Articles on Evolution

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Hair in the air: how bats stay aloft

Bats are the only mammals capable of powered flight, and they perform impressive aerial maneuvers like tight turns, hovering…
Rock stars are successful in the bedroom, but all too often their wild lifestyle catches up with them. Flickr/Chalocuaz

Get laid or die trying: how rock stars get their kicks in

Kurt Cobain was the messiah of my generation, the monumental talent who saved rock from the mediocrity of 1980s cock rock and hair metal. But behind his public eminence stalked a personal hell of addiction…
Evolutionary biology can teach us a lot about rock ‘n’ roll music. mariaguimaraes

Peer Review: Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll

Welcome to Peer Review, a new series in which we ask leading academics to review books written by people in the same field. Here Mark Elgar, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Melbourne…
The fish-eating dinosaur discovered in Victoria is a member of Spinosauridae, a group of fish-eating theropod dinosaurs found in Asia and Europe. Flickr

Australia’s first fish-eating spinosaurus discovered

Paleontologists think it had the snout of a crocodile, the claws of a bear and a taste for seafood. But what’s most interesting about the discovery of Australia’s first fish-eating dinosaur is its similarities…

Tracing diseases through time

Six Influenza A viruses that have a close genetic relationship to H1N1 (swine flu) have been identified using new mathematical…
When is a roll in the hay worth losing your head over? Suizilla

Sexual cannibalism: a treat you can eat

Sex is often viewed as a totally harmonious interaction between a male and female with the same innate goal – to produce offspring. But it is becoming increasingly clear to biologists that the reproductive…
Were cave women more likely to leave home than men? Flickr, Klearchos Kapoutsis

Scientists wonder: did cave women wander?

Primitive women were more likely than their male counterparts to pack up and leave the cave, eventually partnering with men…
As standards of living have improved, marriage rates have dropped. limpinglemur

Hell’s bells: why marriage gets hard when things get easy

It’s the sort of news conservative politicians and commentators latch on to as a sure-fire sign that the end of civilisation is nigh: marriage rates are in continuing decline. But is this really such a…

Horny crickets die young

Crickets that exert large amounts of energy throughout their lives have been found to die earlier than their less-energetic…
Does homosexuality have something to offer everyone? marlin harm/Flickr

Best of mates: why ‘gay genes’ are a good fit for Darwin

Sexual orientation has long been cause for discussion and controversy, but just where does our sexual orientation come from? Are people “born gay” or are environmental causes at play? Historically, many…
Women’s orgasms might be as useful as male nipples. ex animø/Flickr

Female orgasm: why O why?

Why do women have orgasms? That may seem like a strange question, but it’s one which has perplexed scientists for decades and provoked fiery academic debates along the way. The real question is: what is…
Extinction rates have been overestimated but many species still on track to share the dodo’s fate. flickr

Debate rages over extinction rates paper

A paper casting doubt on a widely used method of calculating extinction rates has fuelled furious debate in scientific circles…
Poor sperm quality is a characteristic common to all men, not just some. Aldo Risolvo/Flickr

Old faithful: is monogamy the root cause of male infertility?

Infertility plagues one in six Australian couples, and in approximately half of these cases the problem lies in poor semen quality. The discovery that a man has poor semen quality can be emotionally challenging…
A guy walks into a cafe … but what happens next depends on strategy. nathancolquhoun/Flickr

All about the girl: the mating game and how (not) to win it

Long before men asked themselves “What’s the meaning of life?”, they were scratching their heads and wondering “How do I get the girl?” And it’s not just humans who have been consumed with this question…
E.coli and other critters provide glimpses of evolution in action. kaibara87/Flickr

Experimental evolution: life in the fast lane

When you think of evolution, you no doubt imagine a process that takes millions of years to produce any notable results. In other words, evolution doesn’t happen overnight. Or does it? While the most significant…
Do cane toads add something new to ‘natural selection’? manda/Flickr

Cane and able – how superfit toads got the hop on evolution

Some 150 years ago, Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism for evolutionary change; but is there something beyond natural selection driving evolution? My colleagues and I think so, and we believe it has come…

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