evolution, history
Photo of a North American caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Jasper National Park in Canada
Dozens of Genes Tied to Caribou’s Seasonal Migration
Maddie Bender | May 2, 2022
Researchers tracked the movements of endangered caribou and sequenced a portion of their genomes to determine which genes may influence migratory behavior.
Image of sperm hooks (<em>Peromyscus maniculatus</em>)
The Mystery of the Mouse Sperm Hook
Natalia Mesa | May 2, 2022
Nearly all mouse sperm have hooks on their heads. But new research suggests the structures slow them down—so what exactly is their purpose?
Illustration of a meteorite shower heading for Earth
All RNA and DNA Base Types Are Found in Meteorites, Study Claims
Catherine Offord | Apr 27, 2022
The discovery could add weight to the hypothesis that the building blocks of life on Earth originally came from space, but some scientists note the possibility of contamination.
A headshot of Matthew Gage
Evolutionary Ecologist Matthew Gage Dies at 55
Amanda Heidt | Apr 20, 2022
The University of East Anglia researcher was best known for his contributions to the study of sexual selection, particularly post-copulatory sperm competition.
bat flying in front of tan building
Fruit Bats Echolocate During the Day Despite Having Great Vision
Natalia Mesa | Apr 20, 2022
Contrary to what researchers had assumed, Egyptian fruit bats don’t rely solely on sight to orient themselves as they drink and forage for food in daylight. 
Gasteranthus extinctus, a plant with bright orange flowers and deep green leaves
Science Snapshot: Not “Extinctus” After All
Lisa Winter | Apr 19, 2022
Assumed to have gone extinct more than 30 years ago, Gasteranthus extinctus has been rediscovered by scientists working in Ecuador.
Between Ape and Human book cover
Book Excerpt from Between Ape and Human
Gregory Forth | Apr 18, 2022
In Chapter 7, “More Remarkable Encounters,” author Gregory Forth relays a story told to him by Tegu, a Lio man who says he found and disposed of a dead organism that might fit the description of an "ape-man."
Photo of Ana Marija Jakšic
Ana Marija Jakšić Shapes Fruit Fly Brains
Chloe Tenn | Apr 18, 2022
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne evolutionary neurobiologist is using Drosophila to investigate how organisms adapt to novel environments.
Between Ape and Human book cover
Opinion: Another Species of Hominin May Still Be Alive
Gregory Forth | Apr 18, 2022
Do members of Homo floresiensis still inhabit the Indonesian island where their fossils helped identify a new human species fewer than 20 years ago?
Close up view of fruit fly
Science Snapshot: Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid
Lisa Winter | Apr 13, 2022
Experimentally nudging the patterning within the compound eyes of insects.
An illustration showing a scale weighing two double-stranded pieces of DNA that has a big question mark in the center.
Mouse Foraging Behavior Shaped by Opposite-Sex Parent’s Genes
Dan Robitzski | Apr 12, 2022
A study in mice finds that for certain genes, one parent’s allele can dominate expression and shape behavior—and which parent’s allele does so varies throughout the body.
a research sailboat with white sails inscribed with "tara ocean" traverses a body of water with small, rocky islands in the background
Q&A: Thousands of RNA Viruses Newly Discovered in Ocean Water
Dan Robitzski | Apr 7, 2022
The Scientist spoke with Ohio State University microbiologist Matthew Sullivan about a recent expedition that identified thousands of RNA viruses from water samples and cataloged them into novel phylogenic groups.
Slime mold colony with volcano-like fruiting bodies
Cancer-like Slime Mold Growth Hints at Multicellularity’s Origins
Natalia Mesa | Apr 4, 2022
The poorly understood Fonticula alba, a relative of fungi and animals, hunts bacteria with a mechanism that resembles cancer and fungal growth.
Close up photo of a wing
Unearthing the Evolutionary Origins of Insect Wings
Jef Akst | Apr 4, 2022
A handful of new studies moves the needle toward a consensus on the long-disputed question of whether insect wings evolved from legs or from the body wall, but the devil is in the details.
Steam rises from a blue-gray hot spring, visible beyond a patch of reddish, rocky soil.
Soil Microbes Sacrifice Ribosomes in Response to Warming
Sophie Fessl | Mar 29, 2022
When soil heats up, microbes scale back protein synthesis machinery by making use of higher reaction rates that occur at higher temperatures, a study finds.
colorful parrot-like bird riding a tiny bicycle on a tightrope
Reptiles are the Real Bird Brains
Sophie Fessl | Mar 22, 2022
A research group argues that a species’ number of neurons, rather than brain volume, should serve as indicator of cognitive capacity when studying brain evolution, but some experts voice doubts.
Drosophila melanogaster on cactus leaf
Fruit Flies Evolve in Time with the Seasons: Study
Natalia Mesa | Mar 17, 2022
Researchers find that evolution can operate on extraordinarily fast timescales.
A bright, illuminated, yellow cluster of spheres, representing a mutated base pair, stands out from a double helix of deep red base pairs joined by blue hydrogen bonds
Study: Sickle Cell Mutation Driven by Pressure, Not Random Chance
Dan Robitzski | Mar 17, 2022
New research finds that the appearance of the HbS mutation, which protects against malaria but leads to sickle cell disease when present in two copies, was more common in sperm samples from men in Ghana, where malaria risk is high, than Europeans.
Drawing of white squid-like animal in blue water
Ten-Limbed Octopus Ancestor Described, Named After Biden
Natalia Mesa | Mar 10, 2022
Octopuses were around 82 million years earlier than scientists previously thought—and had two extra limbs at the time.
a microscope image of a rotifer
Bacterial Enzyme Keeps Rotifers’ Transposable Elements in Check
Christie Wilcox | Mar 3, 2022
Jumping genes in bdelloid rotifers are tamped down by DNA methylation performed by an enzyme pilfered from bacteria roughly 60 million years ago, a study finds.