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Dinosaur Bone Study Reveals That Not All Giants Grew Alike
A survey of prehistoric bones reveals that T. rex and some of its cousins had more than one way to reach enormous sizes. Evolution may have preserved that variation in modern animals too.
Geometric Analysis Reveals How Birds Mastered Flight
Partnerships between engineers and biologists have begun to reveal how birds evolved their superb maneuverability.
Embryo Cells Set Patterns for Growth by Pushing and Pulling
Patterns that guide the development of feathers and other features can be set by mechanical forces in the embryo, not just by gradients of chemicals.
Animals Count and Use Zero. How Far Does Their Number Sense Go?
Crows recently demonstrated an understanding of the concept of zero. It’s only the latest evidence of animals’ talents for numerical abstraction — which may still differ from our own grasp of numbers.
The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology
Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.
A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate
New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.
In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech
The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.
A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order
Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.
How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds
Modern birds emerged in a snap of evolutionary time through a series of simple genetic changes.