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Dawn of farming sparked speed-evolution in weeds

Posted on 19 Nov 2014 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

It didn’t take long. Just a few thousand years after humans began to domesticate crops, a wide variety of weeds had adapted to exploit the new farmlands – with some species seeming to have evolved, like crops, to be completely dependent on cultivated land. Image: Arthur Chapman

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Cells act like old tape recorders to monitor health

Posted on 13 Nov 2014 in Health, Journalism

They’re the world’s smallest documentary makers. E. coli bacteria have had their DNA hacked so they can store memories of their cellular environment. And they do it in much the same way as an analogue tape recorder. Image: dno1967b

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Why some trees evolved to live underground

Posted on 3 Nov 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism

With the exception of wildlife film makers, arboriculturalists and a few scientists, most of us don’t spend much time in the leafy upper reaches of tree canopies. But in the underground forests beneath the savannahs of southern Africa and South America, it’s an experience open to all. Image: Accretion Disc

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Why scratching an itch only makes it worse

Posted on 31 Oct 2014 in Health, Journalism, Neuroscience

It’s the sweetest relief… until it’s not. Scratching an itch only gives temporary respite before making it worse – we now know why. Image: Carlospics

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How flowers conquered the world

Posted on 22 Oct 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism

It was, Charles Darwin wrote in 1879, “an abominable mystery”. Twenty years after the publication of his seminal work The Origin of Species, there were still aspects of evolution that bothered the father of evolutionary biology. Chief among these was the flower problem. Image: Moyan_Brenn

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Ten revolutions that made us human

Posted on 22 Oct 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

About 2 million years ago, we began to take evolution into our own hands, starting a series of innovations that changed human history – and made us into the very modern apes we are today. Image: NCSSMphotos

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