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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
Why did consciousness evolve? | Aeon
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Evolution

Why making if-then connections might be the key to consciousness

5 minutes

Our Earth, shaped by life | Aeon
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Earth science and climate

Our Earth, shaped by life

Darwin was the first to see that all lifeforms, from worms to corals, transform the planet. What does that mean for us?

Olivia Judson

Ed Yong: the hidden world of animal senses | Aeon
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video

Biology

To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition

45 minutes

The science of symmetry | Aeon
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video

Evolution

Symmetry rules life on Earth – but it comes with many fascinating exceptions

9 minutes

Moths and beetles in slow-motion flight | Aeon
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video

Biology

There’s no one way for an insect to fly, but they’re all amazing in close up and slo-mo

7 minutes

Seeing and somethingness | Aeon
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Consciousness and altered states

Seeing and somethingness

An evolutionary approach to consciousness can resolve the ‘hard problem’ – with radical implications for animal sentience

Nicholas Humphrey

Fortune favours the shrewd | Aeon
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Evolution

Fortune favours the shrewd

Attaining and maintaining power lies at the heart of almost all animal societies. And it’s as devious as human politicking

Lee Alan Dugatkin

Why whale song is like pop music | Aeon
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video

Biology

Like pop music, humpback whale songs spread, mutate, and fall out of fashion

9 minutes

What on earth is a xenobot? | Aeon
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Evolution

What on earth is a xenobot?

The more we understand how cells produce shape and form, the more inadequate the idea of a genomic blueprint looks

Philip Ball

Connected-up-brains | Aeon
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Evolution

Connected-up-brains

Bat friends, monkeys sharing, and humans holding hands: the brains of social animals synchronise and expand one another

Sofia Quaglia

The split-body problem | Aeon
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Biology

The split-body problem

Why we need to stop thinking about parents, offspring and sex when we try to understand how life reproduces itself

Gunnar O Babcock

The web of life | Aeon
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Evolution

The web of life

Classic evolutionary theory holds that species separate over time. But it’s fuzzier than that – now we know they also merge

Juli Berwald

Ancestral dreams | Aeon
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essay

Sleep and dreams

Ancestral dreams

We’re not the only beings that dream. What visions might sleep bring to a cell, an insect, a mollusk, an ape?

Sidarta Ribeiro

The many disguises of Australian walking sticks | Aeon
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video

Evolution

The master-of-disguise creature whose whole life is an elaborate lie

5 minutes

Promethean beasts | Aeon
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essay

Evolution

Promethean beasts

Far from being hardwired to flee fire, some animals use it to their own ends, helping us understand our own pyrocognition

Ivo Jacobs

This riotous life | Aeon
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Palaeontology

This riotous life

There’s no rhythm to mass extinctions, no pattern to evolutionary recovery. Life bursts forth, in cacophonous adaptation

Riley Black

On the origin of minds | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

On the origin of minds

Cognition did not appear out of nowhere in ‘higher’ animals but goes back millions, perhaps billions, of years

Pamela Lyon

Why simplicity works | Aeon
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Physics

Why simplicity works

Does the existence of a multiverse hold the key for why nature’s laws seem so simple?

Johnjoe McFadden

What animals think of death | Aeon
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Evolution

What animals think of death

Having a concept of death, far from being a uniquely human feat, is a fairly common trait in the animal kingdom

Susana Monsó

An idea with bite | Aeon
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essay

Genetics

An idea with bite

The ‘selfish gene’ persists for the reason all good scientific metaphors do: it remains a sharp tool for clear thinking

J Arvid Ågren

Aerial sheep herding in Yokneam | Aeon
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video

Biology

Watch the elegant flow of a sheep herd, seen from the sky above Israel

1 minute

Rotifers: charmingly bizarre and often ignored | Aeon
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video

Biology

An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures

9 minutes

ORIGINALCharting animal cognition | Aeon
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Cognition and intelligence

How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias

5 minutes

The undying hydra | Aeon
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video

Biology

Blend up a hydra, and its cells will coalesce back into a full creature. How?

5 minutes