Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Evolution

The most genetically diverse animal

The humble worm known as C. elegans is famous among biology labs as an experimental workhorse. New findings in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences now boost its obscure relative, C. brenneri, into the limelight, by showing … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment

Birds’ color palettes speed diversification

The bright, eye-catching colors donned by African glossy starlings are a boon for the birds when it comes to competing for a mate. But the flashy colors are also good for something else: quickly driving the formation of new, diverse … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment

How observing others’ behavior can increase cooperation

The question of how to get people to work together has bedeviled society for millennia. Now a large-scale field experiment testing how to get more than 2,400 participants to prevent blackouts in the real world is supporting theoretical work on … Continue reading

Categories: Economic sciences | Evolution | Leave a comment

Your brain is not that big, get over it

Humans are proud of their brains, and rightfully so. A new comparative analysis suggests however, that we should not be so obsessed with size when considering our smarts. This week evolutionary anthropologists Robert Barton and Chris Venditti report the results … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Evolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Adult male chimps regularly eat meat, unlike other chimps

All wild chimpanzees eat fruits and nuts, but research in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences now confirms that adult male chimps regularly eat meat. These findings may suggest that differences in what food the sexes gather … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Evolution | Leave a comment

Predicting cooperative behavior from genes

If only the fittest members of a species survive, then cooperative behavior doesn’t make sense. It is costly to individuals and benefits others. Over the past few years, however, many researchers have shown how cooperative behavior plays nicely with evolutionary … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex and poison: A closer look at plant mating strategies

Plant sex just got a little more interesting. By switching mating systems, casting off the normal, play-it-safe requirement to cross breed and adopting the ability to self-fertilize, plants are more likely to evolve the ability to ramp up chemical defenses … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Leave a comment

Frog-hopping across drifting continents

Some time in the past 70 million years, the land mass that we now call India rammed into current-day Asia. Rocks were squeezed skyward to form the Himalayan Mountains and land-bound creatures from each continent expanded their ranges into the … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | 1 Comment

Chemical “attractiveness” factors can split a species

You may not have chosen your Valentine this week based on their smell or other invisible-to-the-naked-eye molecules their body gives off (at least not consciously), but if you were a moth, airborne chemical signals would be one of the most … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment