Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponized spit, expandable armor, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.
We have yet to discover a single trace of alien life, despite the extremely high probability that it exists somewhere. This contradiction is popularly known as the Fermi Paradox. A new theory attempts to solve this conundrum by suggesting that habitable planets are quite common in our galaxy, but nascent life gets…
Science fiction movies and TV shows don’t really count unless they have iconic robot characters. That’s a completely true statement, by the way. Nobody cares how good a story is unless they can pretend living in a reality where sentient robots, awesome droids, and fun little machine pals exists. We want to live in the…
This fossil of an ancient winged ant queen was recently discovered along the banks of the Flathead River in Montana. It’s the first of its kind ever discovered, and it’s forcing scientists to rethink when these creatures first appeared on Earth.
Evolution is a pretty simple to grasp! Traits in a species that are more advantageous for like, survival get passed down to future generations because those traits helped the species survive. Evolution is not always hilarious though. It is in this video from Casually Explained that combines jokes about video games,…
A German research team recently discovered what they thought were five distinct species of nematode worms on account of significant facial differences. But it turns out they’re a single species of worm—a fascinating creature that changes the shape of its mouth depending on what food is available.
Threespine sticklebacks hatch in fresh water pools near streams. When they mature, they need to make their way back to the ocean to live. So if their way to the ocean is cut off, they’re screwed. Or are they?
The design of the modern bicycle seems rather obvious, right? Two symmetrical wheels attached to a simple frame. But it took a while for us to get to the streamline design of bikes today. Bicycles before were illustrious and ornate and frankly, ridiculous forms of transportation. Here is animator Thallis Vestergaard…
A very particular shade of blue hair has evolved independently on eight separate occasions and in at least three different ways in tarantulas, a new study finds. And scientists are having a hell of a time figuring out why.
The Great Pumpkin Shortage may have you grumbling over the price of mashed gourd this Thanksgiving, but if it weren’t for our distant ancestors, America’s favorite nutmeg latte scapegoat wouldn’t even exist.
We typically think of evolution as a progression from simplicity to complexity. But one organism seems to have thrown the rulebook out the window: a microbial animal that offers a striking example of evolution run “backwards.”
A new dinosaur species sheds some light on how duck-billed dinosaurs got their crests. Paleontologists say Probrachylophosaurus bergei is a missing link between two other species, and it fills in vital pieces of the story of how crests evolved.
Conventional wisdom says that brains don’t fossilize, but these seven fossilized brains beg to differ.
It’s easy to get excited about new fossil discoveries, but sometimes a second look at an old find can reveal something just as surprising.
An undergraduate student from the University of Alberta has uncovered the fossilized remains of an Ornithomimus dinosaur with preserved tail feathers and soft tissue. The remarkable specimen is offering important insights into the plumage patterns of these ancient creatures, while tightening the linkages between…
Vampire bats are the only vertebrates that feed on the blood of other mammals. But the ability to do so may be buried across the tree of life, according to a new study which pinpoints the underlying genetic origins of traits that make a good vampire.
When it comes to the emergence of new lifeforms, we typically think of a single species evolving into another. But as a new study of fruit flies and parasitic wasps demonstrates, the emergence of a new species can set off a domino effect that, in this case, creates not one, but several new species.
Meet Pliobates catalonia, an extinct species of ape that roamed the jungles of Catalonia some 11.5 million years ago. Because of this ancient creature’s many surprising physical characteristics, researchers are having to revise their conceptions of what the last common ancestor of all living apes—humans included—might…
The tuatara isn’t actually a lizard. It’s the last survivor of a 250 million year old group of reptiles that mostly went extinct with the dinosaurs. It doesn’t have a penis, and ironically, that’s made it a linchpin for understanding how penises evolved in vertebrates.
Homo naledi, the newly discovered species of early hominin announced last month, is drawing a lot of fire from paleoanthropologists.