Surprising new feature of human evolution discovered

Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.

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  • Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
  • Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
  • The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
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Record for oldest DNA ever sequenced broken by mammoth remains

One million year old mammoth DNA more than doubles the previous record and suggests that even older genomes could be found.

  • Scientists extracting DNA from mammoth teeth have set a new record for the oldest DNA ever sequenced.
  • The new record holder may also be a member of a new species of mammoth, but that remains to be proven.
  • The findings suggest that DNA as old as 2.6 million years old could be decoded.
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Study reveals a "boring" era when Earth was flat, with no mountains

A study of europium crystals shows the planet was mostly flat during its middle ages.

  • Research teams studied europium crystals to show that Earth was mostly flat in its middle ages.
  • The planet had no mountains and little evolution of life.
  • This period of time is known as the "Boring Billion".
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    Why do some species evolve to miniaturize?

    The island rule hypothesizes that species shrink or supersize to fill insular niches not available to them on the mainland.

    Credit: Frank Glaw
    • Brookesia nana, the nano-chameleon, may be the smallest vertebrate ever discovered.
    • The "island rule" states that when new species migrate to islands, they may shrink or grow as they evolve to fill new ecological niches.
    • It remains unclear whether the island rule can explain the nano-chameleon or nature's other extreme miniaturizations.
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    The bacteria in our guts can tell time

    For the first time, it was discovered that nonphotosynthetic bacteria have a circadian clock.

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    • For the first time, nonphotosynthetic bacteria are shown to have a circadian clock.
    • B. subtilis thrives in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans as well as grass-feeding ruminants.
    • The researchers believe that this rhythm provides bacteria with an advantage.
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