No One Really Knows When Wild Rabbits Became Fluffy Domesticated Bunnies

Rabbits are a treasured source of companionship, entertainment, and (sometimes) food. But a new analysis published Wednesday in Cell Press Reviews suggests that whether you turn to folk tales or DNA, there’s no easy way to tell when rabbits actually became part of our domesticated stable. Read More >>

New Species of African Titanosaur Solves Cretaceous-Era Mystery

Say hello to Mansourasaurus shahinae, a 14,000-pound titanosaur that rumbled across the African landscape during the final days of the dinosaurs. Its discovery is answering a long-standing mystery about dinosaur evolution at a time when Earth’s continents began drifting further and further apart. Read More >>

Holy Crap These Leech Cocoons Are Incredible

Leech cocoons, the sacks in which leeches lay their eggs, have an incredible solid-foam surface, as the image below shows: Read More >>

India’s Education Minister Slammed After Claiming That Evolution Is ‘Scientifically Wrong’

India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development—a position that oversees university education—wants the theory of evolution to be removed from school curricula. Needless to say, this stance isn’t going over very well with the country’s scientists, many of whom are asking the junior minister to retract his comments. Read More >>

How Evolution Turned Lions and Cheetahs Into Such Formidable Killing Machines

When we see a large cat capturing its prey on the African savannah, we’re literally watching millions of years of evolution in action. But these attacks don’t always end in a meal, as “survival of the fittest” sometimes means the target gets to make a daring escape. New research uncovers the athleticism involved in these predator-prey encounters, and the best strategies for capturing prey—or avoiding being eaten. Read More >>

Here’s Why Most Animals Don’t Use Their Tails as Weapons

Humans tend to rely on crafted tools in order to harm one another, but most other species have evolved weapons right on their bodies. Normally, these bashers, spikes, and other instruments of attack appear on heads or limbs. But only rarely do they end up on tails—and scientists want to know why. Read More >>

Life Could Have Evolved From These Ancient Chemical Reactions

Fundamentally, your body is just a crazy chemistry experiment. You put in food and oxygen, chemical reactions happen, and out comes energy and poop. But how did these reactions first begin? Some scientists think they have an idea. Read More >>

These Birds Evolved Feathers So Dark, They’re Like A ‘Black Hole’

If you’ve seen BBC’s Planet Earth, you may recall of one of its sillier scenes: the bird-of-paradise mating dance. A female hops up to a male, who unveils a mane of feathers and puts on a performance like a drunk rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a karaoke bar. But when the male bird faces the camera, things go black—way black. Skip to 2:34 in the video below. This bird’s feathers are so black that you can’t see any of its facial features, just radiant blues on a sea of natural Vantablack. Read More >>

Here’s How These Deafening Shrimp Evolved Their Own Deadly Sonic Weapon

There are some shrimp species equipped with truly remarkable weaponry. The pistol shrimp’s massive claw closes with a powerful snap—louder than a gunshot, at 210 decibels—temporarily creating an air bubble with so much energy that it pops with an underwater shock wave and a flash of light and heat temporarily hotter than 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrimp use this impressive weapon to stun and kill prey. Read More >>

200-Pound Penguins Once Prowled the Seas of Ancient New Zealand

Penguins are objectively adorable animals. The flappy little buddies waddle around on stubby feet, and some even like to be tickled. Their chicks are basically cute fluffballs made of fat and charisma that dance in children’s movies. However, a new fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed an ancestral penguin species that was considerably more intimidating than today’s agreeable Antarctic chaps. This long-extinct penguin was immense—standing nearly six feet tall and weighing more than two hundred pounds—one of the largest semi-aquatic birds to ever shuffle across the Earth. Read More >>

Mammals Literally Came Out of the Dark Once the Dinos Were Gone

The first mammals emerged during the reign of the dinosaurs, adopting a nocturnal lifestyle to stay safe. It was only until the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the planet that certain mammals began to assert themselves during the daylight hours, according to new research. Read More >>

This Huge, Four-Horned Mammal Is Rewriting Giraffe Prehistory

Giraffes are hard to miss. Scraping the sky at roughly 18 feet up, they are the tallest animals on Earth. Humans have taken notice, becoming infatuated with giraffes from the first moments of the animals’ lives, and revering their iconic, alien gangliness across the globe. But despite all this attention, our species doesn’t have a particularly good grasp of the evolutionary history of giraffes and their relatives. But now, thanks to a newly-discovered fossil of a new species of extinct, ancestral giraffe, the giraffe family tree just grew a few more limbs and came into tighter focus. Read More >>

Backyard Bird Feeders May Be Altering the Course of Evolution

Evolution works very slowly—except when it doesn’t. New research shows that certain British birds appear to be changing quickly as result of bird feeders, evolving longer beaks to help them access the food inside. Read More >>

This Ancient Reptile Evolved a Weird, Bird-Like Head 100 Million Years Before Birds Did

Imagine an animal with the body of a chameleon, the feet and claws of an anteater, the humped back of a camel, and a tail that is both flattened like a beaver’s, but also like that of a scorpion. If you’re thinking this sounds like someone just threw your local zoo into a blender—or that it’s not far off from mythical creatures like the chimera or manticore—this would be understandable. But this bonkers description fits a real, long-extinct group of tree-dwelling reptiles that lived more than 200 million years ago. Now, a new species of these freaky little critters has been identified, and its fossilised remains pile onto the anatomical strangeness, showing that this ancient reptile evolved a toothless, remarkably bird-like head in a world 100 million years before birds with heads like this even existed. Read More >>

Humans Have Even More Neanderthal DNA Than We Realised

A international team of researchers has completed one of the most detailed analyses of a Neanderthal genome to date. Among the many new findings, the researchers learned that Neanderthals first mated with modern humans a surprisingly long time ago, and that humans living today have more Neanderthal DNA than we assumed. Read More >>