480 million years ago, a slug-like ancestor of modern snails and clams had hundreds of tiny teeth, a body covered in prickly spines, and a built-in helmet. Called Calvapilosa, it’s one of the earliest—and weirdest—mollusks ever discovered.
Over a century ago, scientists discarded a proposed theory that human limbs evolved from gills, given the lack of evidence in the fossil record. That theory is being revisited in light of new genetic results just published in the journal Development.
A retractable, jawed proboscis. A lithe, slippery body. A tiny dumbbell with slow blinking eyes. Meet the Tully monster, an actual sea creature that seems to have sprung to life out of a drug-induced fever dream involving vibrators and surgical tools. At long last, scientists think they know what kind of creature it…
When explaining human origins, a staggering 42% of all Americans still ascribe to a creationist interpretation—despite the fact that there’s plenty of evidence to support the theory of natural selection. Here are some of the most potent scientific discoveries that prove Darwin was right.
I know breast milk is good and all, but when I became a mom I was kinda shocked at how much it was cited as a cure-all for anything that ailed my newborn. It turns out it’s not just because of the nutritional value. My baby’s immune system is communicating with mine THROUGH MY NIPPLES. And now that I understand how it…
By simulating a mass extinction on a population of virtual robots, researchers have shown that these cataclysmic events are an important contributor to an organism’s ability to evolve, a finding that has implications to evolutionary biology, the business sector—and even artificial intelligence.
Scientists have finished sequencing the first complete octopus genome, and it’s a big step toward unraveling many cephalopod mysteries, including the basis of their unusual intelligence and unmatched camouflage abilities.
The discovery of Pappochelys, a Triassic-era reptile with a set of emerging turtle-like features, is helping scientists fill in an important evolutionary gap.
Since the time of Darwin, evolutionary biologists have wondered why the lifespans of different species vary so significantly. A new model now suggests that the life expectancy of any given species is a function of evolutionary pressures — a conclusion that hints at the potential for powerful anti-aging interventions…
Esteemed evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson believes the only way we can avoid a catastrophic mass extinction is to set aside half of the planet in permanently protected areas for the 10 million other species who live on Earth. Wilson calls the concept "Half Earth" — and he says its not as outlandish as it might…
For decades, most evolutionary biologists based their understanding of female mating choice on a paper that turned out to be incorrect. The idea that females (including human ones) always choose the single "best" mate, rather than choosing promiscuity? Wrong.
Evolutionary biologists like to say that mutations are random but that selection is not; species are crafted by their environments. But if this is the case, why is it so hard to predict evolution? A recent genetic analysis of stick insects provides an important clue.
Dinosaurs took on many different shapes and sizes, but paleontologists are learning their success had nothing to do with their iconically massive bodies. If anything, their evolutionary success would appear to have come from their longstanding ability to keep shrinking. Just ask the birds.
We humans are a smart bunch, but we really suck when it comes to understanding and handling excessively large numbers. Here’s why we’re so bad at it — and what you can do to make sense of concepts and figures that are unreasonably huge.
All whales and dolphins are descended from terrestrial mammals, ancient creatures that were very similar to the modern hippopotamus. Now, a fascinating new genetics study shows the incredible evolutionary changes these animals had to experience to become the perfectly adapted marine animals we see today.
In a remarkable experiment that's been going on for nearly a quarter century, biologists have shown that lab-grown bacteria — even in a stable, unchanging world — will continue to evolve in a way that makes it increasingly good at reproducing.
One of the classic images from evolutionary theory is of two males smashing each other up to compete for the chance to fertilize a female. Scientists have spent over a century studying this kind of male competition, but new discoveries reveal that competition between females is just as important.
Take a look at the battle unfolding in this remarkable image. It shows the sperm from two related fruit fly species competing inside a reproductive tract. It’s an evolutionary struggle that, as scientists are now learning, often leads to the introduction of entirely new species.
Following the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1860, many political theorists and opportunistic politicians applied his findings to human society. In the 20th century, these ideas were put into practice — and it nearly destroyed us. Here’s why Social Darwinism was one of the worst ideas ever.