Articles on Evolution

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Ants might be a pain … but they play a vital role in maintaining the variety of plant life we see around us. mraandrews

In defence of the humble ant, champion of biodiversity

You’d be hard pressed to find many people who hold ants in high regard. That might be due to their destructive behaviour towards lawns, their ability to infest your house in no time at all, or a willingness…
Opsin genes, one of the building blocks of vision, first emerged roughly 700 million years ago. ~Dezz~

Eye to the past: vision may be older than previously thought

The eye is perhaps one of the best examples of Darwinian evolution. Incremental steps driven by natural selection have led to the evolution of this complex organ from its origin as a simple light-sensitive…

Why monkeys are fascinated with violence

Monkeys who observe fights tend to exploit the losers for grooming favours. This may provide an evolutionary context for…

Insects drive rapid plant evolution

Evolutionary change is occurring rapidly around us, every day, as insects impose natural selection pressures on plants. Using…
It’s easy for uninhibited humans to elicit vocal responses from gibbons by imitating their song. Jerome Ludmann

Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students

Gibbons and humans have more in common than might immediately seem apparent. Among many behavioural traits shared by our two species is singing. Not just that – the songs of gibbons have the potential…
It might be cute, but when it grows up it might also like to eat you. Steve Hillebrand/Wikimedia Commons

Think humans are special? Like the animals we eat, we’re meat too

In recent advertisements for Meat and Livestock Australia, actor Sam Neill told us, in David Attenborough-inflected tones, that: “when our early ancestors started to eat red meat, our brains began to grow…
Things we’d normally turn our noses up at can become more manageable when we’re aroused. marsmet462/Flickr

Dirty but not down: how sexual arousal can dampen disgust

Does it seem strange that we will enthusiastically kiss an attractive person’s mouth, with tongues intertwining and saliva going everywhere, but that we might wrinkle our nose up at the idea of using that…

When avoiding evolution works

The tiny colonial sea creatures, Rhabdopleurids, have stayed relatively unchanged for over 500m years and outlived some of…
Guess what: we did not evolve in a gradual, step-like progression. DryHundredFear

New fossils confirm diversity was the rule for human evolution

New fossils described in the journal Nature this week seem to close the door on a controversy that has raged for 40 years. They also confirm that the beginnings of the human genus more than 2m years ago…
Chestnut-crowned babblers provide a perfect opportunity to test theories of cooperative breeding. Enchylaena

Babblers show why birds of a feather stick together

Blood is thicker than water when it comes to being a team player – at least if you’re a bird in outback Australia. So shows a new study I was involved in, published this week in the journal Proceedings…
Historically, strong competitors have had greater access to both resources and mates. studio.catastrophe

Videogames: helping human evolution since 1983

Of all violent videogames, first-person shooters are viewed as the biggest problem because of the perspective taken during gaming: the first-person standpoint makes it seem as if the player is performing…
A hedonic response working in concert with our primary tastes encourages consumption. amanda tipton

Recipe for disaster: creating a food supply to suit the appetite

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and, more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today we look…
Nice sounds – but are you responding to the bass or your basal ganglia? TORIMBC

Beast international: does rock music rouse the animal within?

There’s no doubt rock music evokes excitement, but is there more to that excitement than guitar solos and head banging? Writing in the Telegraph recently, science correspondent Nick Collins remarked: “Rock…
Feel free to bust out some tunes, but you won’t fool the children of the evolution. Verano y mil tormentas

DarwinTunes: when you get that feeling it’s, uh, sexual hearing?

What transforms noise from album filler to dancefloor killer? Why do some tracks turn us on while others make us tune out? DarwinTunes, a computer program that employs the principles of natural selection…

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