Evolution

Evolutionary biology long ago solved the philosophical conundrum 'what came first, the chicken or the egg?' by showing that eggs came long before chickens. 

But more relevant to evolution is the 'mother' molecule that led to the formation of life. What is it and how did it replicate itself?

RNA may be the answer to the first question, because it has more flexibility in how it recognizes itself than previously believed. The finding might change how we picture the first chemical steps towards replication and life.
What is the reason for the steep decay of average intelligence in Germany? Is it the current immigration? What is the brain-drain’s contribution? It is none of these! But why not and what is the reason?

I admit that as an antifascist for three decades, I have not foreseen that the fall of the West would start with the race issue. As a progressive mind, race is not on the radar when pondering the future, even although I knew the relevant science. I just did not attend to the connections that race keeps real despite of our denial. I expected bad times to arrive with ideological revolutions, some religion old or novel, or due to ecological disaster. Not race!

New fossils from the Late Triassic period (235 to 201 million years ago) are changing scientists' understanding of what drastically different forms can evolve in the tetrapod forelimb, including skeletal adaptations never before seen in land animals. 

Occasionally in science there are theories that refuse to die despite the overwhelming evidence against them. The “aquatic ape hypothesis” is one of these, now championed by Sir David Attenborough in his recent BBC Radio 4 series The Waterside Ape.

The hypothesis suggests that everything from walking upright to our lack of hair, from holding our breath to eating shellfish could be because an aquatic phase in our ancestry.

Science-fiction is filled with technologically advanced species that could easily overwhelm us - but it may be that we are going to be that first interstellar traveler, and we may discover other life before it even knows it is being discovered.

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago. That large time gap may mean that life on other planets, should it already exist, could be billions of years older than ours. Or it could be that present-day life is actually premature from a cosmic perspective and we have the huge head start by even being able to ask those questions.

Life isn’t always easy, but some beetles simply behave reckless.Trying to get your eggs inside a colony of murderous all-consuming red woodants (Formica rufa, see the picturebelow) is simply asking for trouble, or is it?

The four spotted leaf beetle larvae build a house of excrement (poo) and earth to survive this hostile environment.

Meet the four spotted leaf beetle (Clytra quadripunctata, see the pictures.) These beetles look like ladybugs that have been stretched on the rack (a torture device from the middle ages). 

The (Pre-)Neanderthals were the first, you see:


We know water is essential to life as we know it, but why? 

A paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides strongest evidence that proteins--the large and complex molecules that fold into particular shapes to enable biological reactions--can't fold themselves. Rather, the work of folding is done by much smaller water molecules, which surround proteins and push and pull at them to make them fold a certain way in fractions of a second, like scores of tiny origami artists folding a giant sheet of paper at blazingly fast speeds.

A study of the ancient and modern DNA of the single humped camel or dromedary has shed new light on how its use by human societies has shaped its genetic diversity.

Long-distance and back-and-forth movements in ancient camel caravan routes were important in shaping the species' genetic diversity, finds the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This makes sense. Over time the animals would have been engineered by merchants using artificial selection to make sure the best for making the trek were breeding.

Pregnancy sounds like the ultimate form of animal cooperation – mothers share their own bodies to grow and support their children’s prenatal development. But in reality, embryos use every trick in the book to take more than their fair share. Mothers, in turn, marshal their best defensive tactics.

Ultimately, it’s an evolutionary arms race. Offspring continually evolve strategies to steal resources, while mothers evolve strategies to defend their resources. Natural selection will favor embryos that are able to steal resources, but this will impose costs on the mother.