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evolution

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.

Q&A

A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

April 20, 2017

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’

April 3, 2017

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

March 16, 2017

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

March 14, 2017

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.