The Latest Pseudoscience Diet Fad: Wear An Ice Vest

The world is full of pseudoscientific fad diets, but the latest fad isn't just a diet — instead, it's a craze for lowering body temperature to "burn fat." The Atlantic looks at people who buy special ice vests, or take shirtless walks in winter, in the hope of losing weight. » 12/29/14 11:15am 12/29/14 11:15am

E. O. Wilson's Radical Plan To Save The Planet

Esteemed evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson believes the only way we can avoid a catastrophic mass extinction is to set aside half of the planet in permanently protected areas for the 10 million other species who live on Earth. Wilson calls the concept "Half Earth" — and he says its not as outlandish as it might… » 11/04/14 12:40pm 11/04/14 12:40pm

The Most Common Darwinian Misconception About Female Sexuality

For decades, most evolutionary biologists based their understanding of female mating choice on a paper that turned out to be incorrect. The idea that females (including human ones) always choose the single "best" mate, rather than choosing promiscuity? Wrong. » 9/22/14 3:28pm 9/22/14 3:28pm

How Predictable Is Evolution?

Evolutionary biologists like to say that mutations are random but that selection is not; species are crafted by their environments. But if this is the case, why is it so hard to predict evolution? A recent genetic analysis of stick insects provides an important clue. » 5/16/14 4:40pm 5/16/14 4:40pm

Dinosaurs Avoided Total Extinction By Getting Smaller And Smaller

Dinosaurs took on many different shapes and sizes, but paleontologists are learning their success had nothing to do with their iconically massive bodies. If anything, their evolutionary success would appear to have come from their longstanding ability to keep shrinking. Just ask the birds. » 5/06/14 2:24pm 5/06/14 2:24pm

​How to Comprehend Incomprehensibly Large Numbers

We humans are a smart bunch, but we really suck when it comes to understanding and handling excessively large numbers. Here's why we're so bad at it — and what you can do to make sense of concepts and figures that are unreasonably huge. » 2/26/14 11:00am 2/26/14 11:00am

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

Evolution is steered by aggressive competition between females

One of the classic images from evolutionary theory is of two males smashing each other up to compete for the chance to fertilize a female. Scientists have spent over a century studying this kind of male competition, but new discoveries reveal that competition between females is just as important. » 11/11/13 12:43pm 11/11/13 12:43pm

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

Why does a rabbit flash its white tail when its being chased?

Some prey animals, like rabbits and deer, feature flashy white tails that are prominently displayed when they're been chased down by predators. But why in the world would an animal want to draw more attention to itself in such a precarious situation? We now have the answer. » 8/07/13 7:30am 8/07/13 7:30am

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

New evidence that humans developed big brains to cope with society

For the past several decades, scientists have been fascinated by the "social brain theory" — the idea that certain animals evolved big, powerful brains to cope with the complexities of social life. A new computer simulation has now shown that this assertion is likely correct. » 6/26/13 9:10am 6/26/13 9:10am

Can evolution still happen without competition?

A new theory proposed by two computer scientists suggests that animals can still experience significant evolutionary changes over time, even in the absence of selectional pressures. » 4/29/13 8:00am 4/29/13 8:00am

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… » 4/14/13 1:00pm 4/14/13 1:00pm

Archaeologists have discovered a "trove" of neanderthal bones in Greece

A cave in Greece has been found to contain 14 specimens of child and adult human remains, providing archaeologists with key insights into the lives and geographical distribution of ancient hominins. » 4/01/13 8:40am 4/01/13 8:40am

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