Horns of elk and rhinoceros beetles likely to have an evolutionary reason

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Earlier today, Danielle Whittaker made an interesting post on the blog of BEACON, an NSF Center for the Study of Evolution in Action about the study of Ian Dworkin, Michigan State University zoologist and his team. In the study, Dworkin’s team showed for the first time that horns seen in elk and rhinoceros beetles are sensitive to change in nutrition. The results of the study suggest that the traits are more likely to have evolved as indicators of quality rather than handicaps. “While more work needs to be done, our results provide and important way of linking genetic mechanism with the ultimate evolutionary reason for the trait exaggeration,” Dworkin said.

For more about this work, please visit the original post on BEACON, see the MSU Press Release, or go directly to the Science article discussing the study.

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