A Pennsylvania birder spotted the bird of a lifetime in his backyard this past spring—it was a hybrid of three species across two genera in a single bird. He’d found a three-in-one warbler.
What do blind cavefish, dinosaurs, and sunburnt humans have in common? A lot more than you may realize, according to a thought-provoking new study.
Ants can do pretty amazing things when they work together, like building elaborate nests and even creating bridges from their bodies. One team of scientists wanted to know how these social insects figure out how to take on their various roles within a colony.
At the age of 34, American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Steve Brusatte has already accomplished more in his field than some scientists hope to over their entire careers.
In a scientific first, researchers have used an MRI scanner to study the brains of Nile crocodiles. Sounds weird—and even a bit dangerous—but the experiment is revealing new insights into the evolution of brains and how mammals and birds acquired the capacity to comprehend complex sounds.
The history of elephants—from gigantic woolly mammoths through to modern forest-dwelling pachyderms—is more complicated than we thought. An analysis of modern and ancient elephant genomes shows that interbreeding and hybridization was an important aspect of elephant evolution.
Humans tend to rely on crafted tools in order to harm one another, but most other species have evolved weapons right on their bodies. Normally, these bashers, spikes, and other instruments of attack appear on heads or limbs. But only rarely do they end up on tails—and scientists want to know why
There are some shrimp species equipped with truly remarkable weaponry. The pistol shrimp’s massive claw closes with a powerful snap—louder than a gunshot, at 210 decibels—temporarily creating an air bubble with so much energy that it pops with an underwater shock wave and a flash of light and heat temporarily hotter…
Poison aside, frogs are generally weak and pathetic. Dinosaurs, meanwhile, range from weak and pathetic to huge and strong, so I’m going to say they’re generally “not weak.” But 70 million years ago, things were different. Extinct species of frogs like the Beelzebufo ampinga grew to be ten pounds in size. Maybe they…
All living whales are descended from terrestrial mammals, but how these aquatic creatures evolved into giant filter-feeders remains a biological mystery. New research shows that ancient whales had razor-sharp teeth similar to land-based carnivores—an observation that’s upsetting a prevailing idea that ancient whales…
Continents’ constant shifting is one of the first things you learn when you study the geologic history of Earth. South America fits into Africa like a puzzle piece, after all. Back 200 million years ago, everything was combined in a supercontinent called Pangea.
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…