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Showing posts with the label genetics

Are You Part Neanderthal? Check Your Hair and Teeth

Are you part Neanderthal? Of course we would never consider ourselves to be part brute but that is what our DNA is telling us. A majority of us have a few percentage points of Neanderthal DNA within our bodies. Ironically those things that make us look attractive like hair and teeth are more closely tied to our ancient ancestors.  Studies in the journal Nature and Science help us think about human development from the beginning of time until now. It is believed the Neanderthal was a northern creature while humans came from Africa. Somewhere along the path they interbred and the Neanderthal died off. Apparently, the males were not so great at breeding when mixed.  Human development appears to be on a continuum from the past to some marked point in the future. Each child creates a new genetic destiny based upon a historical past and develops something unique. As the environment changes, humans change with it to ensure they able to survive and pass on their genetic code. 

Discoveries in the Red Queen Hypothesis and Evolutionary Arms Race

Researchers have lent credibility to the concept of an evolutionary arms race. Charles Marshall, a biology professor and the director of the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, states, “ But we found that a decrease in the origin of new species is just as important as increased extinction rate in driving mammals to extinction.” (UC Berkely News Center, 2013) Their findings help highlight the concept that diversity loss of species is a sign that the environment has overwhelmed them. This hypothesis was originally developed by Leigh van Valen who indicated that the probability of a species survival was based in its competitive abilities with the environment. The environment in this case is other species as well as the life sustaining resources like food and water. As species reproduces, they create opportunities to develop stronger adaptations (new forms) that are better aligned to environmental threats. Generally, the more a species reproduces the more successful it will b