The real Paleo Diet: tracing 800 million years of evolution in animal diets

In our new author blog, Professor John Wiens describes the first ever study of the evolution of diet across all animals. One of the most fundamental aspects of the biology of an animal species is the type of food that it eats.  Animals have a remarkable diversity of diets and of lifestyles that are associated … Continue reading The real Paleo Diet: tracing 800 million years of evolution in animal diets

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Fishes famed for being bony have soft spot

Eli G. Cytrynbaum, Clayton M. Small, and Charles B. Kimmel, authors of a new study in Evolution Letters, explain how their discovery of the "extended osteoid" – a nonmineralised bone matrix – influences our understanding of morphological evolution in bony fish. Sculpins are benthic fish in the superfamily Cottoidea famed for their boniness. Often a bane … Continue reading Fishes famed for being bony have soft spot

Plasticity in sperm sex ratios: the how and “Y” of male-driven sex allocation

A new study published in Evolution Letters reveals that when male house mice develop in a male-biased environment, they go on to produce more Y-bearing sperm as adults – making them more likely to produce sons. Here, author Dr Renee Firman tells us the story behind her fascinating research. Research on offspring sex allocation has … Continue reading Plasticity in sperm sex ratios: the how and “Y” of male-driven sex allocation

Mutation accumulation in old growth trees: the raw material for natural selection

In our new author blog, Vincent Hanlon & Professor Sally Aitken explain how high rates of somatic mutation can influence the evolution of long-lived trees. The apical meristems of plants consist of somatic cells that behave in some ways as though they were part of a segregated germline. They give rise to gametes, they divide … Continue reading Mutation accumulation in old growth trees: the raw material for natural selection

Two thirds of morphological changes in Drosophila are evolutionarily repetitive

A new study published in Evolution Letters has shed light on the limits of morphological evolution. Here, author Amir Yassin tells us more. Nearly 150 years ago, Charles Darwin exalted about the ‘endless forms’ of life that evolution has produced. However, recent studies have indicated that several biological forms repeatedly evolved in distant lineages, such as … Continue reading Two thirds of morphological changes in Drosophila are evolutionarily repetitive

Mating snails and population modelling: what can this tell us about the evolution of reproductive traits?

A new study published in Evolution Letters tests whether reinforcement plays a role in the divergence of mating preference and genital morphology during speciation. Here, author Dr Mauricio Montano-Rendon explains what they found. There is usually more than one way to go about most things in life. Choosing a mate is certainly one of them, with … Continue reading Mating snails and population modelling: what can this tell us about the evolution of reproductive traits?

Competition and evolutionary opportunity: from birds to bacteria

A new study in Evolution Letters uses experimental evolution to demonstrate how species interactions shape abiotic adaptation, and provides rare insight into the underlying genetics. Lead author James P.J. Hall tells us more. On the Galapagos island of Daphne Major lives the medium ground finch Geospiza fortis. This small bird eats seeds, large and small, … Continue reading Competition and evolutionary opportunity: from birds to bacteria