Environments make species. This was the fundamental biology lesson that was drilled into Charles Darwin when he visited the Galápagos Islands back in 1835, a trip that ultimately inspired his theory of natural selection. Nearly 200 years later, scientists in Hawaii have stumbled upon a fascinating evolutionary quirk…
We typically think of evolution as an agonizingly gradual process, but there are occasions when nature compels species to move at a quicker pace. By studying a population of lizards both before and after a particularly severe cold snap, scientists have documented natural selection in fast motion, where the surviving…
Claiming that evolution is “debatable, controversial, and too complicated for students,” Turkey’s board of education has decided to stop teaching Darwinian natural selection in its schools. The move has infuriated the country’s secular opposition, but it could embolden other countries to do the same.
Researchers have discovered that Atlantic killifish are now 8,000 times more resilient to high levels of toxic waste than other fish, allowing them to survive extreme levels of pollution that would normally be deadly. It sounds like an evolutionary success story, but examples like this are exceptionally rare in the…
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.
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.
It's possible that HIV's ability to cause AIDS is slowing. A new paper from Oxford University suggests the disease is becoming less deadly and less infectious over time as it adapts to our immune system and therapies.
Florida has been the scene of multiple controversies over whether creationism should be taught in schools. This is odd, as Florida is the scene of one of the oldest and most thoroughly-studied examples of natural selection.
Fruits can get their colors from a lot of places. New research suggests that the color preferences of the animals that eat fruit are among the strongest influences on fruit color. It's an assumption scientists have always made, but now they have some evidence to support it.
In what's considered one of the finest examples of natural selection in action, Tibetans have acquired the ability to thrive at extremely high altitudes. Incredibly, researchers say the gene required for this adaptation was inherited from the now-extinct Denisovans.
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.
How many different ways are there to say that culling invasive or unwanted species is rarely the best solution to manage a disrupted ecosystem? It looks like we have to keep coming up with new ways of saying it, because our hunting behavior itself is driving invasive lionfish into hiding.
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.
Speaking to Radio Times, he also said that China's one child policy wasn't a terrible idea, and that humanity has essentially stopped evolving.
Scurvy used to be the scourge of the navy, killing sailors on long voyages. Now it's a blight to evolutionary biologists. They just don't know why it exists in humans.
We think of natural selection as the kind of thing that happened long before people got involved. But one Soviet scientist believed that humans not only participated in a special kind of selection, but we ate better because of it.
It makes sense that an animal might hid away in the ground while it's maturing, but 17 years is a long, seemingly random amount of time. But it's not like cicadas picked a number out of a hat and were stuck with it. There's a something specific about that number, and numberphile is sussing it out.
You've probably heard it a million times in descriptions of evolution and natural selection. Charles Darwin even liked to say it. But the phrase "survival of the fittest" is wrong, and understanding why can help us better understand what it means to be human.
It takes a special species like Homo sapiens to devour something designed to fend off predators. Given our obsession with spiciness, it's astonishing that we haven't simply decided that eating thornbushes is truly delicious. Now that scientists have revealed the gene responsible for mustard spiciness, I predict we're…