a colorful ctenophore/comb jelly swimming
Genome Spotlight: California Sea Gooseberry (Hormiphora californensis)
Christie Wilcox | Nov 24, 2021
The first chromosome-level genome assembly for a ctenophore may allow scientists to finally resolve the roots of the animal family tree.
A ship off the coast of Antarctica approaches a beach
Q&A: How to Keep Antarctica Safe from Invasive Species
Dan Robitzski | Nov 23, 2021
The Scientist spoke with University of Wollongong ecologist Dana Bergstrom about protecting the continent’s native plants and animals in the face of climate change and a growing human presence.
snake eating another snake
Male Snakes Cannibalizing Females Present Evolutionary Puzzle
Chloe Tenn | Nov 15, 2021
The Scientist speaks with organismal biologist Xavier Glaudas about possible reasons for his recent finding that male Montpellier snakes cannibalize female conspecifics.
Artist’s rendering of the protein synthesis process, in which a tRNA molecules carry amino acids to a ribosome that’s decoding a strand of mRNA.
Screen of 250,000 Species Reveals Tweaks to Genetic Code
Dan Robitzski | Nov 9, 2021
A massive screen of bacterial and archaeal genomes revealed five previously unknown instances where an organism uses an alternate code to translate genetic blueprints into proteins.
Fossils of African Fauna
African, Arabian Mammals Didn’t Escape Grande Coupure Extinction
Chloe Tenn | Nov 8, 2021
More than two-thirds of mammals in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula went extinct during the Eocene-Oligocene transition some 30 million years ago, a study finds.
a spiny mouse sits on a piece of wood holding a small morsel to its mouth
Spiny Mice Appear to Regenerate Damaged Kidneys
Dan Robitzski | Nov 3, 2021
The mice, already known to regenerate skin, seem to avoid the tissue scarring that leads to organ failure in other animals.
3D rendered illustration of a brain with signal waves in background to show the concept of consciousness
Book Excerpt from Feeling & Knowing
Antonio Damasio | Nov 1, 2021
In Chapter 1, “On Being,” author Antonio Damasio outlines the dawn of consciousness.
Photograph looking up a tree trunk
Contrary to Common Belief, Some Older Trees Make Fewer Seeds
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021
An analysis of more than half a million trees reveals that many species begin to taper off seed production once they hit a certain size.
Rendering of an iceberg
Opinion: Being, Feeling, and Knowing: Our Path to Consciousness
Antonio Damasio | Nov 1, 2021
The idea that minds and consciousness might be generated by the nervous system alone is false.
Caudipteryx Dinosaur Flock stock photo
Paleontologists Find Possible Dinosaur DNA
Chloe Tenn | Oct 26, 2021
A report of preserved fragments of nuclei and chromatin in a fossilized femur of a 125-million-year-old Caudipteryx dinosaur elicits skepticism.
Chelonibia testudinaria barnacle on turtle shell
Some Barnacles Can Move Around to Improve Feeding Position
Chloe Tenn | Oct 6, 2021
The Scientist spoke with marine biologist and barnacle researcher John Zardus about why turtle barnacles—previously thought to be immobile—in fact slowly travel. He thinks the answer is food.
group of paleolithic people around a campfire
Gene Variant Points to Starvation’s Evolutionary Legacy
Sophie Fessl | Sep 28, 2021
Ancient and modern genomes reveal that a variant of the human growth hormone receptor likely helped our ancestors survive when food was scarce.
hagfish slime on hands
Hagfish Slime Cells Tailored to Deter Predation
Chloe Tenn | Sep 28, 2021
The Scientist spoke with Chapman University’s Yu Zeng about his lab’s finding that the slime-producing cells of the slippery marine fish vary with the creature’s size, which may be an adaptation to thwart different predators.
a trench with footprints tagged
Ancient Human Footprints in New Mexico Dated to Ice Age
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Sep 23, 2021
Researchers excavated human footprints out of a small bluff next to a dried-up playa lake and radiocarbon-dated embedded seeds to around 23,000 years ago. Their results suggest that people entered the Americas thousands of years earlier than the accepted estimate.
silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
cartoon depiction of a pair of scissors about to cut a DNA double helix
Researchers Uncover New Families of Gene-Editing Enzymes
Annie Melchor | Sep 15, 2021
The results reveal evolutionary relatives of the Cas9 enzyme now used extensively in biotechnology.
Six primates eat leaves
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates’ Diets
Abby Olena | Sep 6, 2021
A study suggests that mutations in the gene that encodes the T1R1/T1R3 taste receptor allowed primates that relied on insects for protein to transition to eating leaves and fruit.
a male musk duck
Talking Duck Stuns Animal Behavior Researcher
Christie Wilcox | Sep 5, 2021
Leiden University’s Carel ten Cate tracked down 34-year-old duck recordings—and the man who made them—to verify that musk ducks are capable of vocal learning, an ability that hadn’t been thought to exist in waterfowl.
Watercolor coronaviruses in green, red, blue, and purple are layered above an abstract background of watercolor swashes
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Abby Olena | Sep 2, 2021
Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.
Megalodon from prehistoric times scene 3D illustration
Classroom Science Leads to Revision of Megalodon’s Size
Connor Lynch | Sep 1, 2021
A handful of high schoolers prompt scientists to develop a new approach for calculating the size of the ancient behemoth.