Color Isn't Always About Sex, Study Finds

When it comes to birds, males—with their bright feathers, extra accessories, and impressive mating displays—tend to get all the attention. But for many birds, such as the Choco Toucan pictured above, brilliant plumage has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with survival. » 3/30/15 1:00am Monday 1:00am

Where Did Kissing Come From?

Kissing is so commonplace that most people rarely think to stop and ask where humans picked up the habit in the first place. Where in humanity's evolutionary history did smooshing our faces together come to be regarded as a display of lust, care, friendship, and love? » 3/20/15 1:43pm 3/20/15 1:43pm

This Crazy-Looking Creature Was The Ocean's First Filter-Feeding Giant

Behold Aegirocassis benmoulae, an extinct creature that swam through the Earth's oceans some 480-million years ago. Discovered by paleontologists in Morocco, it possessed modified legs, gills on its back — and a filter system for feeding. Remarkably, it's the oldest known animal to fill an ecological niche now… » 3/12/15 1:40pm 3/12/15 1:40pm

This Ancient Fossil Just Rewrote The History of Human Evolution

Sometimes Evolution Looks Like Donald Trump's Hair And That's Okay

In the Amazon, there is a species of a bird whose babies mimic the appearance of a toxic species of caterpillar that resembles Donald Trump's hair. (Spot the difference above, and after the jump.) Evolution! Ugly as sin, but damn effective. » 2/24/15 3:30pm 2/24/15 3:30pm

The Truth About The Future Of The Skeptic Movement

Daniel Loxton is the editor of Junior Skeptic, a periodical aimed at kids that's bound into every issue of Skeptic magazine. He's also an artist (the image above is from one of his three books about dinosaurs), a cryptid enthusiast, and a passionate advocate of the skeptic movement. » 2/23/15 1:15pm 2/23/15 1:15pm

After Thousands of Years, Earth's Frozen Life Forms Are Waking Up

What's happening in Siberia's thawing permafrost and Greenland's melting glaciers sounds borderline supernatural. Ancient viruses, bacteria, plants, and even animals have been cryogenically frozen there for millennia—and now, they are waking up. » 2/23/15 2:50pm 2/23/15 2:50pm

How Nanoscale Optics Create Nature's Most Dazzling Colors

What do a butterfly's shimmering wings, a fish's opalescent scales, and a peacock's brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand. » 2/19/15 2:14pm 2/19/15 2:14pm

Our Ancestors Developed a Love For Alcohol Millions of Years Ago

Obviously, alcohol's been a part of human society for a very long time. We started making it at roughly the same time we figured out agriculture, 9,000 years ago. A new study on our now-extinct ancestors revealed that they developed the ability to metabolize alcohol when they started going down to forest floors, about… » 2/05/15 9:00pm 2/05/15 9:00pm

Why Birds Take Turns At The Front When Flying In V-Formation

Migrating birds fly in a V-formation to take advantage of the aerodynamic effects of flying behind another bird. Remarkably, birds take turns at the front despite no obvious benefit to the individual. A new study explains why they do it, and why cooperation can be a powerful evolutionary tool. » 2/03/15 9:00am 2/03/15 9:00am

A Bacteria That Hasn't Had To Evolve In More Than Two Billion Years

Scientists from UCLA have discovered a deep-sea microorganism that's the same today as it was two billion years ago. It's an observation that actually bolsters Darwin's theory of natural selection, while offering the most extreme example of evolution's "null hypothesis." » 2/03/15 6:30am 2/03/15 6:30am

ESPN's Dave Pasch Outs Self As Creationist After Receiving Darwin Book

We've noted previously that college basketball games called by Dave Pasch and Bill Walton on ESPN can get especially weird, but we never imagined that it would be Pasch who would lead viewers to ask themselves, "Did he really just say that?" » 1/15/15 11:20pm 1/15/15 11:20pm

The Human Brain Is Lopsided Compared To Other Primates

Researchers have identified a small groove that runs deeper along the right side of the human brain than the left. Because other primates lack this feature, it's conceivable that its function is what sets us apart. » 1/13/15 3:20pm 1/13/15 3:20pm

The World's Largest Herd of White Deer Lives in New York

An odd series of events led to Seneca, New York playing host to the world's largest herd of white deer. There's actually an evolutionary reason why one particular set of genes for these unusual deer came to be favored in Seneca. » 1/13/15 12:30pm 1/13/15 12:30pm

It’s Survival Of The Most Useful When Protecting Species

Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect all species from global extinction? » 1/13/15 6:40am 1/13/15 6:40am

I'm Tired Of Seeing This Charles Darwin Quote Taken Out Of Context

In the sixth chapter of On The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin addresses "Organs of Extreme Perfection" – organs like the eye, the formation of which due to natural selection, Darwin "freely confessed," seems "absurd in the highest possible degree." But this is only part of a much longer quote. » 1/11/15 10:30am 1/11/15 10:30am

Yes, "Selfing" Is a Scientific Term

One of the most widely-studied worms in the world is the tiny, humble vinegar worm, known to science as C. elegans. And this worm has a really interesting way of reproducing. It's called selfing. » 1/05/15 4:51pm 1/05/15 4:51pm

This Ancient Giant Armadillo Is Responsible For Giving Us The Avocado

But not just this giant armadillo. Giant sloths, four-tusked elephants, and a whole bunch of other ancient mammals that roamed the earth over 10,000 years ago also all played a role. » 1/05/15 12:00pm 1/05/15 12:00pm

Not All Pokemon Are Happy About Evolving

You'd think a species of creatures whose primary focus is gladiatorial combat would be uniformly pleased about assuming a new, more capable form — even if that form involves an additional head or a piece of silverware. » 1/03/15 3:28pm 1/03/15 3:28pm

This Freaky New Frog Gives Birth To Live Tadpoles, Not Eggs

Scientists have never seen anything quite like this before. It's a newly discovered species of fanged frog that gives direct birth to live tadpoles instead of laying eggs. It isn't that rare for scientists to find new species of animals, but finding an entirely new mode of reproduction is a different story altogether. » 1/02/15 9:00am 1/02/15 9:00am