Image of ancestor with hair all over body
Why Don’t Humans Have Fur?
Mariella Bodemeier Loayza Careaga, PhD | Aug 1, 2023 | 2 min read
Humans are often referred to as “hairless apes.” But how did this trait evolve given that fur provides significant advantages to many mammals?
A monogenean flatworm
Ecologists Use Museum Specimens to Dig into the Parasitic Past
Ian Rose | Mar 1, 2023 | 4 min read
New techniques to quantify what lived in and on preserved animals throw light on how parasite abundance has changed over time.
The Scientist Speaks Podcast – Episode 6
The Scientist’s Creative Services Team | 1 min read
A Game of Cancer and Evolution
Infographic showing the process of tail regeneration in tadpoles
Infographic: How Tadpoles Use Glucose to Fuel Tail Regrowth
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 1 min read
Unlike other fast-growing cells, regenerating tadpole cells fuel growth using the pentose phosphate pathway rather than glycolysis, a study indicates.
a trio of infant mice, two brown mice on the ends and one white mouse in the middle
Mice Pass Epigenetic Tweaks to Pups
Katherine Irving | Feb 17, 2023 | 5 min read
An engineered methylation pattern persisted for four generations of mice, demonstrating transgenerational epigenetic inheritance can occur in mammals.
A green and white fish swimming underwater
Rockfish Genes Hold Clues to Human Longevity
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jan 12, 2023 | 3 min read
By analyzing the genomes of 23 remarkably long-lived fish species, a study found two metabolic pathways associated with longevity.
Artist’s rendering of a reflective metallic DNA double helix.
Humans Are Still Evolving Thanks to Microgenes
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jan 4, 2023 | 3 min read
A study sheds light on the tiny genes that have evolved in human genomes since we split from our mammalian ancestors.
A Cape ground squirrel sits upright on its hind legs, holding its forelimbs up to its face.
Animals Are Shape-Shifting in Response to a Warming World
Andy Carstens | Jan 3, 2023 | 10 min read
Forced to respond to a climate that’s changing faster than it ever has, it remains unclear whether species’ adaptations can keep pace.
A fossilized mammoth tusk sitting in a grassy field during sunset 
Woolly Mammoth Genomes Reveal Genetic Adaptations to Cold
Hannah Thomasy, PhD | Dec 12, 2022 | 2 min read
Researchers identified mutations in genes that may be involved in fat regulation, fur growth, and morphology.
<em >Lymantria&nbsp;</em>species make ultrasonic, mechanical rasping noises when they hear bats nearby.&nbsp;
Many Moths Speak Up to Ward Off Bats
Connor Lynch | Dec 1, 2022 | 5 min read
A decade-long, multicontinent study suggests that acoustic defense strategies are more common among moths than previously imagined.
Brown-red ants climb over a pile of white translucent larvae and orange pupae. Some use their mandibles to position the larvae.
Ant Pupae Feed Adults, Larvae with Secreted Liquid 
Viviane Callier | Nov 30, 2022 | 4 min read
The molting fluid of ant pupae functions as “metabolic currency” in the ant colony and may have enabled the evolution of eusociality. 
A lobed leaf next to a rounded leaf, both from the same Boquila trifoliolata vine
Can Plants See? In the Wake of a Controversial Study, the Answer’s Still Unclear
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Nov 30, 2022 | 10+ min read
A tiny pilot study found that so-called chameleon vines mimicked plastic leaves, but experts say poor study design and conflicts of interest undermine the report.
A brown and gray Daubenton&rsquo;s bat in midair, flying in the general direction of the camera with wings outstretched and mouth open.
Duplicated Gene Helps Bats Survive “Arms Race” With Viruses
Dan Robitzski | Nov 23, 2022 | 5 min read
Bats are known for staying healthy even while harboring viral infections. Now, research sheds light on how their unusual immune system evolved.
Orange and blue spring with steam rising&nbsp;
Archaea Sport Structures that Shuttle Genes Among Microbes
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Nov 16, 2022 | 3 min read
Researchers find so-called integrons, previously known only in bacteria, in their distantly related microbial relatives. 
a yellow-ish fish skull is held up by metal prongs, with a rack of other museum collection items in the background
Fossilized Fish Teeth Could Be Earliest Evidence of Cooking
Katherine Irving | Nov 14, 2022 | 2 min read
Study authors say the teeth, dated around 780,000 years old, push back the date humans are known to have engaged in cooking by more than 600,000 years. 
Three grasshoppers
How a Grasshopper Gave Up Sex, Took Up Cloning
Dan Robitzski | Nov 1, 2022 | 5 min read
Meet the grasshopper that has reproduced asexually for a quarter of a million years—without acquiring undue numbers of harmful mutations.
Illustration from the epigenetics and the genome infographic
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 2 min read
Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.
Cellular DNA and epigenetics
Do Epigenetic Changes Influence Evolution?
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 10+ min read
Evidence is mounting that epigenetic marks on DNA can influence future generations in a variety of ways. But how such phenomena might affect large-scale evolutionary processes is hotly debated.
Three turtles resting closely together on a log, one end of which is submerged in brackish water
Turtle Vocalizations Reframe Origins of Auditory Communication
Amanda Heidt | Oct 26, 2022 | 4 min read
Sounds made by more than 50 vertebrates previously thought to be mute push back the origin of this type of communication by at least 100 million years, a study finds.
illustration of neurons in blue and microglia in orange
Ancient Viral DNA Helps Mouse Brains Fight Infection
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Oct 24, 2022 | 3 min read
Mammals that give birth to live young may have evolved to make use of the remnants of viruses in their genomes to ward off pathogens, a study suggests.