Articles on Evolutionary biology

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Taxonomists are in the business of classifying the life we see around us – plant, animal and otherwise. Gnilenkov Aleksey

Explainer: what is biological classification?

For taxonomists, days often start – and sometimes end – with the question: what’s that? Whether you’re an entomologist, staring at a new species of riffle bug from a rainforest stream, or a paleontologist…
Our ability to climb and swing is impressive, but not necessary for survival. spencer.lattimer

Out of our tree: did Homo mark the end of the swingers?

Just when did our human ancestors come down from the trees to become permanent ground-dwelling apes? Did the evolution of our upright posture and two-footed (bipedal) locomotion mark the end of a life…
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…
We share many behaviours and characteristics with our primate cousins and now we know our blood types are more closely linked as well. AAP Image/Taronga Zoo

As easy as A, B … humans and other primates are blood brothers

A study published in PNAS this week has confirmed that human blood types were present in one of our ancient primate ancestors. The ABO blood groups Beloved by genetics teachers the world over, the ABO…
If you’re a female guppy it pays to take many mates … sort of. André "Drekas" Correia/Flickr

More sex partners means more grandkids … if you’re a guppy

Here’s some good news: having more sexual partners makes females more fertile. A recent study on Trinidadian guppies has shown that females who mate with multiple males produce more grand-offspring than…
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…
Female wasp spiders often eat their mate straight after intercourse. Wikimedia Commons

Sticky and picky: why male orb-web spiders like heavy virgins

When it comes to selecting a mate, females are traditionally thought of as the choosy sex; males, meanwhile, aren’t thought to be particularly picky. This makes sense for many species – the sex that invests…
“If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Research shows that plants spread news of trouble. Flickr/Peter Nijenhuls

Heard it on the grapevine: the mysterious chatter of plants

Sound and its use in communication have shaped the ecology, evolution, behaviour, and ultimately the success of many animal species. But are animals the only lifeforms to communicate with sound? Do plants…

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