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Exploring evolution through genes, computers and history

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    Terrestrial hermit crabs love peanut snacks, but can only smell them when it's wet. Illustration Irene GoedeThe Caribbean hermit crabs in Anna-Sara Krång’s laboratory are no picky eaters. They are eager to gobble down any fruit, nuts, fish or coconut flakes that comes their way. But above all else, these culinary connoisseurs prefer peanut flips. These snacks are always the first to disappear down their gullets when feeding time comes around. [...]

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  • 07/05/12--12:12: The floor is yours!
  • Carving this blog for a year now. Photo theangryblenderToday, the Scientific American blogging network celebrates its very first birthday. It has been a tremendous ride so far, and I would really like to thank you for reading along so far, but there’s one little question I wanted to get out of the way first: Who are you? You see, writing this blog is [...]

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    Photo by redwood1Somewhere deep in my grandmother’s veins, a blood clot breaks free. Her blood carries the clot past her heart, to her lungs, where it becomes stuck in a pulmonary artery. This is when my grandmother feels a sudden sting in her chest and loses her breath. She is suffering a pulmonary embolism. My grandmother is [...]

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    Sometimes all you have to do to make me buy your book, is think of a good title. Survival of the Beautiful by David Rothenberg definitely did the trick. “No one ever mentions the beautiful”, I thought when I took the book from its shelf in a London book store. Not when it comes to [...]

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    All animal eyes and eye-spots contain opsin, a protein that captures light. This is the compound eye of the Antarctic krill. Photo by Gerd Alberti and Uwe KillsGaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world. Every ray of light that you perceive was caught by an opsin first. Without opsin there would be no blue, no red, no green. The entire visible spectrum would be.. just another spectrum. But opsins haven’t [...]

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    The Pink Lakes in Australia are coloured pink by salt-loving microbes. Photo by Neilsphotography.Most cells would shrivel to death in a salt lake. But not the Halobacteria. These microbes thrive in brine, painting waters a gentle pink or crimson red wherever they bloom. The Halobacteria live in every salt lake on this planet, from the Dead Sea of Israel to the vast salt flats at the feet of [...]

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    Skull of Homotherium crenatidens in the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris.Many sabertooths have stalked this world. The first sabertoothed mammals appeared over 50 million years ago. The last sabercats, such as Smilodon and Homotherium, went extinct only 10.000 years ago. All in all, five different lineages of carnivorous mammals evolved sabertooth dentition: the ancient creodonts, marsupials and three different lineages of true cats and cat-like [...]

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