Evolution


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Evolution
War in the womb

A ferocious biological struggle between mother and baby belies any sentimental ideas we might have about pregnancy

Suzanne Sadedin

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Biology
Die, selfish gene, die

For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?

David Dobbs

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Biology
Does life have a purpose?

Nobody expects atoms and molecules to have purposes, so why do we still think of living things in this way?

Michael Ruse

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Biology
Life is quantum

Weird quantum effects are so delicate it seems they could only happen in a lab. How on Earth can life depend on them?

Johnjoe McFadden

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Evolution
Aliens in our midst

The ctenophore’s brain suggests that, if evolution began again, intelligence would re-emerge because nature repeats itself

Douglas Fox

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Biology
Rethinking extinction

The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

Stewart Brand

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Cognition and intelligence
The elephant as a person

Elephants might have the necessary capacities for personhood – we just need to help them acquire the cognitive scaffolding

Don Ross

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Genetics
Unified theory of evolution

Darwin’s theory that natural selection drives evolution is incomplete without input from evolution’s anti-hero: Lamarck

Michael Skinner

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Evolution
Stone-age sex

When it comes to sex, will humans ever be liberated from the basic biological needs that drove our evolutionary past?

Neil McArthur

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Evolution
The Neanderthal renaissance

Handprints on a cave wall, crumbs from a meal: the new science of Neanderthals radically recasts the meaning of humanity

Rebecca Wragg Sykes

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Evolution
Evolution unleashed

Is evolutionary science due for a major overhaul – or is talk of ‘revolution’ misguided?

Kevin Laland

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Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

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Biology
A closed loop

The DNA helix gave 20th-century biology its symbol. But the more we learn, the more life circles back to an older image

Jamie Davies

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Evolution
Life without design

Constructor theory is a new vision of physics, but it helps to answer a very old question: why is life possible at all?

Chiara Marletto

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Evolution
The first smile

Why do laughter, smiles and tears look so similar? Perhaps because they all evolved from a single root

Michael Graziano

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Biology
Animal spirits

The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence

Stephen T Asma

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Ecology and environmental sciences
The gene that jumped

Genes that leap from one species to another are more common than we thought. Does this shake up the tree of life?

Ferris Jabr

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Beauty and aesthetics
Eye candy

The pleasure we take in beauty must have been shaped by evolution — but what adaptive advantage did it give us?

Mohan Matthen

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Evolution
Is there a war instinct?

Many evolutionists believe that humans have a drive for waging war. But they are wrong and the idea is dangerous

David P Barash

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Biology
Life’s restlessness

Why does life resist disorder? Because ever since the first replicating molecules, another kind of stability has beckoned

Addy Pross

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Biology
Our chemical Eden

To figure out the origin of life might take a conceptual shift towards seeing it as a pattern of molecular energy

Tim Requarth

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Consciousness and altered states
Mind readers

Human awareness of our own minds and others’ is unlike that of any other animal. But why did consciousness evolve?

David P Barash

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Deep time
Last hominin standing

Was human evolution inevitable, or do we owe our existence to a once-in-a-universe stroke of luck?

Dan Falk

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Genetics
Wild thing

How and why did humans domesticate animals – and what might this tell us about the future of our own species?

Jacob Mikanowski

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Philosophy of science
Life is not easily bounded

Working out where one hare ends and another begins is easy; a siphonophore, not so much. What is an individual in nature?

Derek J Skillings