evolution

How teeth became tusks, and tusks became liabilities

“The persistence of elephant poaching has prompted researchers to wonder whether elephants really needed their tusks, and whether they might not be better off if the tuskless trait were to spread more widely through the African population.  Shane Campbell-Staton, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues have begun systematically…

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DNA Reveals That Silky Anteaters Are Seven Species

The silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus) has previously been recognized to be a single species divided into several sub-species. But a new genetic analysis, published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, suggests that this enigmatic mammal is not one species, but seven separate ones. Lead author Dr. Flávia Miranda, a researcher with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil, and…

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Twin Study Finds Genetics Affects Where Children Look, Shaping Mental Development

A new study co-led by Indiana University that tracked the eye movement of twins finds that genetics plays a strong role in how people attend to their environment. Conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the study offers a new angle on the emergence of differences between individuals and the integration of genetic and environmental factors in social,…

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Teaching Bats to Say ‘Move Out of My Way’ in Many Dialects

Wild fruit bats, living in crowded roosts, are exposed to calls from hundreds of fellow bats from birth. Most often these calls are made in response to unsolicited physical contact, and essentially amount to a crabby “move out of my way.” In a study published Wednesday in PLOS Biology, a team of Israeli researchers found that bat pups match their vocalizations…

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