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Latest Selection Stories

2009-12-09 20:02:03

Female birds in species that breed in groups can find themselves under pressure to sexually show off and evolve the same kinds of embellishments "“ like fanciful tail feathers or chest-puffing courtship dances - as males, according to new research in the latest issue of Nature (Dec. 10, 2009). "We've known it happens with females in some specialized cases, but it's probably more widespread than we ever realized before," said Irby Lovette, the Fuller Director of Evolutionary Biology at...

2009-11-26 14:26:59

Is speciation adaptive? Darwin suggested that the action of natural selection can produce new species, but 150 years after the publication of his famous book, 'On the Origin of Species', debate still continues on the mechanisms of speciation. New research finds sexual selection to greatly enlarge the scope for adaptive speciation by triggering a positive feedback between mate choice and ecological diversification that can eventually eliminate gene flow between species. By means of a...

2009-11-18 14:19:50

Males have more pronounced personalities than females across a range of species "“ from humans to house sparrows "“ according to new research. Consistent personality traits, such as aggression and daring, are also more important to females when looking for a mate than they are to males. Research from the University of Exeter draws together a range of studies to reveal the role that sexual selection plays in this disparity between males and females. The study shows that in most...

2009-11-16 16:55:19

Plants don't mind sharing space with their kin but when they're potted with strangers of the same species they start invigorating their leaves, a study by McMaster University reveals. The research, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Botany, suggests non-kin plants will not only compete underground for soil nutrients, but will attempt to muscle out the competition above ground in the ongoing struggle for light. It follows previous research from McMaster University...

2009-11-11 17:23:48

Ability of jewelweed to recognize 'relatives' from 'strangers' helps shift resources for growth The concept of altruism has long been debated in philosophical circles, and more recently, evolutionary biologists have joined the debate. From the perspective of natural selection, altruism may have evolved because any action that improves the likelihood of a relative's survival and reproduction increases the chance of an individual's DNA being passed on. Social behavior, kin recognition, and...

2009-07-23 09:32:15

In the animal kingdom, everything is not as it seems. Individuals of the same species can look very different from each other - what biologists term 'polymorphism.' Sometimes the number of distinct visible forms - 'exuberant polymorphisms' -- in a single animal population can reach double figures. But why?Scientists at the University of York have developed computer models that may help to explain how this level of variation arises and persists. Their research is reported in the latest issue...

2009-07-17 14:20:40

A modern approach to the formation of diverse species is developed without boundaries and ecosystem niches The tremendous diversity of life continues to puzzle scientists, long after the 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth. However, in recent years, consistent patterns of biodiversity have been identified over space, time organism type and geographical region. Two views of the process of "speciation" -- the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise -- dominates...

2009-06-16 08:02:19

Adam Jones, an evolutional biologist who has studied Darwin's work for years, says that Darwin's beliefs about the choice of mates and sexual selection being beyond mere chance have been proven correctCharles Darwin wrote about it 150 years ago: animals don't pick their mates by pure chance "“ it's a process that is deliberate and involves numerous factors. After decades of examining his work, experts agree that he pretty much scored a scientific bullseye, but a very big question is,...

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2009-06-05 08:30:00

New research indicates that natural selection may shape the human genome much more slowly than previously thought. Other factors -- the movements of humans within and among continents, the expansions and contractions of populations, and the vagaries of genetic chance "“ have heavily influenced the distribution of genetic variations in populations around the world. The study, conducted by a team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Chicago, the University of...

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2009-05-12 14:11:39

Rare traits persist in a population because predators detect common forms of prey more easily. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Ecology found that birds will target salamanders that look like the majority "“ even reversing their behavior in response to alterations in the ratio of a distinguishing trait. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, from the University of Tennessee, worked with Kim Shook and Reuben Izally to study the effects of the prevalence of a dorsal stripe among a group...


Word of the Day
virgule
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.
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