- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
ScienceShot: Evolution in a Jiffy
17 July 2012 7:01 pm
When a small group of sea star larvae got swept away from their parents off the coast of Australia thousands of years ago, they proved more resourceful than Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Rather than befriending a volleyball, the short-legged sea stars—called "cushion stars" for their plump shape—developed the ability to mate with themselves. Their evolution into live-bearing hermaphrodites is one of the fastest known examples of speciation among marine animals, say the authors of a study published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. To pinpoint when and where the sea stars broke away from their kin, the team analyzed DNA from the tissue of nearly 400 animals, half belonging to the ancestral species, Cryptasterina pentagona, and half to the new species, C. hystera. By analyzing the evolutionary relationships between the two species' DNA sequences, they were able to infer that C. hystera had broken away from the southern range of C. pentagona near the Great Barrier Reef at most 22,000 years ago. By about 6000 years ago, C. hystera had become a distinct species—lightning-quick adaptation, by evolutionary standards.
See more ScienceShots.