Monday, January 05, 2009

Via Pharyngula:

15 Evolutionary Gems: A body of evidence published in the last decade that flexes the considerable intellectual muscle of Evolutionary Theory.

1. The discovery of Indohyus, an ancestor to whales.

2. The discovery of Tiktaalik, an ancestor to tetrapods.

3. The origin of feathers revealed in creatures like Epidexipteryx.

4. The evolution of patterning mechanisms in teeth.

5. The developmental and evolutionary origin of the vertebrate skeleton.

6. Speciation driven indirectly by selection in sticklebacks.

7. Selection for longer-legged lizards in Caribbean island populations.

8. A co-evolutionary arms race between Daphnia and its parasites.

9. Non-random dispersal and gene flow in populations of great tits.

10. Maintenance of polymorphisms in populations of guppies.

11. Contingency in the evolution of pharyngeal jaws in the moray.

12. Developmental genes that regulate the shape of beaks in Darwin's finches.

13. Evolution of regulatory genes that specify wing spots in Drosophila.

14. Evolution of toxin resistance.

15. The concept of evolutionary capacitance: the idea that environmental stress can expose hidden variations that are then subject to selection.