If lower limbs aren't used, get rid of them
Researchers describe earliest example of ‘secondary loss’.
Scientists say they have discovered the earliest known example of an animal evolving to lose body parts it no longer ...
Untangling branches in the mammal tree of life
Research allows comparisons among distantly related lineages.
A new approach to the mammalian tree of life allows comparison between mammals as distantly related as a platypus and...
Dung beetle’s horns not so novel after all
Research finds they stem from the same genes as wings.
A revelation that the dung beetle’s thoracic horns grew from wing genes challenges biology textbook definitions of no...
Why mammals have such complex backbones
Changes linked to active nature and high metabolisms.
Compared to other vertebrate animals such as reptiles, mammals have complex and unexpectedly weird backbones. Their ...
Species v hybrid. More fuel for the debate
The evolutionary importance of hybridisation.
By their nature, conflicting ideas about evolution aren’t easily resolved. Some – such as the role of hybridisation i...
How mammals inherited the Earth
Scientists map out first million years of life after the dinosaurs
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid roughly the size of Malta slammed into the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The...
European pigs shook off their ancestry
Modern breeds show virtually no signs of arrival from Near East.
When ancient Near Eastern farmers migrated westward into Europe about 8500 years ago, they brought their pigs with th...
How do Sherpas thrive up here?
Study suggests it’s something to do with their kidneys.
The ability of sure-footed Sherpas to scale the oxygen-rare slopes of the Himalayas without losing puff has enthralle...
Spawn of the triffid?
Organisms shed insight into a complex evolutionary world.
This is Rhodelphis limneticus, one of two newly discovered organisms that Canadian and Russian researchers say point ...
Ancient DNA sheds light on early cattle
Genomic analysis reveals a complex history.
Cows are seemingly simple creatures. Their history is anything but. An analysis of ancient genomes from domestic cat...
Sponge blob square pants
Study overturns understanding of evolutionary history.
This is a cross-section of a type of cell found in sponges known as a choanocyte. It is not what it seems. Until now...
Evolution: the product of random mutation
The paths available to evolving organisms are far from limitless.
biletskiy/Shutterstock What would happen if the hands of time were turned back to an arbitrary point in our evolutio...