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evolution

evolution

The Thorny Truth About Spine Evolution

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’

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

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?

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

Q&A

A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

The computational biologist John Novembre uses our genetic code to rewrite the history of humanity.

Still illustration: changing genes
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘A Ticking Evolutionary Clock’

How to calculate when a gene’s rate of evolution will slow to a crawl.

GIF illustration: changing genes
insights puzzle

A Ticking Evolutionary Clock

How quickly will a gene’s rate of evolution slow to a crawl?

Larger timescales give a clearer picture of evolution.
evolution

Evolution Runs Faster on Short Timescales

Examine evolution over the course of years or centuries, and you’ll find that it progresses much more quickly than it does over geologic time.

evolution

Why Did Life Move to Land? For the View

The ancient creatures who first crawled onto land may have been lured by the informational benefit that comes from seeing through air.