identify Genes Controlling Rhythmic Plant Growth, ScienceDaily
Excerpts: A team of biologists (...) has identified the genes that enable plants to undergo bursts of rhythmic growth at night and allow them to compete when their leaves are shaded by other plants. The researchers report (...) that these genes control the complex interplay of plant growth hormones, plant light sensors and circadian rhythms that permit plants to undergo rhythmic growth spurts at specific times of the day or year in response to varying levels of light and other environmental conditions. Their discovery (...) could eventually allow scientists to design crops that can grow substantially faster and produce more food than the most productive varieties today. (...)
- Source: Biologists Identify Genes Controlling Rhythmic Plant Growth, ScienceDaily & University of
- San Diego, 2008/09/19 California
Primordial Fish Had Rudimentary Fingers, PhysOrg.com
Excerpts: Tetrapods, the first four-legged land animals, are regarded as the first organisms that had fingers and toes. Now researchers at
Our fish ancestors evolved into the first four-legged animals, tetrapods, 380 million years ago. They are the forerunners of all birds, mammals, crustaceans, and batrachians. Since limbs and their fingers are so important to evolution, researchers have long wondered whether they appeared for the first time in tetrapods, or whether they had evolved from elements that already existed in their fish ancestors.
- Source: Primordial Fish Had Rudimentary Fingers, PhysOrg.com, 08/09/22
Biological Theory: Postmodern Evolution?, Nature
Excerpts: Over dinner at the meeting's end, Pigliucci expresses his hope of "moving from a gene-centric view of causality in evolution to a pluralist, multilevel causality". Postmodernists in the humanities call this 'decentering', and they are all for it. Over the course of the meeting, it's fairly clear that the means to this pluralist end are being sought through mixing and matching neglected ideas and old problems from biology's past with the latest experimental and analytical techniques.
- Source: Biological Theory: Postmodern Evolution?, John Whitfield, DOI: 10.1038/455281a, Nature 455, 281-284, 08/09/17
Network Scaling Reveals Consistent Fractal Pattern In Hierarchical Mammalian Societies, Biol. Lett.
- Source: Network Scaling Reveals Consistent Fractal Pattern In Hierarchical Mammalian Societies, R. A. Hill, R. A. Bentley, R. I. M. Dunbar, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0393, Biological Letters, 2008/09/02
Scientists Develop New Computational Method To Investigate Origin Of Life, ScienceDaily
- Source: Scientists Develop New Computational Method To Investigate Origin Of Life, ScienceDaily & Penn State, 2008/09/02
Multimodal Warning Signals For A Multiple Predator World, Nature
- Source: Multimodal Warning Signals For A Multiple Predator World, John M. Ratcliffe, Marie L. Nydam, DOI: 10.1038/nature07087, Nature 455, 96-99, 08/09/04
Big Data: Wikiomics, NatureExcerpts: Pioneering biologists are trying to use wiki-type web pages to manage and interpret data, reports Mitch Waldrop. But will the wider research community go along with the experiment? (...)
Scientists write review articles and textbooks to make sense of it all. But it's still not enough.
Hence the proliferation of wikis, which have the potential to vastly multiply the number of annotators and bring in the most interested expertise: "The best people to do annotation are the researchers in the laboratories, the people who are producing this knowledge in the first place,(...)."
- Source: Big Data: Wikiomics, Mitch Waldrop, DOI: 10.1038/455022a, Nature 455, 22-25, 08/09/03