Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Puppy Love

Posted on February 22nd 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on Puppy Love

Warning: this post contains scenes of extreme cuteness and adorability. Reader discretion is advised. Scientists have, for the first time, proved systematically that tiny little kittens and puppies are actually cute. It sounds incredibly obvious; even the coldest, stony-hearted grinches out there will melt at the sight of a baby animal looking up at them. But why is this so? What is it that makes us fall in love with these tiny critters? It turns out that these baby animals are cute for much the same reasons that baby humans are. Large, low lying eyes, a big forehead and a…

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Evolution of antibiotic resistance mapped

Posted on February 3rd 2011 in News with Comments Off on Evolution of antibiotic resistance mapped

The genomes of hundreds of bacterial strains that cause pneumonia have been sequenced and may lead to new antibiotics and vaccines. 240 lineages of multidrug resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae were collected from around the world and their genomes sequenced in order to understand how the bacteria came to be so virulent. The research, published in the journal Science this week, compared the genetic sequences with the geographic locations of each specimen to produce a map of the major evolutionary events that have led to the diversity we see today. The team of scientists also pinpointed Europe as the probable birthplace of…

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Posted on January 28th 2011 in Blog with Comments Off on Copycats

Apart from a few eccentric Germans, being eaten is probably the last thing any of us would ever like to have happen to us. The same is true throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, of course, with millions of adaptations evolving to help prevent such an occurrence happening. Many of these adaptations are pretty obvious, such as the brutal bony club-like tail of the dinosaur Ankylosaurus, which could fend off attacks from hungry T-Rex almost as well as an old woman swatting away a mugger with her handbag. Another effective way of stopping people getting too close is to…

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This little piggie had a rather nice outfit

Posted on December 29th 2010 in News with Comments Off on This little piggie had a rather nice outfit

New evidence has been uncovered which may explain the origin of the hugely variable coat colours found in domesticated animals. The research from Durham University has shown human preference to be the cause of the varying colours and not, as was thought before, random mutations. The study, co-authored by Dr Greger Larson of the Department of Archaeology, compared a gene known as melanocortin receptor 1 (MC1R) in domesticated pigs with their cousins, the Asian and European wild boar. This gene is also present in many other domesticated animals, including cattle, dogs and horses, and is one that has been associated…

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