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Sleep Evolved Before Brains. Hydras Are Living Proof.
Studies of sleep are usually neurological. But some of nature’s simplest animals suggest that sleep evolved for metabolic reasons, long before brains even existed.
DNA’s Histone Spools Hint at How Complex Cells Evolved
New work shows that histones, long treated as boring spools for DNA, sit at the center of the origin story of eukaryotes and continue to play important roles in evolution and disease.
A Backdoor Lets the Immune System Monitor the Brain
A newfound hub of immune system activity at the back of the brain solves a century-old puzzle.
DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists
The bizarre genome of the world’s most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.
Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life
New data indicating that Earth’s surface broke up about 3.2 billion years ago helps clarify how plate tectonics drove the evolution of complex life.
Why Extraterrestrial Life May Not Seem Entirely Alien
The zoologist Arik Kershenbaum argues that because some evolutionary challenges are truly universal, life throughout the cosmos may share certain features.
How to Understand COVID-19 Variants and Their Effects on Vaccines
Researchers are tracking the different strains of SARS-CoV-2 and studying how they spread through our population and our bodies.