Evolution


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Astronomy Biology Chemistry Cosmology Deep Time Earth Science Ecology & Environmental Sciences Evolution Genetics History of Science Human Evolution Mathematics Physics Quantum Theory
Essay/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

Essay/Evolution
War in the womb

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

Suzanne Sadedin

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/Evolution
The first smile

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

Michael Graziano

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/Ecology & 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

Essay/Art
Eye candy

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

Mohan Matthen

Essay/Biology
Life’s restlessness

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

Addy Pross

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/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

Essay/Consciousness & 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

Essay/Biology
Dead or Alive?

Is it time to kill off the idea of the ‘Selfish Gene’? We asked four experts to respond to our most controversial essay

David Dobbs, John Dupré, Karen James and others

Essay/Evolution
Possible creatures

It seemed Darwin had banished biological essences – yet evolution would fail without nature’s library of Platonic forms

Andreas Wagner

Essay/Childhood & Adolescence
Brilliant impersonators

We prize originality, yet humans are natural-born copycats and only good imitators survive. Is it time to celebrate the rip-off?

Kat McGowan

Essay/Evolution
A good social Darwinism

Evolution has changed all we know about how humans behave, compete and co-operate. When will economics catch up?

David Sloan Wilson

Essay/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

Essay/Evolution
Still seeking omega

The Vatican still refuses to endorse evolutionary theory – setting a billion believers at odds with modern science

John Farrell

Essay/Ethics
Beyond the paleo

Our morality may be a product of natural selection, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone

Allen Buchanan & Russell Powell

Essay/Bioethics
Boatload of swine

Rafting the Grand Canyon seemed the perfect wilderness escape until we found we’d brought a deadly virus with us

Jordan Fisher Smith

Essay/Biology
Life doesn’t make trash

A genome is not a blueprint for building a human being, so is there any way to judge whether DNA is junk or not?

Itai Yanai & Martin Lercher