Evolution

Meet Claudio Monteza-Moreno: Graduate Student Melds Biology and Anthropology

January 28, 2019
The story of how Claudio Monteza-Moreno came to UC Davis illustrates how research today often crosses boundaries — reaching across disciplines and around the globe to explore complex problems. Monteza-Moreno is a graduate student working in the lab of evolutionary anthropologist Meg Crofoot, studying how wildlife in Panama navigate landscapes transformed by humans. However, his background is in biology.

Researchers Describe New Reptile Platypus From the Early Triassic

January 24, 2019
No animal alive today looks quite like a duck-billed platypus, a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal hailing from eastern Australia. But about 250 million years ago, something very similar swam the shallow seas in what is now China, finding prey by touch with a cartilaginous bill. The newly discovered marine reptile Eretmorhipis carrolldongi from the lower Triassic period is described in the journal Scientific Reports Jan. 24. 

Rapid Genetic Evolution Linked to Lighter Skin Pigmentation in a Southern African Population

December 11, 2018
Study finds that a gene for lighter skin spread rapidly among people in southern Africa in the last 2,000 years. University of California, Davis, researchers and colleagues report that the gene was introduced from eastern Africa to southern African populations. Strong positive selection caused this gene to rise in frequency among some KhoeSan populations.

UC Davis Anthropologist Named President-elect of the American Society of Primatologists

October 03, 2018

UC Davis anthropologist Lynne Isbell, who studies the behavior, ecology and evolutionary history of primates, is the new president-elect of the American Society of Primatologists (ASP).

Isbell, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology in the College of Letters and Science, assumed the elected position during the society’s Aug. 8-11 meeting in San Antonio, Texas. After serving a two-year term, she will become ASP president in August 2020.

Study Challenges Role of Speech Gene in Evolution of Human Language

August 03, 2018
The FOXP2 gene has been associated with uniquely human language abilities. But a UC Davis scientist and colleagues did a study with a wider variety of people and found no evidence of selection for FOXP2 in modern humans, challenging previous of how we think humans acquired language.

Rarity Can Be Key to Survival, Not Just Extinction

December 06, 2017
Some species have always been rare — occurring in small densities throughout their range — throughout their evolutionary history. A perspective paper from in the journal Ecology Letters suggests that for many species, rarity is not a guarantee of impending extinction.

Explaining Life’s Rapid Evolution on Land

October 13, 2017
Although life arose in the sea, some of its most astonishing evolutionary leaps happened after organisms conquered land, according to UC Davis paleobiologist Geerat Vermeij. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of evolutionary change in the fossil record, Vermeij has identified 11 major innovations that appeared first among terrestrial creatures.

Evolution of Biggest Whales Linked With Ocean Productivity

August 12, 2016
The similar pathways to enormous size among whales and sea cows provide new insights into the history of the ocean’s food supply, according to paleontologists Nick Pyenson, curator of Fossil Mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Geerat Vermeij, distinguished professor of paleontology at the University of California, Davis.

Our Cyborg Future

March 18, 2016
With digital information increasing at an astonishing rate, a UC Davis expert on big data and its effects on society says the concept of artificial intelligence evolving is no longer far-fetched.