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.
Our planet has been through five mass extinctions, and some experts say we're heading into our sixth. What can we learn from the past events — and the animals that survived — to make sure we humans can stick around?
Undoubtedly, the concept of privacy has evolved for humans. We're increasingly willing to share our passionate love of needlepoint with our neighbors and also blog about it to strangers. Is there a biological reason for all that sharing?
How did life on Earth begin? Theories abound, but one popular one posits that it started spontaneously from primordial ooze on our planet, while another holds that it literally came from outer space. Who's right?
Where did humans come from? How did they migrate throughout the globe? Thanks to a longstanding anthropological concept and an unexpected discovery, conventional wisdom on human migration may be irrevocably shattered.
When peering thousands of years into the future, there are certain things we can count on -- evolution, extinction, plate tectonics, climate change and, quite possibly, the eruption of a supervolcano. What else does the Earth's far future hold?
Once hunted to the brink of extinction, bearded vultures now lack the genetic diversity to evolve effectively through natural selection or genetic drift. Is the bird's small gene pool the death knell for the species?
As the human population soars, our ability to feed all those hungry mouths can't keep pace. How did an English economist by the name of Thomas Malthus wind up thinking about this very issue in the 19th century, and what's his connection to Darwin?
Every species on Earth, from the majestic humpback whale to the bacteria happily living in your gut, has a special role to play within a defined ecosystem. Can organisms ever trade their existing niches for new ones?
Maybe you've noticed that a lot of unrelated marine animals have a torpedo-like body -- a dolphin may not be related to a small fish, but the shape of both species gets each one through the water quickly. On the other hand, two similar species can evolve into entirely different species. So what's going on here: convergent or divergent evolution?
Extinction can come in the form of an asteroid strike, a volcano eruption or even a nearby supernova. But sometimes devastation follows a chain of tiny, almost imperceptible changes. Who (or what) is behind what some scientists call the sixth mass extinction?
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.
The day our human ancestors figured out fire must have been a pretty exciting one. Through the years, we've changed in so many ways, from growing bigger brains to burying our dead. But how did we get from there to here?
Since Charles Darwin published the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, myths and misinterpretations have eroded public understanding of his ideas. Ready to take another look at one of the related questions that just won't die?
Thanks to our big brains, we humans have figured out ways to make food easily accessible (all 24 hours of the day). But in this era of obesity, can we pinpoint the very beginnings of when we started packing on the pounds -- and is it further back in time than the rise of fast food?
Many of us don't have a clue as to what our great-great grandmother's name was. (No offense, great-great grandmas everywhere.) So imagine extending that family tree a few million years beyond that and seeing what our ancestors were up to.
Imagine a time in Earth's far-flung past when organisms didn't swim through the oceans or populate the lands. Even the mighty dinosaurs hadn't arisen. Will the planet ever return to that lifeless state?
"It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around," wrote Thoreau -- an odd quote from someone who's known for living alone in the woods. "Know thyself"? As it turns out, it's harder than it sounds.