Prehistoric Beast Evolved a Freaky-Ass Skull From Millions of Years of Head-Butting

If you have to smash your head all the time, you’d hope that your body had some mechanism to prevent your brain from rattling out. Knock that noggin around enough, and eventually (on evolutionary scales, that is), you might end up looking, well, very silly. Read More >>

Did Scientists Just Discover the Last Common Ancestor of All Apes?

Fossils of ancient apes are even rarer than those of ancient humans, so very little is known about these important evolutionary missing links. The unexpected discovery of a 13-million-year-old infant ape skull in Kenya is offering a tantalising glimpse of a new species that lived well before humans and apes embarked upon their very different evolutionary paths. Read More >>

Tiny Spider Appears to Have Sailed Across an Entire Ocean

Spiders in the family Migidae don’t get out much. Known as “tree trapdoor spiders,” they are unapologetic homebodies, spending nearly their entire lives chilling in a single burrow. Unlike their close, but much more famous relatives the tarantulas, tree trapdoor spiders are teeny, with most species small enough to fit on a fingernail. Just a few meters away from where they originally hatched, they build silk-lined tubes within the bark of trees and hide inside, waiting for prey to come close enough for an ambush attack. Read More >>

Tardigrades Are Still a Complete Evolutionary Mystery

You’re probably aware that nature’s most badass animal is undoubtedly the tiny tardigrade, or waterbear. They might be small, but unlike your weak butt, they can live a life without water, withstand temperatures from -328 to 304 degrees Fahrenheit, and even survive the depths of space. How did evolution make such a strange creature, and who are its relatives? Read More >>

You Can Probably Tell if Other Animals Are Emotionally Aroused

It is likely that you, a human, can tell when your fellow humans are upset based on the sound of their voice. You might even be able to tell when your non-human pet is upset. But what about non-mammals, like frogs? What about birds? Read More >>

Birds Wasted No Time Taking Over the World Once the Dinosaurs Croaked

The fossilised remains of a tiny bird that lived 62 million years ago suggests that birds burst out of the evolutionary gates once their dinosaur cousins were gone, rapidly diversifying into most of the lineages we see today. Read More >>

The Amazing Reason Deep Sea Corals Glow In the Dark

Lots of creatures glow in the ocean’s depths, where sunlight is slim to nil. But while most of these abyssal lightbulbs use their neon powers to hunt or avoid being hunted, deepwater corals may have beat everything else down there in terms of evolutionary creativity. New research indicates these corals glow in order to eat the meagre sunlight, turning their tissues into grow chambers that nourish tiny plants in a beam of artificial luminosity. Read More >>

Plants Turn Caterpillars into Cannibals to Save Themselves

In the caterpillar-versus-plant fight, the winner might seem obvious. One side sits motionless in the sun, while the other feasts on it. But the tomato plant has a nefarious defence strategy. In some encounters with herbivores, it winds up relatively unscathed, while the caterpillars wind up eating each other. Read More >>

The Anteater’s Tongue is an Evolutionary Masterpiece

Anteaters are very good animals. They somehow pull off the whole “slurp up ants with their sticky, noodly, bendy straw tongues” so confidently you forget how weird that is. And scientists agree that, yes, anteater tongues are weird. But they’re also understudied. Read More >>

Scientists Use Ancient DNA to Identify Bizarre Species That Baffled Darwin

What has a body like a humpless camel, legs like a skinny rhino, and a face like the short-trunked saiga antelope? Until only recently, the accepted answer was Charles Darwin’s, and I paraphrase: “I have no idea what the hell this is.” Read More >>

Evolution Will No Longer Be Taught in Turkish Schools

Claiming that evolution is “debatable, controversial, and too complicated for students,” Turkey’s board of education has decided to stop teaching Darwinian natural selection in its schools. The move has infuriated the country’s secular opposition, but it could embolden other countries to do the same. Read More >>

Evidence of Pangea’s Breakup Found in Our Evolutionary History

Continents’ constant shifting is one of the first things you learn when you study the geologic history of Earth. South America fits into Africa like a puzzle piece, after all. Back 200 million years ago, everything was combined in a supercontinent called Pangea. Read More >>

giz asks
Can Superhuman Mutants Be Living Among Us?

After millions of years of evolution, our species has, like an aging rock band, settled into a comfortable, familiar groove: Your classic bipedal, theory-of-mind-having Homo sapien. Then, there is another class of human. This class of human has spectacular powers, such as mind control or the ability to manipulate electromagnetic waves, and exists mostly in big-budget global superhero franchises, like X-Men (or in mid-budget Ben Stiller-starring cult classics from 1999, like Mystery Men). Read More >>

Space-Mutated Bacteria Could Be Bad News For Humans

A new experiment shows that long-term exposure to microgravity affects bacteria at the genetic level—conferring reproductive advantages that persist even after the bacteria is reintroduced to unaffected colonies and normal levels of gravity here on Earth. Read More >>