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evolution

Rokas to lead budding cross-disciplinary collaboration on evolutionary studies

Aug. 14, 2019—The Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative seeks to position the university as a global leader in evolutionary studies by engaging a large group of scholars who share this research interest.

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Intense look at La Brea Tar Pits explains why we have coyotes, not saber-toothed cats

Aug. 5, 2019—The most detailed study to date of ancient predators trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits is helping Americans understand why today we’re dealing with coyotes dumping over garbage cans and not saber-toothed cats ripping our arms off.

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Ediacaran dinner party featured plenty to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows

Jun. 19, 2019—“They are behaving like animals, and that’s a link between them and what we recognize as animals," says paleontologist Simon A.F. Darroch.

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Life in evolution’s fast lane

May. 21, 2019—A group of budding yeasts in the genus Hanseniaspora, which is closely related to the baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has lost large numbers of genes related to cell cycle and DNA repair processes.

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Frog fungus fights back

May. 15, 2019—Louise Rollins-Smith and colleagues have discovered a new way that a deadly fungus evades frogs' immune systems.

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Dolphin ancestor’s hearing was more like hoofed mammals than today’s sea creatures

May. 15, 2019—The team, one of the first in the world to examine the ability’s origins, used a small CT scanner to look inside a 30-million-year-old ear bone fossil from a specimen resembling Olympicetus avitus.

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How attracting multiple mates affects flirting fads in birds

Feb. 22, 2019—For many species, extravagant displays are a critical part of attracting a mate. Think of a peacock’s long tail or a songbird’s elaborate melody. When considering these populations, scientists at Vanderbilt University wondered if they could use new methods to test a theory that has been around for almost 150 years: that having multiple reproductive...

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Earth’s oldest animals formed complex ecological communities

Sep. 17, 2018—Ediacara biota were forming complex communities tens of millions of years before the Cambrian explosion.

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Interdisciplinary approach yields new insights into human evolution

Feb. 12, 2018—Vanderbilt biologist Nicole Creanza is the guest editor of a new themed issue of "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B" highlighting interdisciplinary approaches to understanding human evolution.

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Vanderbilt evolutionary biologist makes finals of a national award for young scientists

Jun. 6, 2017—Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor in Biological Sciences Antonis Rokas has been selected as a finalist for the $250,000 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

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Climate change helped kill off super-sized Ice Age animals in Australia

Jan. 26, 2017—A new study has compared the diet of a variety of Australian megafaunal herbivores from the period when they were widespread (350,000 to 570,000 years ago) to a period when they were in decline (30,000 to 40,000 years ago) by studying their fossil teeth. The analysis suggests that climate change had a significant impact on their diets and may well have been a primary factor in their extinction.

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Each animal species hosts a unique microbial community and benefits from it

Nov. 28, 2016—A laboratory study of four animal species and their microbiota finds that each species hosts a unique community of microbes that can significantly improve its health and fitness.

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