What's up in

evolution

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex
molecular biology

Missing Mutations Suggest a Reason for Sex

July 13, 2017

Sex might help natural selection purge excessive mistakes from our genes.

Chameleons
insights puzzle

Why Are There Two Sexes?

July 7, 2017

Asexual reproduction can produce twice as many offspring as sexual reproduction without the hassle of finding and courting a mate. So why do most complex animals have two sexes? Why not three?

Jessica Flack
Q&A

How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation

July 6, 2017

The evolutionary biologist Jessica Flack seeks the computational rules that groups of organisms use to solve problems.

evolution

Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?

June 29, 2017

If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.

Tiny parasitoid wasps
evolution

Moonlighting Genes Evolve for a Venomous Job

June 22, 2017

An unexpected mechanism allows wasps to rapidly co-opt genes for new toxic functions.

evolution

The Thorny Truth About Spine Evolution

June 14, 2017

A definitive explanation for why plants evolved spines remains elusive, and human biases compound the problem.

Hungry giraffe
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Darwinian Evolution Explains Lamarckism’

June 2, 2017

How Darwinian natural selection can produce and sustain a Lamarckian “inheritance of acquired characteristics.”

Is a spiderweb part of the animal’s mind?
cognitive science

The Thoughts of a Spiderweb

May 23, 2017

Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.

insights puzzle

Can Darwinian Evolution Explain Lamarckism?

May 11, 2017

Answering three questions can help reveal how the “inheritance of acquired characteristics” fits into modern evolutionary theory.