Die, selfish gene, die
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?
War in the womb
A ferocious biological struggle between mother and baby belies any sentimental ideas we might have about pregnancy
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?
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?
Aliens in our midst
The ctenophore’s brain suggests that, if evolution began again, intelligence would re-emerge because nature repeats itself
The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis
When it comes to sex, will humans ever be liberated from the basic biological needs that drove our evolutionary past?
Unified theory of evolution
Darwin’s theory that natural selection drives evolution is incomplete without input from evolution’s anti-hero: Lamarck
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
The first smile
Why do laughter, smiles and tears look so similar? Perhaps because they all evolved from a single root
The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence
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?
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?
The pleasure we take in beauty must have been shaped by evolution — but what adaptive advantage did it give us?
Why does life resist disorder? Because ever since the first replicating molecules, another kind of stability has beckoned
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
Our chemical Eden
To figure out the origin of life might take a conceptual shift towards seeing it as a pattern of molecular energy
Last hominin standing
Was human evolution inevitable, or do we owe our existence to a once-in-a-universe stroke of luck?
Human awareness of our own minds and others’ is unlike that of any other animal. But why did consciousness evolve?
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
It seemed Darwin had banished biological essences – yet evolution would fail without nature’s library of Platonic forms
We prize originality, yet humans are natural-born copycats and only good imitators survive. Is it time to celebrate the rip-off?
A good social Darwinism
Evolution has changed all we know about how humans behave, compete and co-operate. When will economics catch up?
How and why did humans domesticate animals – and what might this tell us about the future of our own species?
Still seeking omega
The Vatican still refuses to endorse evolutionary theory – setting a billion believers at odds with modern science
Beyond the paleo
Our morality may be a product of natural selection, but that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone
Boatload of swine
Rafting the Grand Canyon seemed the perfect wilderness escape until we found we’d brought a deadly virus with us
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?