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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

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

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

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

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

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

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… » 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