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animals

Abstractions blog

Can New Species Evolve From Cancers? Maybe. Here’s How.

August 19, 2019

Researchers agree it’s a long shot, but transmissible cancers could theoretically evolve into independent species. Certain weird parasites might be living proof.

evolution

Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals

July 17, 2019

Theories about how animals became multicellular are shifting as researchers find greater complexity in our single-celled ancestors.

Art for "Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity"
Abstractions blog

Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity

May 9, 2019

Skyrocketing animal diversity a half-billion years ago was linked to spikes and dips in marine oxygen levels, according to a detailed geological study.

Q&A

She Finds Clues to Future Sustainability in Old Food Webs

March 21, 2019

By reconstructing prehistoric food webs and analyzing the diverse interactions of humans with other species, the ecologist Jennifer Dunne is developing a new understanding of sustainability through network science.

Art for "Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas"
neuroscience

Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas

March 6, 2019

To make headway on the mystery of consciousness, some researchers are trying a rigorous new way to test competing theories.

Art for "New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution"
evolution

New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution

February 19, 2019

Researchers hope that the genes of a glowing squid can illuminate how animals evolved organs for beneficial bacteria.

Abstractions blog

Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

January 8, 2019

Jellyfish didn’t need novel genes to take an evolutionary leap in complexity.

Art for "A ‘Self-Aware’ Fish Raises Doubts About a Cognitive Test"
neuroscience

A ‘Self-Aware’ Fish Raises Doubts About a Cognitive Test

December 12, 2018

A report that a fish can pass the “mirror test” for self-awareness reignites debates about how to define and measure that elusive quality.

evolution

Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

November 20, 2018

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.