UE logoNESCent logoNESCent and Understanding Evolution collaborate to bring you monthly Evolution in the News stories and podcasts.  The stories, along with links to background literature and classroom resources are available on the Understanding Evolution site, and the podcasts are available here.

Archived Evolution in the News

Evolution 2009: A Workshop for EducatorsEvolution is a unifying theme in biological science. This course is designed to provide an overview of key evolutionary concepts and explore cutting-edge topics in evolutionary biology for instructors at the high school and introductory college level.
Ancient skull raises questions about human evolutionA recently discovered skull found in a cave in Europe displays both modern and Neanderthal traits, suggesting the two species may have hybridized.
Ant highway repairArmy ants forage faster when some workers use their bodies to plug "potholes".
Bed bugs bite back...thanks to evolution! Explore the evolution behind the return of the bed bug in this month's "Evolution in the News" story and podcast.
Bioprospecting in VenomsEvolutionary links reveal a plethora of venomous fish for bioprospecting.
Changing Humans in a Changing EnvironmentNABT Evolution Symposium
October 14, 2011
1:30pm - 5:30pm
Ahanheim CA

Hear directly from the researchers who are adding to our growing understanding of human origins and learn how the dynamic interplay between the environment and our evolving species drives change. Co-sponsored by AIBS and NESCent.
Darwin Day Teachers WorkshopNESCent's annual Darwin Day Symposium will be held February 21, 2009. This year's theme is "Evolutionary Applications in Society" and we invite teachers to bring their students to learn more about how evolutionary research benefits everyone. NESCent is also offering a teachers workshop Saturday, February 14, to provide educators with materials to prepare students to get the most out of attending the symposium. Watch the NESCent website for more information.
DNA Dumpster DivingTwo studies hunt for useful junk in the human genome, and come up with different answers.
Environmental Factors Reveal Genetic VariationScientists studying horn worms, a common biological model, showed that a population of tobacco horn worms carried a hidden genetic ability to change color; the source of variation.
Evolution and Medicinal Uses of LeechesThis article summarizes recent research on leeches, interesting aspects of their evolution and some current medicinal applications.
Evolution featured in Stanford University Medical School MagazineThe Stanford University's School of Medicine has chosen the topic of Evolution as the theme of its quarterly magazine, with a variety of articles on the topic, its role in society and medicine, and its most well-known proponent - Charles Darwin.
Evolution Goes to the MoviesA summer workshop on evolution for both preservice and inservice middle and high school teachers!
Evolution in Extreme EnvironmentsWatch the 2009 NABT Evolution Symposium via webcast. The presentations will also be on the NESCent site, along with other educational resources. Additional resources may be found on the symposium CD.
Evolution in invisible lifeNew methods reveal how habitat influences microbial evolution.
Evolution of Skin ColorA mutation in zebra fish, named golden, results in pale fish compared to "wild type". By searching sequencing databases, the gene responsible was found to be very similar to a gene found in humans.
Evolution Workshop for TeachersNESCent is pleased to offer a three day on-site workshop for high school teachers. Participants will here about key evolutionary biology concepts from researchers working in the field, and learn about classroom resources for teaching evolution. Join us for hot science in the cool atmosphere of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center!
Evolutionary Transformations:The legacies of two influential scientists on evolutionary thoughtNABT Evolution Symposium November 2, 2012 12:00pm-4:00pm Dallas,TX
Evolving Altitude AptitudeResearchers are discovering the evolutionary secrets of people who live at high altitudes - an environment that non-adapted people struggle with.
Evolving like a weed: mustard adapts quickly to climate fluctuationsWhile humans are trying to decide whether global warming is really happening and what to do about it, plants are just trying to keep up with environmental changes. And some of them doing so by evolving fast, according to a study conducted at the University of California-Irvine and released in the January 12 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Family Tree?Plants can recognize their siblings and change their growing patterns in the presence of family.
From foe to friendBacteria evolve quickly from insect parasites to mutualists.
Gene Expression and Differences Between Chimp and HumanThe differences between the chimp and human genome may lie primarily in areas which control gene expression.
Genetic Link Between Primitive and Advanced Compound EyesScientists find the genetic link between primitive and advanced compound eyes.
Giant penguins once swam the tropical seasNewly discovered fossils reshape the penguin family tree
Happy Birthday, Darwin!The February podcast features Elliott Sober, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Sober talks about the societal and scientific influences in Darwin's development of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Hominid AncestryNew fossils link an ancestral and descendent hominid species.
Honey Bee GenomeRecent completion of the honey bee genome has provided information about bees and people!
Intestinal BacteriaWe rely on bacteria in our guts to feed us, but what kinds of bacteria are we carrying around?
Keeping Good MutationsMutations are not always bad as seen in a recent study where researchers showed that inactivating the caspase-12 gene, involved in the immune system, actually improves one type of immune response. As a result, the mutation has become fixed in humans.
