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birds

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
In Theory

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

August 23, 2018

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Art for "A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate"
ecology

A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate

May 7, 2018

New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.

520px photo of Jarvis holding a zebra finch
Q&A

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

January 30, 2018

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

universality

A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order

July 12, 2016

Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

evolution

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

June 2, 2015

Modern birds emerged in a snap of evolutionary time through a series of simple genetic changes.

Melpomene
genetics

As Animals Mingle, a Baffling Genetic Barrier

August 5, 2014

Despite swapping DNA through interbreeding, butterflies and other animals can maintain distinct species.

evolution

Does Competition Drive Diversity of Species?

March 10, 2014

A large new study of ovenbird lineages questions the extent to which competing species push each other to evolve.