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What Is the Nature of Consciousness?
Consciousness, our experience of being in the world, is one of the mind’s greatest mysteries, but as the neuroscientist Anil Seth explains to Steven Strogatz, research is making progress in understanding this elusive phenomenon.
How 3D Changes in the Genome Turned Sharks Into Skates
Changes in the 3D structure of their genome gave skates and rays their distinctive winglike fins and pancake flatness.
Is It Real or Imagined? How Your Brain Tells the Difference.
New experiments show that the brain distinguishes between perceived and imagined mental images by checking whether they cross a “reality threshold.”
Memories Help Brains Recognize New Events Worth Remembering
Memories may affect how well the brain will learn about future events by shifting our perceptions of the world.
A Mutation Turned Ants Into Parasites in One Generation
A new genetics study of ant “social parasites” shows how complex sets of features can emerge rapidly and potentially split species.
How a Human Smell Receptor Works Is Finally Revealed
After decades of frustration, researchers have determined how an airborne scent molecule links to a human smell receptor.
How Pools of Genetic Diversity Affect a Species’ Fate
A new, deeper understanding of how the breeding structure of species affects their genetic diversity is giving conservationists better tools for saving animals.
Why the Brain’s Connections to the Body Are Crisscrossed
In all bilaterally symmetrical animals, from humans down to simple worms, nerves cross from one side of the body to the opposite side of the brain. Geometry may explain why.
She Tracks the DNA of Elusive Species That Hide in Harsh Places
On Mount Everest and in the Peruvian Andes, Tracie Seimon uses DNA to study how species and ecosystems respond to climate change, pathogens and other influences.