Researchers have conducted a census of the Japanese population around 2,500 years ago using the Y chromosomes of men living on the main islands of modern-day Japan. This is the first time analysis of modern genomes has estimated the size of an ancient human population before they were met by a separate ancient population.
A team of researchers has compiled the first and only evidence that narwhals and beluga whales can breed successfully. DNA and stable isotope analysis of an anomalous skull from the Natural History Museum of Denmark has allowed researchers to confirm the existence of a narwhal-beluga hybrid.
DNA, the hereditary material, may have appeared on Earth earlier than has been assumed hitherto. Chemists now show that a simple reaction pathway could have given rise to DNA subunits on the early Earth.
Dogs have evolved new muscles around the eyes to better communicate with humans. New research comparing the anatomy and behavior of dogs and wolves suggests dogs' facial anatomy has changed over thousands of years specifically to allow them to better communicate with humans.
Free fingers have many obvious advantages on land, such as in locomotion and grasping, while webbed fingers are typical of aquatic or gliding animals. But both amphibians and amniotes -- which include mammals, reptiles, and birds -- can have webbed digits. Scientists now show that during embryo development, some animal species detect the presence of atmospheric oxygen, which triggers removal of interdigital webbing.
Mapping tens of thousands of genes from a group of Antarctic fishes called notothenioids, a team of researchers has discovered that the massive amount of genetic change required for life in the Antarctic occurred long before the Antarctic cooled. These genetic changes not only have major implications for understanding the evolution of Antarctica's unusual animals, but also highlight that some key adaptations used by fishes mirror the genetics of human bone diseases such as osteoporosis.