human evolution

06/10/2014 - 19:35

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified the evolutionary origins of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) -1 and -2, reporting that the former infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago while the latter jumped from ancient chimpanzees to ancestors of modern humans – Homo erectus – approximately 1.6 million years ago.

06/20/2013 - 08:57

About 40,000 years ago Europe suffered a major volcanic eruption in the Phlegrean Fields west of Naples. Deposits known as "Campanian Ignimbrite" are still present in the region and bear witness to the event. The ash that was flung into the upper atmosphere from the CI eruption was distributed far across Eastern Europe.


02/18/2013 - 09:41

For decades, the human genome could only tell us what we already suspected about the evolution of certain traits. Researchers were able to trace the genetic origin stories of lactose tolerance (as opposed to lactose intolerance), malaria resistance, and more only after observing these successful traits in specific populations. Now, the study of positive selection – the ability to determine which genetic changes have conferred an evolutionary advantage – has reached a turning point: the genome itself can be used as a starting point to guide scientists to important genetic locations, leading to hypotheses about human health and disease.


01/31/2013 - 12:12

While earlier studies on vegetation change through this period relied on the analysis of individual sites throughout the Rift Valley — offering narrow snapshots — Feakins took a look at the whole picture by using a sediment core taken in the Gulf of Aden, where winds funnel and deposit sediment from the entire region. She then cross-referenced her findings with Levin, who compiled data from ancient soil samples collected throughout eastern Africa.

01/22/2013 - 10:17

Over 500 billion cells in our bodies will be replaced daily, yet natural selection has enabled us to develop defenses against the cellular mutations which could cause cancer. It is this relationship between evolution and the body's fight against cancer which is explored in a new special issue of the Open Access journal Evolutionary Applications.

12/07/2012 - 12:48

Recent genetic studies suggest that Neanderthals may have bred with anatomically modern humans tens of thousands of years ago in the Middle East, contributing to the modern human gene pool. But the findings are not universally accepted, and the fossil record has not helped to clarify the role of interbreeding, which is also known as hybridization.