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?
And how did it traverse 460 kilometers of ocean? Apparently by crossing a narrow band of ice during the last Ice Age. A new study echoes evolutionary giants Darwin and Wallace and highlights the role of sea level in animal migration.
A chemical from plastics “looks” like estrogen to the body. If it makes female fish more likely to flirt with males of a different species, could endocrine disruptors cause cross-breeding, and a decline in native fish after invaders enter their rivers?
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”!
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?
athogens can change the behavior of their hosts — and now we see that a single viral gene forces a caterpillar to climb a tree before it dies. From that high vantage, the virus can infect more caterpillars. It’s nifty and thrifty, unless you’re a gypsy moth!
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.
Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving!
Long ago, nature devised the hinge and ball and socket for appendages like legs and wings. The screw is the latest simple machine to be discovered in nature. Why do weevils, a type of beetle, have a screw? How does it help weevils survive their 3-D world?
Darwin thought life had to predate the Cambrian era, and yet there was no evidence. In 1953, a Wisconsin geologist saw fossils aged almost 2 billion years. Now, life has been discovered in rocks from 3.5 billion years. What was life like, and how do we recognize it?
Found: The smallest farmers in the world! If you’re hungry, and moving to a land without food, the smart money says, “Take some seeds.” And that’s exactly what a common soil amoeba does: It totes along bacteria so it can eat them in its new home.
Most fireflies flash on their own schedule, but some do it all at once. In most animals, the guys try to stand out from the crowd – but these flies try to make a crowd! What’s the evolutionary advantage? What can we learn about bug-brains from the “all-at-once” display of synchronous fireflies?
Study finds that male body odor is harder to mask, but the male nose is more easily confused. Info lends insight into human mating, and helps perfume makers. So what’s in your deodorant?
The color, vision and genetics of an African fish all vary depending on the clarity of its home waters. A new study suggests how species can form without geographic barriers.