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  • Laryngeal echolocation occurs in two separate groups of bats, so it is not clear if this is an example of convergent evolution or if those bats that cannot echolocate previously lost the ability. Here, a study of cochlear development in bats and other mammals supports a single origin of echolocation.

    • Zhe Wang
    • Tengteng Zhu
    • Shuyi Zhang
  • Humans and great apes show left-cradling bias but it is unclear how widespread this bias is. Here, the authors show lateralization in interactions between an infant and its mother in 11 marine and terrestrial mammals, which suggests that lateralization has an ancient evolutionary history.

    • Karina Karenina
    • Andrey Giljov
    • Yegor Malashichev
    Brief Communication
  • By combining data on fossil and extant Caribbean bats, the authors confirm predictions that island biodiversity across this archipelago should reach an equilibrium value through time, but that this has been disrupted by recent anthropogenic extinctions.

    • Luis Valente
    • Rampal S. Etienne
    • Liliana M. Dávalos
  • Plant–insect interactions reveal rapid recovery of terrestrial ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, at more than twice the rate of contemporaneous Northern Hemisphere ecosystems.

    • Anne-Marie Tosolini
    News & Views
  • Major societal problems such as health, energy, food and clean water can be confronted using evolutionary principles, yet this approach is rarely explored. Here, we illustrate how nature's solutions can be applied and discuss the need for evolutionary biologists to inform the general public and influence decision makers.

    • Nina Wedell
    • David J. Hosken
  • Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) extracted from just 30 litres of seawater from the Arabian Gulf provides genetic insights into populations of the largest fish in the world.

    • Simon Creer
    • Mathew Seymour
    News & Views
  • Analysis of bacterial communities inhabiting water ‘tanks’ in the foliage of tropical bromeliads reveals a surprising similarity in their metabolic capacity, despite large variation in microbial taxa.

    • Sean M. Gibbons
    News & Views
  • Translating biodiversity science into policy is the complex challenge taken on by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. We talked to Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie about how it works and what it hopes to achieve.

    • Patrick Goymer
  • Welcome to the inaugural issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution. Our mission is to bring you research and comment that explore the diversity of life in all its grandeur and to promote the importance of ecology and evolution in the wider world.

  • One of the main drivers of human-induced biodiversity loss is exploitation of natural resources for trade. Here, the authors identify global ‘hotspots’ of threats to wildlife from international trade that directly link production of goods in one country with their consumption in another.

    • Daniel Moran
    • Keiichiro Kanemoto
  • The relationship between transcriptional and phenotypic dimorphism is poorly understood, and is based on variably supported assumptions about transcriptional architecture, phenotypic variation and the target of selection.

    • Judith E. Mank
    Review Article
  • Although inbreeding generally reduces genetic diversity, even after 10 generations of inbreeding 37.5% of the planarian worm Schmidtea mediterranea’s genome retains heterozygosity, and is maintained at low recombination rates in the wild.

    • Longhua Guo
    • Shasha Zhang
    • Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
  • Romer’s Gap describes the period with few known fossils when early tetrapods were becoming increasingly terrestrial. Here, five new species, three stem tetrapods and two stem amphibians, are described from a location in Scotland shedding light on the phylogeny and environment of this period.

    • Jennifer A. Clack
    • Carys E. Bennett
    • Stig A. Walsh
  • In protostomes the mouth develops from the embryonic blastophore, whereas in deuterostomes it develops separately. A comparison between two related protostomal and deuterostomal brachiopod species shows the role of Wnt signalling and mesoderm formation in this fundamental dichotomy of bilaterian animal body plan.

    • José M. Martín-Durán
    • Yale J. Passamaneck
    • Andreas Hejnol