Why do we laugh? New study considers possible evolutionary reasons behind this very human behavior

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain A woman in labor is having a terrible time and suddenly shouts out: “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!” “Don’t worry,” says the doctor. “These are just contractions.” Until now, several theories have sought to explain what makes something funny enough to make us laugh. These include transgression (something forbidden), puncturing a … Read more

380-million-year-old heart illuminates evolutionary history

The Gogo fish fossil where the 380-million-year-old, 3D preserved heart was discovered by researchers. Pictured at the WA Museum. Credit: Yasmine Phillips, Curtin University Researchers have discovered a 380-million-year-old heart—the oldest ever found—alongside a separate fossilized stomach, intestine and liver in an ancient jawed fish, shedding new light on the evolution of our own bodies. … Read more

Idea of ​​ice age ‘species pump’ in the Philippines boosted by new way of drawing evolutionary trees

What looks like a “relaxed” attitude on the face of this Philippine Gekko may actually be a new way to see evolutionary trees. Credit: Rafe Brown and Jason Fernandez Does the astonishing biodiversity in the Philippines result in part from rising and falling seas during the ice ages? Scientists have long thought the unique geography … Read more

The evolution of evolutionary developmental biology

Early skate embryo, with the different embryonic tissues segmented and false-colored for illustrative purposes. The neural tube (future brain and spinal cord) is cyan, the pharyngeal endoderm (lining of the throat and gills) is yellow, the paraxial mesoderm (future vertebrae and trunk muscles) is magenta, the lateral mesoderm (future fins) is green and the tail … Read more

Study explores the promises and pitfalls of evolutionary genomics

Credit: Shutterstock The second century Alexandrian astronomer and mathematician Claudius Ptolemy had a grand ambition. Hoping to make sense of the motion of stars and the paths of planets, he published a magisterial treatise on the subject, known as the Almagest. Ptolemy created a complex mathematical model of the universe that seemed to recapitulate the … Read more

Strange fossil solves giraffe evolutionary mystery

Intermale-competitions of giraffoid, foreground: Discokeryx xiezhi, background: Giraffa camelopardalis. Credit: WANG Yu and GUO Xiaocong Fossils of a strange early giraffoid has revealed the key driving forces in giraffe evolution, according to a study led by researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The study was … Read more

Unselfish behavior has evolutionary reasons

In the animal kingdom, the most remarkable examples of altruistic behavior occur in the context of rearing offspring. Animal societies that exhibit cooperative care of young include cichlids known as “Princesses of Lake Tanganyika.” Credit: M. Taborsky / University of Bern Altruistic behavior is often seen as an exclusively human characteristic. However, behavioral research has … Read more

Human membrane proteins strike evolutionary balance

Figure 1: The folding process of a glucose transporter using magnetic tweezers. A high force is applied first to unwind the protein completely. The applied force is then lowered which allows the folding process to be observed. In the picture, a portion of the glucose transporter can be seen being folded to form a structure … Read more

New research reveals where the dingo sits on the evolutionary timeline of dogs

Credit: Barry Eggleton, author provided Many people know modern dogs evolved from the gray wolf. But did you know most of the more than 340 modern dog breeds we have today only emerged within the past 200 years? Dogs were first domesticated during the Neolithic period between 29,000 and 14,000 years ago, and have been … Read more