This Week: 3-D printing: Wave of the future
In the News: Driving while blabbing
Coming Thursday: Social media: Ultimate generosity?
Bad feet? Aching back? Impacted wisdom teeth? Blame balky designs inherited from your relatives. How has evolution equipped — or mal-equipped — us for modern life? How do big brains support culture that supports big brains?
A common mole never sees the light of day, but it can pinpoint the source of food in just a few seconds — thanks to its newfound stereo smelling ability. If two ears help you hear in stereo, what good are two nostrils?
Research in salty ponds shows how one species of pupfish becomes three — in a few cases. More important, it shows why this did not happen in thousands of other locations. Does an impenetrable “death valley” isolate viable species?
Life is biology is species: But how many species live on Earth? About six million arthropods (insects, spiders and crustaceans), says a new study.
An alluring flash pattern is only the first step in firefly reproduction. Females actually pay more attention to the “nuptial gift” that carries sperm. A new look at these popular creatures shows that the battle of the sexes is more subtle and complex than we thought.
Plants and animals are in a constant struggle for survival and reproduction. Plant toxins prevent most animals from eating their seeds and destroying them. No kidding: A desert mouse is smart enough to eat edible fruit flesh without triggering the “mustard-oil bomb”!
Returning to the site of a classic “first forest” site, New York scientists have found extra complexity: three fossilized trees-like species aged almost 400 million years. One find, a vine-like monster, may be a direct descendant of all seed-bearing trees!
Lake Vostok could house ancient bacteria, but we already know that bacteria can live in boiling water or light up a glowing squid. Countless weird-and-weirdest critters live between grains of sand… Curious about biology’s strange shelf?
Scientists thought wings were the first evidence of flight. But plenty of falling ants can glide back to “their” tree to avoid being devoured on the forest floor. If an ant’s brain and body are able to detect its position and change its flight path, is gliding the first flight?
78 million years ago, a pregnant predator of the Cretaceous ocean died and sank to the sea floor. Today, her fossil gives the first proof that plesiosaurs, one of the commonest and baddest marine reptiles of the era, did not lay eggs. It gave birth.
People with a genetic case of dwarfism in Ecuador don’t get cancer or diabetes, and a new study links that benefit to the genetic changes we see when calories are severely restricted. Could blocking growth hormone in adulthood lead to serious health benefits?
Horseradish, onions and caffeine all activate a group of chemical receptors that can trigger a pain signal. Turns out the same receptors exist in fruitflies, mussels, corals and mule deer. Why has this receptor survived a half-billion years? Because it protects against toxic chemicals – even if they taste good in small doses!
Do new species arise because so many niches are available in a new habitat? Or do they arise because newcomers have multiple talents for survival? A new study points to traits that enable success in the new location.
Animals spend a lot of energy avoiding toxic chemicals in their food. A new type of gene that does this in fruit flies reinforces the importance of reproduction in shaping evolution.
The theory of evolution is 150 years old, but forever young. We examine proofs for evolution, and four cool studies showing just how correct Charles Darwin was. Want to talk about silent crickets?