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Evolution

These articles explore evolution - the changes seen in the inherited traits of a population from one generation to the next. Evolution is one of the great mysteries of biology, since it is a slow process and difficult to study.

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What is it about Earth that makes it just right for life?

Our planet sits in the sun’s Goldilocks zone: the region that’s not too hot and not too cold. But it takes more than temperature to make a planet just right for supporting forms of life as diverse as the Earth’s.


Family Tree of Homo Sapiens Continues to Evolve

Were hobbits and giants real? And are they distant relatives of humans? See more »

Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Ever Found Suggest a Human Evolution Rewrite

Remains in Morocco push back Homo sapiens origins at least 100,000 years — and show that our species evolved neither in the way nor place we've assumed. See more »

New Analysis Places 'Hobbit' on Unexpected Limb of the Human Family Tree

Homo floresiensis, popularly known as a hobbit, is an extinct, miniature human species that might be much, much older than previously thought. See more »

Ancient Skeleton DNA Suggests Genetic Link to First Humans in North America

Do ancient human remains mean we've found an ancient ancestor? It's not always that simple. See more »

Climate Helped Shape the Human Nose, Study Says

Temperature and humidity might have determined nostril width. See more »

Seeing Food May Have Lured Fish Onto Land

The ability to see food on land might explain why our fish ancestors evolved, eventually growing limbs so they could stalk the abundance of prey on land. See more »

Is It Time for Our Understanding of Evolution to Evolve?

A group of researchers is pressing to rethink Modern Synthesis, a version of evolutionary theory we've used since the 1940s to explain how species change and adapt. See more »

Discovered? New But Extinct Human Relative From Melanesia

A statistician dove deep into human DNA and may have uncovered a possible new branch on the old family tree. See more »

Right-handed Habit May Have Started 2 Million Years Ago

Humans are the only animals that strongly favor dominant right hands. This trait might be much older than suspected, perhaps going back 1.8 million years to Homo habilis. See more »

Why Didn't Evolution Give Us the Ability to Smell Fresh Water?

You'd think being able to smell drinkable water would be an evolutionary advantage. But we can only smell things that suggest potable water. Why is that? See more »