evolution

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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How Neanderthals Influenced Human Genetics at the Crossroads of Asia and Europe

When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe. Here, at this important crossroads, it’s thought that they encountered and had sexual rendezvous with a different hominid species: the Neanderthals. Genomic evidence shows that this ancient interbreeding occurred, and Western Asia is the most likely…

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Humans Still Evolving, Large-Scale Study of Genetic Data Shows

In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States and Britain, researchers have found that the genetic variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy smoking are less frequent in people with longer lifespans, suggesting that natural selection is weeding out these unfavorable variants in both populations. “It’s a subtle signal, but we find genetic evidence that…

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Geneticists Trace Humble Apple's Exotic Lineage All the Way to the Silk Road

It is a lunchbox staple so ubiquitous as to have become mundane. But the apple we know today is the fruit of an extraordinary journey, researchers have revealed. Scientists studying the genetics of the humble apple have unpicked how the cultivated species emerged as traders travelled back and forth along the Silk Road– ancient routes running from the far east to the Mediterranean…

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