How whales made the dramatic evolutionary shift from land to the sea

All whales and dolphins are descended from terrestrial mammals, ancient creatures that were very similar to the modern hippopotamus. Now, a fascinating new genetics study shows the incredible evolutionary changes these animals had to experience to become the perfectly adapted marine animals we see today. » 11/25/13 7:40am 11/25/13 7:40am

50,000 generations of bacteria prove that evolution never stops

In a remarkable experiment that's been going on for nearly a quarter century, biologists have shown that lab-grown bacteria — even in a stable, unchanging world — will continue to evolve in a way that makes it increasingly good at reproducing. » 11/18/13 1:40pm 11/18/13 1:40pm

Sperm Wars Can Create New Species

Take a look at the battle unfolding in this remarkable image. It shows the sperm from two related fruit fly species competing inside a reproductive tract. It’s an evolutionary struggle that, as scientists are now learning, often leads to the introduction of entirely new species. » 10/01/13 8:00am 10/01/13 8:00am

How the pseudoscience of Social Darwinism nearly destroyed humanity

Following the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1860, many political theorists and opportunistic politicians applied his findings to human society. In the 20th century, these ideas were put into practice — and it nearly destroyed us. Here’s why Social Darwinism was one of the worst ideas ever. » 9/13/13 11:35am 9/13/13 11:35am

RIP Elaine Morgan, popularizer of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

Elaine Morgan, author of the highly influential The Descent of Woman, has died at the age of 92 from a stroke. She will be remembered for challenging male-centric theories of human evolution, and for promoting the idea that early humans, for a short time, began adapting to aquatic life. » 7/16/13 2:45pm 7/16/13 2:45pm

Gelada monkey's yodel-like gurgling could reveal origins of human speech

As a group, primates aren't really known for their ability to create vocalizations, or sophisticated or complex sounds with their mouths. Yes, we humans have shown some talent in that area — what with the whole development of language and all that — but most apes and monkeys are unable to generate anything but the most … » 4/14/13 1:00pm 4/14/13 1:00pm

How Mark Changizi conquered colorblindness with glasses

A pair of researchers from 2AI Labs have developed a wearable eyeglass device that effectively cures red-green color blindness. Called O2Amps, the technology works by leveraging our capacity to see the amount of oxygen in another person's blood by simply looking at the hue of their skin. Developer Mark Changizi came… » 2/06/13 9:00am 2/06/13 9:00am

New Orleans schools ban creationist curriculum, shun Texas revisionist …

Sanity wins this round — at least for six schools in New Orleans. By a unanimous vote, N.O.'s Orleans Parish School Board voted on Tuesday to keep creationism out of its classrooms. Hallelujah. » 12/21/12 12:50pm 12/21/12 12:50pm

Are humans getting dumber?

A new study published in Trends in Genetics is suggesting that humans are slowly but surely losing their intellectual and emotional capacities. According to Stanford University's Gerald Crabtree, humanity peaked in intelligence about 2,000 years ago, and we've been heading downhill since then, owing to genetic… » 11/13/12 11:15am 11/13/12 11:15am

Fairy-wren chicks taught secret passwords to thwart dickish cuckoo…

Cuckoo birds have evolved a nasty habit of laying their eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then unknowingly tend to their young. But as new research published in Current Biology reveals, the fairy-wren has developed a rather ingenious countermeasure: Expectant mothers teach their unhatched offspring a secret … » 11/09/12 8:30am 11/09/12 8:30am

Why did the seed beetle's penis evolve to look like this?

One of the evolutionary consequences of sexual reproduction is that males have to compete with each other for females. But as a recent study published in Current Biology reveals, this competition doesn't necessarily stop after the mating is done. In the case of seed beetles, the presence of promiscuous females has… » 10/29/12 8:30am 10/29/12 8:30am

A Fossilized Scene of a Spider Attacking a Wasp, Preserved for 110…

Paleontologists have discovered beautifully preserved species trapped in amber before — but this one is extraordinary. It features a parasitic wasp that has become ensnared in a spider's web, with the owner bearing down on it for an attack. But just before the spider was about to have its meal, a drop of resin flowed… » 10/09/12 11:15am 10/09/12 11:15am

Why does this fish's penis resemble a medieval weapon?

Biologists recently discovered a new species of freshwater fish called the llanos mosquitofish, or Gambusia quadruncus, in which the male members of the species have genitalia with four pronounced hooks on them, while the females feature a colorful anal spot. Now, it's quite possible that these fish have some kind of… » 9/28/12 8:45am 9/28/12 8:45am