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Celebrate a year’s worth of scientific and mathematical insights by solving this brain-teasing cryptic crossword from our puzzle columnist.

Puzzle solvers explored how evolution may have used negative and positive control mechanisms to shape the conflicting parental functions of reproduction and child rearing.

Two dynamic, seemingly opposing forces likely played an important role in the evolution of reproduction and child rearing in social animals like bees and humans.

How much stock should we put in mathematical models of evolution that have not been validated by rigorous empirical data?

Evolutionary stories like the grandmother hypothesis are easy to construct from mathematical models, but how well do they reflect reality?

The all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect is far too simplistic to describe the real world.

If a forest is burning and we don’t know what’s responsible, does it have a cause?

Computer code serves as a useful analogy for what our genes do, but the complexity and messiness of life go well beyond simple analogies and mathematical models.

Can a set of simple instructions produce complex, three-dimensional living structures?

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