evolution Archives - State of the Planet

17 Million-Year-Old Teeth Open Windows Into Early Ape and Human Evolution

A new study shows that natural variants of oxygen within ancient animal teeth recorded details of seasonal rainfall, environmental conditions and animal behavior.

by |August 22, 2022

Project Will Delve Into How Climate and Tectonics Shaped Human Ancestors Over 25 Million Years

A new project will investigate the relationships between tectonics, climate and the evolution of humans’ primate ancestors in Kenya’s Turkana Basin.

by |September 25, 2020
ants on a plant

The Next Climate Tech Breakthrough May Have Already Happened, We Just Didn’t Notice

How biomimicry and evolution can offer sustainable solutions for adaptation and resilience.

by Isabelle Seckler |January 10, 2020
A puffin sits on a grassy hill.

Contest Highlights Stunning Photos of Nature and Fieldwork

The contest, hosted Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology celebrates the beauty of their work.

by |February 15, 2019

Study Signals Change in How Scientists Calculate Ancient Diets

Scientists have long determined what extinct animals ate by analyzing carbon isotopes locked inside their fossil teeth. But a new study shows that in many cases, they may be plugging the wrong numbers into their equations. The findings may change some views of how mammals, including us, evolved.

by |June 27, 2018
tree guard

So Much Depends on a Tree Guard

Adding protective barriers around street trees could reduce load on city sewers, study finds.

by |January 23, 2018
core repository at lamont-doherty

Ancient Humans Left Africa to Escape Drying Climate, Says Study

Ancient humans migrated out of Africa to escape a drying climate, says a new study—a finding that contradicts previous suggestions that ancient people were able to leave because a then-wet climate allowed them to cross the generally arid Horn of Africa and Middle East.

by |October 5, 2017

Photo Essay: Seeking Humanity’s Roots

East Africa’s rift valley is considered by many to be the cradle of humanity. In the Turkana region of northwest Kenya, researchers Christopher Lepre and Tanzhuo Liu of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are cooperating with colleagues to study questions of human evolution, from the creation of the earliest stone tools to climate swings that have affected developing civilizations.

by |June 8, 2016

Seeking Humanity’s Roots

Who were our earliest ancestors? How and when did they evolve into modern humans? And how do we define “human,” anyway? Scientists are exploring Kenya’s Lake Turkana basin to help answer these questions.

by |June 8, 2016

Climate Change Poses Challenges to Plants and Animals

Because of climate change, spring, summer, fall and winter in the temperate zones are all arriving on average 1.7 days earlier than they ever have before. The changing climate with its more extreme weather is affecting many plant and animal species, disturbing their habitat and disrupting ecosystem functioning. How will plants and animals deal with these challenges?

by |February 3, 2015