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/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/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

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/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

The first smile

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

Michael Graziano

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

Idea/Evolution

The link between language and cognition is a red herring

Frans de Waal

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/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/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/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/Evolution

Still seeking omega

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

John Farrell

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/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

Video/Evolution

The wily and merciless veined octopus stalks an unsuspecting rock crab

5 minutes