Evolutionary link between diet, stomach acidity

An analysis of data on stomach acidity and diet in birds and mammals suggests that high levels of stomach acidity developed not to help animals break down food, but to defend animals against food poisoning. The work raises interesting questions about the evolution of stomach acidity in humans, and how modern life may be affecting both our stomach acidity and the microbial communities that live in our guts.

Astronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet

A planet believed to be remarkably similar to Earth has been discovered orbiting a distant sun-like star, bolstering hopes of finding life elsewhere in the universe, U.S. scientists said on Thursday.

The planet, which is about 60 percent bigger than Earth, is located 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. It was discovered by astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a star that is similar in size and temperature to the sun, but older,according to Reuters.

Four-legged snake ancestor 'dug burrows'

A 113-million-year-old fossil from Brazil is the first four-legged snake that scientists have ever seen.

Several other fossil snakes have been found with hind limbs, but the new find is estimated to be a direct ancestor of modern snakes.

Its delicate arms and legs were not used for walking, but probably helped the creature to grab its prey.

How mosquitoes zero in on warm bodies

New research suggests that mosquitoes track down something to bite using a sequence of three cues: smell, then sight, and finally heat.

Biologists recorded the movement of hungry mosquitoes inside a wind tunnel.

The insects were instantly attracted to a plume of CO2, much like a human breath; after sniffing this gas they would also home in on a black spot.

Human hands may be more primitive than chimp's

Today,"The evolution of human and ape hand proportions," a study that discovers that human hands may be more primitive than chimp's.

Human hand proportions have changed little from those of the last common ancestor (LCA) of chimpanzees and humans. These findings indicate that the structure of the modern human hand is largely primitive in nature, rather than the result of selective pressures in the context of stone tool-making.

Human hands exhibit a long thumb in relation to the fingers. This is one of the most distinctive traits of humankind compared to apes and is often cited as one of the reasons for the success of the species; however there are competing theories on how the human hand evolved over time.

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