Image: Courtesy of Adrian Lister
Examine any depiction of Ice Age life and you’re likely to find at least one—a woolly mammoth, that is. But popular appeal notwithstanding, the evolutionary history of this prehistoric beast has proved somewhat difficult to pin down. To that end, findings published today in the journal Science provide some much needed insight.
Working from an extensive Eurasian fossil record going back some 2.6 million years, Adrian Lister of University College London and Andrei V. Sher of the Russian Academy of Sciences studied changes in the skulls and teeth of three successive mammoth species (the last of which was the woolly variety) over time. The researchers documented long stretches of gradual change in all three species, with different features changing at different times. Intriguingly, however, the advanced features—a number of which represent adaptations to grazing—seem to have emerged first in Siberia and only later spread to Europe.
Lister and Sher note that Siberia experienced periglacial conditions earlier, more intensely and for a longer duration than did Europe. "Siberia thereby provided a continuing source of grazing-adapted mammoths, which we suggest acted as a repeated source of evolutionary advancement into periodically glaciated Europe," they write. The authors further report that the origins of the mammoth species are not particularly clear cut. Thus they may represent populations whose evolutionary paths never fully diverged
Kate Wong | Scientific American
More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy