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Mating Contests Among Females, Long Ignored, May Shape Evolution
Showy male competitions over mating privileges have grabbed scientists’ attention more often, but new work hints that sexual selection is also widespread among females.
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 Neutral Theory Altered Ideas About Biodiversity
The simple insight that most changes are random had a profound effect on genetics, evolution and ecology.
New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes
Promising efforts at disentangling the effects of genes and the environment on complicated traits may have been confounded by statistical problems.
Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?
How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.
Why Nature Prefers Couples, Even for Yeast
Some species have the equivalent of many more than two sexes, but most do not. A new model suggests the reason depends on how often they mate.
The Elusive Calculus of Insects’ Altruism and Kin Selection
How the ultra-cooperative behavior of ants, bees and other social insects could have evolved continues to challenge formal analysis. But a new theory about hedging bets against nature’s unpredictability may change the math and shift the debate.
The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity
Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection.