Countless people — myself very much included — can't get through the day without regular intake of coffee, soda, and other caffeinated drinks. Now it turns out bees love the stuff too... and it's actually good for them.
The region of South Africa around the Cape of Good Hope has some of the highest biodiversity in the world. Exactly why that is has puzzled scientists... until now. It's actually all because ants are secret horticultural geniuses.
Posidonia oceanica is found throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It forms massive clonal colonies, in which genetically identical specimens form one giant interconnected super-organism that can last for hundreds of thousands of years. Those colonies are older than human history.
Actually, Mesodinium chamaeleon is both. This single-celled organism definitely eats other creatures, which makes it an animal. But it also absorbs algae cells that can then give it extra energy through photosynthesis. So what on earth is this strange creature?
We know the history of medicine stretches deep into prehistory, but its exact origins remain mysterious. Simple surgery dates back to the stone age, and now there's evidence of basic medical knowledge that dates back to the dawn of humanity.
About 90% of flowering plants require animals to pollinate them, and that includes about two-thirds of the world's crops. The extinction of pollinating organisms could spell disaster... but the very species that are killing them off could prove excellent substitutes.
Hidden in the dark caves of southwest China, a fragment of Earth's last Ice Age might well survive. Sadly, there aren't any mammoths hiding out in there, but tiny plants might represent a last link to 30,000 years ago.
If you want to see an evolutionary dead end, look no further than the supermarket produce aisle. Every banana you eat is an infertile clone, and its wild ancestors weren't much better when it came to finding new genes.