Tag Archives | evolution

Placing comb jellies, such as these, as the relative to all animals changes our view of how complex features evolved. Image Credit: Tracie Hall, Flickr

Debate over Earliest Animal Relative Raises Questions of How Complexity Evolved

A new study published this October in Nature Ecology and Evolution closed a chapter on a decade-long debate in biology and raises questions about how we view the evolution of complex animal traits. Since 2008, biologists have argued whether sponges or comb jellies, marine jelly-like animals also called ctenophores (pronounced: TEEN-oh-fores), are the earliest relative…

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Kurz and Allison’s 1891 representation of the Battle of Franklin (November 30, 1864) during the American Civil War. Image credit: U.S. Library of Congress.

Perpetual War

In the American Civil War, the United States fought itself in a bloody struggle that dragged on for four years. A new study out of the University of California, Santa Cruz shines light on an even longer – and seemingly endless – conflict within ourselves. This internal struggle takes place within our genome, between an…

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Bristletail sensilla (left) lack the grooves that often house olfactory neurons, which contrasts with those in firebrats (middle) and leaf insects (right).  Missbach et al. eLife (2014).

When Did Insects Learn to Smell?

Summer beckons in the northern latitudes. As temperatures warm, beachgoers will flood sandy coasts, carrying bags of potato chips and sandwiches. Picnics will sprout in parks supplied with pink watermelon wedges and soda pop. Feasts ripe for people, and undoubtedly bugs too. In mere seconds flies and bees can swarm, but how do they sniff…

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