April 18, 2016
New research suggests that humans became the large-brained, large-bodied animals we are today because of natural selection to increase brain size. The work, published in the journal Current Anthropology, contradicts previous models that treat brain size and body size as independent traits responding to separate evolutionary pressures.
March 22, 2016
The Hawaiian Islands have long been thought to support just one endemic land mammal in the archipelago’s brief geologic history, the Hawaiian hoary bat. But new fossil evidence indicates that a second, very different species of bat lived alongside the hoary bat for thousands of years before going extinct shortly after humans arrived on the islands.
March 15, 2016
Dinosaurs never really vanished from Earth. Most did go extinct, but their evolutionary legacy lives on all around us, in birds. The American Museum of Natural History’s new exhibition Dinosaurs Among Us will highlight the unbroken line between the charismatic dinosaurs that dominated the planet for about 170 million years and modern birds, a link that is marked by shared features including feathers, wishbones, enlarged brains, and extremely efficient respiratory systems.
March 1, 2016
New research suggests that the feeding strategy of Kolponomos, an enigmatic shell-crushing marine predator that lived about 20 million years ago, was strangely similar to a very different kind of carnivore: the saber-toothed cat Smilodon.
February 24, 2016
Three years after its explosion, a type Ia supernova continues to shine brighter than expected, new research finds. The observations suggest that the powerful explosions produce an abundance of a heavy form of cobalt that gives the heat from nuclear decay an extra energy boost.
February 23, 2016
New research suggests that the dodo, an extinct bird whose name has entered popular culture as a symbol of stupidity, was actually fairly smart.
February 22, 2016
New research reveals that the evolutionary history of glyptodonts—huge, armored mammals that went extinct in the Americas at the end of the last ice age—is unexpectedly brief. The work confirms that glyptodonts likely originated less than 35 million years ago from ancestors within lineages leading directly to one of the modern armadillo families.
February 11, 2016
Fighting ants, giant solider termites, and foraging worker ants recently discovered in 100-million-year-old amber provide direct evidence for advanced social behavior in ancient ants and termites—two groups that are immensely successful because of their ability to organize in hierarchies.