Articles on Biology

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Sparrows spar by sharing songs

Far from being a harmonious sing-a-long, song-sharing among sparrow populations is actually an aggressive behaviour, akin…

Males die early for female attention

Male houbura bustards that are particularly exuberant in their attempts to attract female attention have been found to die…
Guess what? It’s not so much size but the shape that matters. Ozchin

Seen one seen them all? More to genitalia than meets the eye

Why should male genitalia be so variable? This problem has puzzled evolutionary biologists for decades. Even to the experts, it can be difficult to tell closely-related species apart just by looking at…

A clue to reversing ageing

A gene, which allows yeast cell to reset their age and double their lifespan, has been found by biologists at MIT. Human…
Scientists and doctors are concerned by growing resistance to existing drugs that treat malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes and kills more than 800,000 children per year. Thomas Omondi / UK Department for International Development

Malaria breakthrough shines light on drug resistance

Malaria parasites are able to adapt their growth rate to render anti-malarial drugs useless, according to new research by…
Why do the legs of galloping horses appear as a blur? Eadweard Muybridge, 1878

Hold your horses – news just in on the speed of sight

What’s the fastest thing you can see? Events that play out over a scale of minutes or seconds are easy to see. Events at much smaller timescales — milliseconds and shorter — can be entirely invisible to…
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…
Inherited only from mothers, the mitochondria may harbour male-harming mutations. ddc c z/flickr

Could ‘mother’s curse’ cause male infertility?

As many as a one in 20 men is infertile, but in many cases the underlying cause for it remains unknown. Recent research has found that a peculiarity in the way in which the DNA inside our mitochondria…
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…
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…
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…
Late nights and jet-lag see us fighting our body clocks, but can we ever win? fmgbain/Flickr

Keeping time: how our circadian rhythms drive us

Do we control our body clocks or do those clocks, ticking imperceptibly, control us? It’s the kind of question that keeps sleep scientists awake at night. Rhythms are a good place to start. They are a…

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