evolution

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Did US Experts Just Resolve 'Darwin's Dilemma'?

He was bugged by the speed of evolution

(Newser) - Charles Darwin worried about a possible hole in his theory of evolution, but some American scientists may just have plugged it. For about a billion years after the dawn of life on Earth, organisms didn't evolve all that much. Then about 600 million years ago came the "Cambrian... More »

Insects Made History 400M Years Ago

They were first to grow wings, rule the skies

(Newser) - Want human beings to feel a massive ego-boost? Then look elsewhere, because a ground-breaking study published by Science finds that insects ruled the Earth about 400 million years ago and grew wings long before any other animal, reports Heritage Daily . They cropped up as plants began diversifying, in fact, and... More »

Here's How Penises Evolved

Scientists identify link between genitalia and growth of limbs

(Newser) - Most guys probably don't sit around the locker room pondering the finer points of how the male penis evolved, so leave this one to Harvard researchers: The mystery is solved thanks to … lizard limbs. Yup, Harvard scientists investigating the origin of external genitalia have found a link relating... More »

Amphibious 'Sea Monster' Made the Move to Water

Ancient ichthyosaur reveals missing link to evolutionary record

(Newser) - Scientists have found a real, not-live "sea monster" they say finally fills an evolutionary gap between sea and land dwellers around the time of the dinosaurs. Cartorhynchus lenticarpus—imagine a dolphin with huge flippers and a short snout—made waves in what is now China 248 million years ago,... More »

'Punxsutawney Phil on Steroids' Is Unearthed

'Vintana sertichi' dwarfed other mammals of its day

(Newser) - Back in the dinosaurs' day, mammals were the size of mice. But towering above them was one beefy rodent that one scientist calls "Punxsutawney Phil on steroids"—with super senses to boot. The 20-pound Vintana sertichi was accidentally found in a giant slab of sandstone in Madagascar, reports... More »

Pope Francis: Sorry, Creationists, God Has No 'Magic Wand'

God isn't a 'magician,' and the Big Bang makes sense, he says

(Newser) - Pope Francis has some bad news for creationists and those who believe in the theory of intelligent design: He thinks both camps are wrong. In remarks to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Francis embraced the concepts of evolution and the Big Bang theory in straightforward language, reports the Independent .
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Whales Got So Big After Super-Sized Shark Died Out

Megalodon died out 2.6M years ago, scientists estimate

(Newser) - Great white sharks have nothing on the ancient megalodon, which grew up to 50 feet in length and sported teeth as long as 7 inches. And now scientists have their firmest timeframe yet for when the creature went extinct. Scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville report this week... More »

Macho Men Have So-So Sperm

Tradeoff between looks and virility might be at play, says study

(Newser) - Macho guys may attract more women, but the quality of their sperm might not be of he-man standards, a new study suggests. Oddly, the sperm of good-looking guys—but not necessarily macho ones with square jaws and distinct cheekbones—is just fine, reports Medical Daily . The link was found when... More »

'Hallucigenia' Fossil Mystery Cracked

Surreal Cambrian creature has modern relatives

(Newser) - After four decades of confusion, scientists have finally figured out how to classify a creature so surreal it was given the name Hallucigenia. The tiny creature, found in fossils from the "Cambrian Explosion" of diverse life 500 million years ago, has 14 to 16 legs and large spikes on... More »

Why 5 Siblings Walk on All Fours and Can't Stand Up

Scientists call into question a 'reverse evolution' theory about the Turkish family

(Newser) - Some people walk on all fours for fun, or for sport, but not for long stretches and certainly not for ease of mobility. Yet five siblings in a family of 19 in Hatay, Turkey, walk not just primarily but only on all fours, and lack the balance to do otherwise.... More »

Triceratops Horns Were 1M Years in Making

Large nasal horn they are so famous for wasn't always so big

(Newser) - The rhino-like Triceratops, Greek for "three-horned face," didn't always embody its name in way we picture it doing. By comparing 50 skulls collected over a 15-year period from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, paleontologists have learned that it took between 1 million and 2 million years... More »

Scientists Unravel Mystery of Electric Fish's Jolt

6-foot electric eel is 6-inch fish attached to a 5.5-foot cattle prod

(Newser) - For the first time, scientists have assembled the complete genome of an electric fish—the potent South American electric eel—and in doing so have identified something much larger: Exactly how this fish, along with electric fish from other families, evolved to create their jolt-delivering organ. The findings, out of... More »

Skulls From 'Pit of Bones' May Hold Evolution Clues

Neanderthals may have developed their distinctive jaws before their brains got big

(Newser) - Since 1984, scientists have been carefully removing, assembling, and analyzing thousands of bone fragments from the aptly-named "Pit of Bones" cave in Spain, home to the largest collection of ancient human fossils ever found. Now, they say their analysis of 17 skulls thought to be some 430,000 years... More »

5 Terms Scientists Wish You'd Stop Screwing Up

There are times when scientists are speaking a different language than the rest of us

(Newser) - Ah, science. It's ever-present in our pop-culture, and its words and phrases have become part of our everyday vernacular. There's just one problem: Scientists mostly can't stand it, because we mostly get everything wrong. Io9 asked some scientists which misuses drive them the most crazy. Here are... More »

Male Face Evolved to Take Punches

Facial bones grew stronger after first fists evolved

(Newser) - The faces of today's men would be different if our ancestors hadn't spent countless thousands of years slugging it out with their newly evolved fists, scientists say. Researchers studying australopiths, human predecessors who lived 4 million to 5 million years ago, found that male faces evolved to become... More »

Dinosaurs Survived by Shrinking

10K dinosaur species live on 'in form of birds,' says study author

(Newser) - How many dinosaur species roam the Earth today? "About 10,000 ... in the form of birds," says Oxford paleontologist Robert Benson, one of the authors of a study published in Plos Biology that clarifies dinosaurs' evolutionary path. As Astrobiology explains (and as you may be thinking), the belief... More »

Majority of Americans Doubt the Big Bang

Poll shows 51% Americans unsure

(Newser) - Americans aren't really sold on scientific consensus. A new AP-Gfk poll finds that while the public generally believes scientists on issues of personal health—just 4%, for example, doubt that smoking causes cancer—there's widespread doubt on bigger picture subjects. A slim majority (51%) said they doubted the... More »

Ancestor of All Animals: the Sponge?

They made deep sea oxygen-rich, researchers say

(Newser) - Sea sponges don't get much respect—or even much use as sponges any more—but humans and every other complex animal on the planet may owe our existence to them, according to new research. Scientists believe primitive versions of the filter-feeders, which can survive in water with very low... More »

Ants Sacrifice Their Young During Floods

But other species, like bees and tamarins, will do the same

(Newser) - Guided by evolution, most species protect their young and let older ones die off in a crisis—right? Not in the case of ants, according to a study in PLoS One . When water washes out an ants' nest, the vulnerable larvae and pupae become life rafts, and queens are allowed... More »

Creationist: Bill Nye Gave Us Funding 'Miracle'

Their debate aroused interest in Noah's Ark theme park

(Newser) - Bill Nye must be rolling his eyes about now. His debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham aroused so much attention last month that the museum's proposed Noah's Ark theme park got much-needed funding at the last minute, NPR reports. "It was a challenging time, one that... More »

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