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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Patrick J. Kiger

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.

By Kate Kershner

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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.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By John Donovan

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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?

By Jesslyn Shields

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Researchers subjected a bunch of E. coli to deadly levels of antibiotics. It didn’t take that long for the bacteria to become drug-resistant, as this video shows.

By Kate Kershner

Neanderthals may be long gone, but their genetic footprint lives on — in us.

By Robert Lamb

Only a tiny percentage of animals are socially and sexually monogamous, but that includes humans. A new study says ancient STDs may be at the root of the practice.

By Jesslyn Shields

You might want one, but chances are you don't have one. Why is that?

By Laurie L. Dove

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The newly developed family tree of Earth’s 2.3 million species is a first draft of the 3.5-billion-year history of evolution.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Think your job is hard? Biological anthropologists use tools from practically all walks of science to understand the differences within and between human populations. Investigating the environmental and hereditary bases of diversity isn't easy.

By Meisa Salaita

Author Annalee Newitz (Gawker Media's Gizmodo editor-in-chief) talks to us about Earth's 5 mass extinctions, as well as the possibility that we live in one right now.

The mass extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs is probably the most well-known, but it definitely isn't the worst.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

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Hint: It wasn't because an enormous comet or asteroid struck Earth.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

If dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct, you wouldn't exist. Extinction may seem inherently bad, but sometimes the death of a species encourages new life.

By Karen Kirkpatrick

We're used to taking the phrase "survival of the fittest" to mean it's an "every man for himself" world. But some animals (like worker bees) sacrifice themselves to ensure their species lives on. Why would they do this?

By Dave Roos

Evolution is a never-ending process, but some scientists believe it might be speeding up as human activity impacts the environment.

By Bambi Turner

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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?

By Clint Pumphrey

Humans can certainly claim some of these, but sloths, giraffes and pandas wanted a piece of the action, too. The hyena adaptation, however, may just blow your mind.

By Kate Kershner

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?

By Kate Kershner

Comic books and pulps rot our brains, television is a vast wasteland and the Internet scatters our senses. Has the heyday of human intelligence passed?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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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?

By Josh Clark

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.

By Josh Clark