science
Fur, Feathers, Hair, and Scales May Have the Same Ancient Origin

New research shows that the processes involved in hair, fur, and feather growth are remarkably similar to the way scales grow on fish—a finding that points to a single, ancient origin of these protective coverings. Read More >>

archaeology
Humans Didn’t Evolve From a Single Ancestral Population

In the 1980s, scientists learned that all humans living today are descended from a woman, dubbed “Mitochondrial Eve,” who lived in Africa between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. This discovery, along with other evidence, suggested humans evolved from a single ancestral population—an interpretation that is not standing the test of time. The story of human evolution, as the latest research suggests, is more complicated than that. Read More >>

science
A Toddler Who Lived 3 Million Years Ago Could Walk Upright and Capably Climb Trees

A re-analysis of a three-million-year-old fossil suggests Australopithecus afarensis, an early hominid, had children who were as capable on two feet as they were in the trees—an important discovery that’s shedding new light on this critical stage in hominid evolution. Read More >>

science
Origin Mystery of Ancient Rhino-Like Mammal Solved By 55-Million-Year-Old Fossil

Tens of millions of years ago, after most land-roaming dinosaurs died out in the Cretaceous Period, a hodgepodge of ancient animals started to fill the landscapes the dinos left behind. One such group was the embrithopods: hoofed mammals, now extinct, whose name means “heavy-footed.” Read More >>

science
Whoa, Check out Zebrafish Eyes

Imagine that during our evolutionary history, we could not turn our heads up or down. How might our vision have evolved differently from the two frontal, mobile eyes we have today? Read More >>

science
Extinct Giant Panda Lineage Discovered Thanks to DNA From 22,000-Year-Old Skull

DNA from a 22,000-year-old fossilised panda skull suggests an entirely separate lineage of giant pandas once roamed the area that is now southern China. Read More >>

science
Watch Tiny Crab Spiders Take Flight With 10-Foot Silk Parachutes

If you’re arachnophobic, I hate to tell you this, but spiders can fly. Read More >>

giz asks
Why Do We Have Bums?

When separates us from the animals? Is it the burden of consciousness, the terror of knowing that one day we will die, along with everyone we’ve ever loved? Or is it our big weird arses? Read More >>

science
Does Earth’s Shifting Orbit Influence How Life Evolves?

It’s nice to think we’re part of something bigger. And we are, really—in a cosmic, evolutionary sense. Read More >>

science
The Ancient Ancestors of Blue Whales Hunted the Oceans With Surprisingly Sharp Teeth

Modern filter-feeding baleen whales use comb-like structures in their mouths to scoop up large volumes of itsy-bitsy animals and microorganisms. But as new research reveals, their ancestors were remarkably different, featuring sharp teeth that they used to attack prey. Read More >>

science
What Scientists Saw When They Put a Crocodile in an MRI Scanner and Played Classical Music

Sounds weird—and even a bit dangerous—but the experiment is revealing new insights into the evolution of brains and how mammals and birds acquired the capacity to comprehend complex sounds. Read More >>

plants
Plants Complain to Their Friends When the Neighborhood Gets Too Crowded

Plants don’t like to be touched. For these immobile organisms, it means they’re likely growing too close to a neighbouring plant, and that their access to available sunlight is under threat. New research shows that touch-sensitive plants can communicate a warning message to their related neighbours, advising them to adjust their growth patterns accordingly. Read More >>

spiders
Male Brown Widow Spiders Prefer Cannibalistic Older Females for No Apparent Reason

Scientists in Israel have observed a strange behaviour among brown widow spiders: When given the choice, the males of this species prefer to have sex with older females even though they’re less likely to bear offspring. More problematically, these older females are also more inclined to devour their partners after mating, making the males’ preference all the more baffling. Read More >>

science
Rare Mutation Among Bajau People Lets Them Stay Underwater Longer

The Bajau people of Malaysia and the Philippines are renowned for their free-diving abilities, often working eight-hour shifts in search of fish and other sea critters. Underwater sessions can last upwards of two minutes, with accumulated daily totals of breath-holding often reaching five hours. New research suggests these impressive feats aren’t the result of training, but rather, an example of natural selection at work—which, in this case, has endowed Bajau individuals with abnormally large spleens. Read More >>

science
This Bizarre Fish Hides a Nasty Switchblade on Its Cheek

The scientists who discovered the strange feature are calling it a “lachrymal sabre,” but for the predators who dare to mess with this type of stonefish, the unique switchblade just means trouble. Read More >>