Lectures on Evolution and MedicineThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted four talks on evolution and medicine in May. These lectures are now available online.
Listening for loveSome voices may sound sexier than others, but what does a sexy voice have to do with evolution?
Making sense of hominim DNAMeet anthropologist John Hawks as he explains how DNA extracted from very old bones - most recently, a single finger bone found in a Siberian cave - sheds light on the big picture of human evolution.
Making sense of hominin DNANew genomic evidence points a finger at an unexpected surprise in hominin evolution.
Monkey BusinessRhesus monkeys have told us a lot about ourselves over the course of medical and genetic research, and they're about to tell us even more.
NABT Evolution SymposiumThe 2008 Evolution Symposium topic is "Illuminating Biology: an Evolutionary Perspective." The symposium will present research in biological sub-disciplines where evolutionary approaches are not usually taken. The symposium will be Thursday, Oct. 16. Education resources related to the symposium topic will be presented at a workshop Friday, Oct. 17.
NESCent - Biodiversity in MadagascarThe catalysis meeting "Historical Perspectives on the Distribution of Biodiversity in Madagascar" organized by Claire Kremen and Anne Yoder was held at NESCent on June 13-17, 2006.
Not just fertilizer...DNA extracted from bison feces reveals genetic differentiation.
Orang-utan charades foreshadow evolution of languageOrangutans communication by gestures demonstrates how the "speaker" adjusts communication depending on the "listener's" comprehension.
Origins of Artificial SelectionAgriculture, especially the domestication of wild grains (or cereals) and legumes, is a key component of developing civilization. Understanding how this happened can provide valuable information about the origins of civilization.
Oxygen and EvolutionEarth's chemistry is both influenced by and exerts influence on life on the planet. A group of researchers at NESCent have explored how body size has changed over the history of life on Earth, and found an interesting correlation between increases in body size and changes in atmospheric oxygen. They talked with us about their research, what the group discovered, and where their research will take them next.
Poised for flight: Avian flu threat could widenThis article provides an overview of the current state of Avian flu (or "bird flu").
Rapid Evolution in Cane ToadsSpeeding Up Evolution
Scientists Discover World's Smallest FishScientists have discovered the world's smallest fish on record in an acidic peat swamp in Indonesia.
Scientists Figure Out How Honeybees Fly"Until recently, biologists did not fully understand the dynamics of honeybee flight.
Selective Pressures Generated by HumansThe Tibetan snow lotus is a recent example of "evolution by natural selection".
Sequencing ancient DNAScientists have tried to extract DNA from these ancient sources and analyze it.
Sex, speciation and fishy physicsBiology draws on other scientific fields to understand the physical, chemical and environmental forces that constrain and drive evolution. This month, we look at a story about how the optical physics influences speciation in fish.
Sexual selection under duressSafety from predators puts female crabs in the mood
Speciation in real timeUsually speciation occurs over long periods of time, but this month we look at two examples of evolution occuring in a few decades. Carlos Botero, a post-doctoral fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, talks about his work on speciation in mockingbirds which occurs over longer time frames. Dr. Botero explains how scientists study historical evolutionary events by comparing traits in modern species with phylogenetic models.
Speedy Evolution in Galapagos FinchesTrait changes in Darwin's Finches can be observed in short time periods.
That New Shrew That's Not...Not a shrew, that is. If you flipped through the newspaper's Science and Technology section last month, you might have spotted this adorable imposter: big eyes, dainty feet, and a long, flexible snout resembling an anteater's or an elephant's. Formally known as Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, the giant elephant shrew made the news because it is fuzzy, photogenic, and new to science. Most elephant shrew species were first described in the 1800s by scientists who classified them as shrews because of obvious physical similarities. But recent genetic evidence has confirmed that elephant shrews are not shrews at all...
The evolutionary history of joggingHumans are incredible long distance runners but running shoes are a relatively new addition to the running scene. Humans evolved to run barefoot and recent work has demonstrated that we run very differently in shoes or bare feet. By studying how we move under different conditions, evolutionary anthropologists can learn how and why injuries occur and potentially how to avoid them. Dr. Daniel Schmitt, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University talked about his work in this area.
Tiktaalik roseae: A Fish-Amphibian IntermediateIf you were a fish and you wanted to escape predators, wouldn't it be great to be able to jump out of the water and lie on land until they went away?
Tools for Teaching EvolutionA one-day workshop to introduce educators to the evolution education materials available from NESCent and BioQUEST.
Useful illusionsThe size weight illusion tricks us into thinking that smaller objects are heavier than larger objects. Turns out, this may actually be useful in learning how to throw accurately - a potentially valuable hunting skill for our ancestors.
When Chimps and Humans DivergedRecent studies out of Harvard and MIT shed new light on the “split” between humans and chimpanzees, including when and how these species diverged.
Wild MadagascarThis Evolution in the News story explores biodiversity on Madagascar and the role of biogeography in evolution. We talk with Anne Yoder about her research on lemurs. Lemurs are found only on Madagascar and there are at least 99 known species of these fascinating primates.