evolution, history
Black and white photo of excavation<br><br>
Black Death Likely Originated in Central Asia
Andy Carstens | Jun 15, 2022
Genetic testing of people who died in Kyrgyzstan eight years before plague reached Europe reveals an ancient strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis.
A rooster crowing in a tree
Domesticated Chickens Were Initially Friends, Not Food
Amanda Heidt | Jun 7, 2022
Analyses of bones found across the world suggest that the birds entered human settlements more recently than previously thought. But they don’t seem to have immediately made their way to the table, raising questions as to why people started keeping them.
early giraffe relative at the bottom and modern giraffes at top
“Necks for Sex” May Explain Giraffes’ Distinctive Anatomy 
Andy Carstens | Jun 3, 2022
An analysis of skull and vertebrae fossils suggests that an early relative of giraffes butted heads to compete for mates, which may reveal why modern giraffes are so throaty.
GFP highlighting mouse neurons
Science Snapshot: How Brains Handle Surprise Parties
Lisa Winter | Jun 3, 2022
When unexpected events occur, norepinephrine signals mouse brains to pay attention to key details.
A pair of zebra finches in a cage
Animal Divorce: When and Why Pairs Break Up
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2022
Many species of birds and other vertebrates form pair bonds and mate with just one other individual for much of their lives. But the unions don’t always work out. Scientists want to know the underlying factors.
An artist's rendering of the ancient arthropod Erratus sperare
Anatomical Firsts in Early Arthropods
Clare Watson | Jun 1, 2022
A team of scientists have discovered an ancient arthropod that may show the origins of branched limbs and the first gill-like breathing structures in the clade.
Infographic showing genetic and social monogamy in birds
Infographic: A New Look at Monogamy Across the Animal Kingdom
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2022
Advances in genetics in recent years has revealed that many apparently exclusive pairs in fact sometimes mate with individuals other than their partner, but social monogamy is widespread.
Illustration of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a rock on a mountain
Most Dinosaurs Were Warm-Blooded After All
Catherine Offord | May 26, 2022
Endothermy was widespread among both avian and non-avian dinosaurs, a study suggests, so the metabolic strategy is unlikely to account for birds’ survival through the mass extinction event that wiped out their dinosaur cousins.
Salamander on log
Science Snapshot: Free Fallin’ Salamanders
Lisa Winter | May 26, 2022
Arboreal salamanders use skydiving techniques to avoid smashing to the ground after a fall.
portrait of Marilyn Fogel in front of bookcase
Marilyn Fogel, Biogeochemist and “Isotope Queen,” Dies at 69
Andy Carstens | May 25, 2022
Fogel mined information from isotopes to explore modern and ancient ecosystems, climatic changes, and evolution.
The fossil tooth found in the Annamite Mountains in Laos
Ancient Tooth Could Be Clue in Denisovan Migration Mystery
Andy Carstens | May 18, 2022
The new fossil from Laos helps answer the question of how some people from Oceania carry DNA from the ancient hominin.
A fossil imprint of the stridulatory apparatus from an extinct cricket species
Listen to Extinct Crickets Chirp
David George Haskell | May 16, 2022
The land’s first known singer may have sounded like a raspier version of today’s familiar insect fiddlers.
A fossil imprint of the stridulatory apparatus from an extinct cricket species
Book Excerpt from Sounds Wild and Broken
David George Haskell | May 16, 2022
In a chapter entitled “Predators, Silence, Wings,” author David George Haskell explores the soundscapes of bygone eras of animal communication.
Illustration of pink strands of RNA on a blue background
Synthetic RNA Can Build Peptides, Hinting at Life’s Beginnings
Jef Akst | May 12, 2022
Researchers engineered strands of RNA that can link amino acids together, suggesting a way that RNA and proteins may have emerged together to create the earliest forms of life.
Metal shelves densely packed with preserved tissue specimens of various sizes, all suspended in glass containers.
Evolution of 1918 Flu Virus Traced from Century-Old Samples
Dan Robitzski | May 10, 2022
The work reveals that the pandemic flu was likely the direct predecessor of the seasonal H1N1 flu that circulated for decades.
Bat perching upside down in a cave.
Some Bats Buzz Like Hornets to Deter Predators
Natalia Mesa | May 9, 2022
The behavior is the first example of a mammal mimicking a more-dangerous species.
Photo of fish in the Haemulidae family
Fish Are Chattier Than Previously Thought
Connor Lynch | May 2, 2022
Once thought to be silent, fish turn out to produce a range of vocalizations—so polluting the oceans with noise could pose a danger to them.
Composite image of earliest humans and wooly mammoths
New Evidence Complicates the Story of the Peopling of the Americas
Emma Yasinski | May 2, 2022
New techniques have shown that people reached the New World far earlier than the long-standing estimate of 13,000 years ago, but scientists still debate exactly when humans arrived on the continent—and how.
Illustrated map showing where evidence was found of the earliest humans
Infographic: Mixed Evidence on Human Occupation of the Americas
Emma Yasinski | May 2, 2022
Diverse lines of evidence point to humans’ presence in the New World long before the dawn of Clovis culture. But rewriting this chapter of human history raises many questions about how these early people came to inhabit these continents.
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.