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Latest Michael Alfaro Stories

The Most Social Monkeys Have The Most Distinct Facial Features
2013-11-20 15:05:36

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new study of Old World monkeys, published in the journal Nature Communications, has suggested that they rely on facial features to recognize each other, particularly for those primates living in larger groups. The new report comes from the same UCLA biologists that released a similar analysis of the faces of nearly 130 New World monkeys from Central and South America in 2012. "Humans are crazy for Facebook, but our research...

Why Do Some Younger Animal Families Have More Species Tha Older Families?
2012-08-29 13:30:11

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Basic logic would suggest that the longer a species is around–the more time it has to adapt and evolve, eventually sprouting another whole branch on the tree of life. However, that may not necessarily be the case according to a team of American biologists who just completed an evolutionary survey that accounted for around 1.2 million species. "When we look across the tree of life, the age of the group tells us almost nothing...

2012-01-12 12:22:16

Why are the faces of primates so dramatically different from one another? UCLA biologists working as "evolutionary detectives" studied the faces of 129 adult male primates from Central and South America, and they offer some answers in research published today, Jan. 11, in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The faces they studied evolved over at least 24 million years, they report. "If you look at New World primates, you're immediately struck by...

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2011-02-02 21:53:09

Biologists from the UCLA Division of Life Sciences have reported the first quantitative evidence for an evolutionary link between habitat and body size in turtles and tortoises. The study, whose lead author is a high school student volunteer in the laboratory of UCLA evolutionary biologist Michael Alfaro, is currently available online in Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society. It will appear in a print edition later this year. Turtles and tortoises, also called chelonians,...

2010-05-28 18:02:36

Whales are remarkably diverse, with 84 living species of dramatically different sizes and more than 400 other species that have gone extinct, including some that lived partly on land. Why are there so many whale species, with so much diversity in body size? To answer that, UCLA evolutionary biologists and a colleague used molecular and computational techniques to look back 35 million years, when the ancestor of all living whales appeared, to analyze the evolutionary tempo of modern whale...

2009-07-29 09:50:00

Mammals and many species of birds and fish are among evolution's "winners," while crocodiles, alligators and a reptile cousin of snakes known as the tuatara are among the losers, according to new research by UCLA scientists and colleagues."Our results indicate that mammals are special," said Michael Alfaro, a UCLA assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the research.The study, published July 24 in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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