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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Scientists have determined that years of ivory poaching to fund Mozambique's civil war altered the genetics of the country's elephants. But it only affected the females. A new study tells why.

By Joanna Thompson

Footprints unearthed at White Sands National Park in New Mexico were made some 23,000 years ago. That's much earlier than scientists have previously placed humans in the Americas.

By Matthew Robert Bennett & Sally Christine Reynolds

Batesian mimicry is an evolutionary strategy used by vulnerable species to look like a dangerous species so predators will leave them alone. But it only works under the right circumstances.

By Jesslyn Shields

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The marshmallow test is all about delayed gratification in children, but can other animals pass it too? And why would they?

By Jennifer Walker-Journey

The question of exactly what is human consciousness and how it came to be in the human mind has raged forever between philosophers, religious scholars and scientists, but does the theory of the bicameral mind explain it?

By Robert Lamb

Do we owe the emergence of language and self-reflection to the ancient and sustained consumption of psilocybin mushrooms?

By Robert Lamb

Organisms not related to each other can develop similar physical attributes without even exchanging notes.

By Jesslyn Shields

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We make a big deal about modern humans being smarter than Neanderthals, but, really, are we?

By Jesslyn Shields

The flightless Aldabra rail lives exclusively on the Aldabra Atoll in Madagascar. But it appears to have descended from birds that soar.

By Mark Mancini

A new global report says 1 million species are at risk of extinction — the greatest number in human history.

By Jonathan Strickland

The more we research our closest extinct human ancestor, the more we realize how similar we were. But could we have shared a joke?

By Jesslyn Shields

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New research suggests modern humans owe some of our genetic resistance against RNA viruses to our Neanderthal ancestors.

By Jesslyn Shields

Homo erectus lived for more than a million years on Earth, but laziness and lack of innovation might have been the death of them.

By Jesslyn Shields

Turns out that evolutionary advantages can come with a price.

By Robert Lamb

A group of scientists are suggesting that panspermia may be responsible for the Cambrian Explosion millions of years ago – the time when most major animal groups appear in the fossil record.

By Christopher Hassiotis

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New research shows that homo sapiens weren't the first folks to decorate their caves with artwork. Neanderthals actually did it thousands of years earlier.

By Alia Hoyt

Cheddar Man was a dark-skinned, blue-eyed Stone Age Brit. You don't see those every day.

By Jesslyn Shields

Think you could beat a prehistoric woman in an arm wrestling match? Think again.

By Jesslyn Shields

Saudi Arabian rock engravings could be the oldest artistic rendering of human-dog relationships ever discovered. It's certainly the oldest depiction of a leash.

By Jesslyn Shields

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In recent years, three mummified cubs from an extinct lion species have emerged from the Russian permafrost. Cloning might be possible, but is it wise?

By Jesslyn Shields

New research suggests Neanderthals went extinct, not because we outcompeted them, but because we took over their ecological niche.

By Jesslyn Shields

Fossils of a "missing link" may never be found, but new research shows apes' last common ancestor may have been smaller than previously thought.

By Jesslyn Shields

Neanderthal genes may be to thank for your skin tone, hair color and even smoking habit.

By Kate Kershner

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Over the course of one frigid winter, green anole lizards in Texas changed up their genetic makeup to help them better tolerate cold.

By Jesslyn Shields

Researchers have deduced that Homo sapiens reached Australia 65,000 years ago, extending our presence Down Under by 10,000 years.

By Patrick J. Kiger