Tagged: evolution

The virus that stole Christmas - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 20, 2020

Mutant and virus are two words that rarely go well together. Reports from the UK that a  variant of SARS-CoV-2 has emerged (called lineage B.1.1.7), and may be more readily transmissible, aren’t what we want to hear just before Christmas, or any time. However, it isn’t necessarily a nightmare scenario. Coronaviruses have relatively low levels of mutation, … Read More

Book Review: The Power of Chance in Shaping Life and Evolution - Scibooks

Guest Author Dec 15, 2020

Dan Falk Prince Hamlet spent a lot of time pondering the nature of chance and probability in William Shakespeare’s tragedy. In the famous “To be or not to be” speech, he notes that we helplessly face “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” — though a little earlier in the play he declares that “there’s a special providence … Read More

Mammoth bones – and … potatoes??? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Dec 11, 2020

Today I came across an interesting share in a science group that I follow – an article about a “huge 25,000-yr-old hut” made of mammoth bones. Having really enjoyed Jean Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series, of course, I was going to read on. But alas, the article was disappointing: the headline image didn’t match the story; the apparent construction … Read More

Ancient sponges or just algae? New research overturns chemical evidence for the earliest animals - Hot off the press

Guest Author Dec 01, 2020

Lennart van Maldegem, Australian National University; Benjamin Nettersheim, Max Planck Institute; Christian Hallmann, Max Planck Institute; Ilya Bobrovskiy, California Institute of Technology, and Jochen Brocks, Australian National University Sponges are the simplest of animals, and they may stand at the root of all complex animal life on Earth, including us humans. Scientists study the evolution of the earliest sponges, hundreds … Read More

Will the Coronavirus Evolve to Be Less Deadly? - COVID-19

Guest Author Nov 14, 2020

Wendy Orent No lethal pandemic lasts forever. The 1918 flu, for example, crisscrossed the globe and claimed tens of millions of lives, yet by 1920, the virus that caused it had become significantly less deadly, causing only ordinary seasonal flu. Some pandemics have lasted longer, like the Black Death, which swept out of Central Asia in 1346, spread across Europe, … Read More

A fishy story: midas cichlids in nicaraguan lakes - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jun 11, 2020

Midas cichlids (Amphilophus spp.) are a popular aquarium fish, but in the wild they’re found in South America, ranging from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. The 2018 Schol Bio paper included a really interesting question about a Nicaraguan ‘species complex‘ of these fish, based on a paper in Nature Communications. and a monograph in Cuadernos de Investigacion … Read More

Robot dog meet robot stick - Unsorted

Robert Hickson Jul 03, 2019

  Four years ago I wrote about getting too carried away with evolutionary metaphors for robots. But I can’t deny that we’re are seeing an increasing diversity of robotic forms and capabilities. The technological sophistication of high-end robotics, and the speed with which they are improving, is impressive. Check out SpotMini’s moves.   … Read More