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Explanatory Filter in Action: Fairy Circles in Africa

The old "crop circle" craze fanned the curiosity of many, till humans were filmed making them. Now, scientists have a different circle mystery, and they're stumped.

Pitcher Plant Inspires R&D Award

The R&D 100 award, previously given for inventions like the fax machine and automated teller machine, has been given this year for a biologically-inspired design that could revolutionize society in many ways.

Mating Turtles Fossilized Instantly

Evolutionary paleontologists have a mystery on their hands: how did turtles in the act of mating become fossilized?

Spiders Can Cross Oceans

Why did the spider cross the ocean? To colonize the Old World after it "originated" in the New World.

Butterfly Mimics Don't Evolve; They Share

A non-evolutionary explanation has been found for a classic evolutionary showpiece: mimicry in butterflies.

From Toxin to Medicine

Botulinum toxin (botox) is now big business in health and fashion, but few may remember it derives from one of the deadliest substances known in nature. Other examples show that some forms of "natural evil" can be seen in a different light.

Follow the Leader: Plants and Animals

Need solutions to engineering problems? Look no further than the plants and animals around you. That's what more and more scientists are doing.

Animals Have Biological GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS): that's a function. Maintaining a suite of satellites is one method for achieving the function. But there are other ways to figure out where in the world you are, and two very different animals show the way – naturally – using Earth's global magnetic field.

From Wonders of Nature to Wonders of Technology

Living things have solved physics problems like design engineers. Inventors are just now catching on to their tricks in ways that could improve our technology, weaning us off our crude, polluting past and ushering in advanced technology that is not only greener but more effective. The latest stars are two insects and a bacterium.

Small Animals Show Even More Design

Your smart phone is a triumph of miniaturization. The first computers were room-filling monstrosities; now, you can hold more computing power than a Univac in the palm of your hand. In the living world, we should't despise small creatures. They can pack a lot of technology into a small space. Here are some record-setting examples of living miniatures reported recently.

Innovation as a Dodge

This is not a truck commercial. It’s not about a Dodge as an innovation, but innovation as a dodge. It’s about how a word, innovation, is used as a euphemism in evolution articles. The word seems to mean, “we have no clue how this evolved, but it must have for evolution to be true.” It’s a handy rhetorical trick, because without it, a reader might be tempted to think the evidence supports creation. Some recent articles show how the trick is employed.

Turning an Unevolved Horseshoe Crab Into a Darwin Showpiece

Horseshoe crabs are survivors by anyone’s measure; they have carried on their lives virtually unchanged, according to the standard evolutionary timeline, for 450 million years. This not only points to incredible stasis against alleged forces of evolution; it also means they have survived at least three global extinctions that evolutionary biologists and geologists say wiped out most other species. Not only that, the world has changed drastically since they allegedly evolved from who-knows-what arthropod ancestors – perhaps trilobites, that appeared in the Cambrian Explosion without ancestors. But the numerous, successful trilobites did not survive the global extinctions. Given these contradictory facts, how can the horseshoe crab possibly be an exhibit for evolution? A recent article shows how.

Living Surprises, Living Hopes

Here are ten recent discoveries about plants and animals that are surprising and inspiring. Some of them may lead to technologies that can improve our own lives.

More Upsets for Darwin

For every hyped-up demonstration of evolution in action the media announces with gusto, there are setbacks that often do not get the splashy headlines. Here are three recent examples.

Science Grab Bag

Here's a random assortment of things floating around in the science news media – some fascinating, some informative, some disgusting. We’ll let the readers decide which is which. Since it’s Friday the 13th, a day to enjoy like any other day, we’ll give you a baker’s dozen to sample.
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