more forensic genetics – and the origins of multicellular animals

When I'm lecturing about animal diversity and the origins of the multicellular animals (aka metazoans), I point out the similarity between the single-celled protozoans called choanoflagellates and the choanocytes (or 'feeding cells') of sponges. The textbook interpretation is that choanoflagellates may have shared a common ancestor with metazoans, and there's an increasing amount of genetic […]

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evolution has shaped women’s spines! Really?

Last week the NZ Herald carried a story, based on a new scientific paper, about how evolution had affected the shape of women's spines, resulting in an adaptation for weight-bearing during pregnancy. The paper (Whitcome et al. 2007) describes how men & women differ in the shape of their lumbar vertebrae, and relates this to the weight gain […]

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