Articles on Species

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Birds don’t fly across wide Amazonian rivers like the Rio Negro. Marcos Amend www.marcosamend.com (for use with this article only)

Bird DNA helps explain Amazonian rivers’ role in evolution

Rivers are natural boundaries for evolving populations. But scientists don't agree whether they create new species or just help maintain them. Research using birds' molecular clocks provides some answers.
Berzelia stokoei, one of the 3% of plants in South Africa that are found nowhere else in the world. Marinda Koekemoer

Why plants need an identity

There is good news for plant conservation in South Africa and internationally.
Attenborougharion rubicundus is one of more than a dozen species named after the legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Simon Grove/Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

It’s funny to name species after celebrities, but there’s a serious side too

Scientists have been naming species after well-known people since the 18th century, often in a bid for publicity. But the issue deserves attention – 400,000 Australian species are yet to be described.
Some people thought Charles Darwin was suggesting that, over a very long period of time, apes turned into people. He was not. Flickr/Ronald Woan

Curious Kids: Can chimpanzees turn into people?

The short answer is no. An individual of one species cannot, during its lifetime, turn into another species. But your question helps us think about life, evolution and what it means to be human.
A simplified Tree of Life summarising the evolutionary relationships among a broad selection of living organisms. Shutterstock/Zern Liew

How to grow an evolutionary tree

Charles Darwin was one of the first to show connections in the variety of life by using a rough evolutionary tree. Things have developed quite a bit since then.
A wax figure of Charles Darwin, whose theories about species have influenced science for centuries. Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters

The long struggle to understand species: from pre-Darwin to the present day

Humans have an innate interest and ability in naming biologically meaningful entities, or species. Taxonomy, then, vies for the title of world's “oldest profession”.
As temperatures rise, will species have enough habitat to move to suitable ground? bonnyboy/flickr

Can ‘climate corridors’ help species adapt to warming world?

Animals and plants will need escape hatches to move to cooler climes as the planet warms, but few parts of the U.S. have the natural habitat available for these migrations.
There’s a difference in the sex chromosomes between various mammals, such as the platypus compared to humans. Flickr/Darren Puttock

Did sex drive mammal evolution? How one species can become two

How new species are created is at the core of the theory of evolution. Mammals may be a good example of how sex chromosome change drove major groups apart.
How many species of frog are in the picture? Genetics often says ‘more than we thought’. Michael Lee (Flinders University & South Australian Museum)

The Earth’s biodiversity could be much greater than we thought

The Earth is full of many varied species from the largest mammals to the tiniest organisms. But we now think there could be ten times more species than was originally thought.
Some of the many species in the Australian National Insect Collection. CSIRO/Alan Landford

Why so many Australian species are yet to be named

At least 100,000 insects are among the many Australian species still to be formally identified. That's a problem for any biosecurity experts who need to be able to spot potentially invasive bugs.

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