How Does Natural Selection Favour Self-Deception?

If being confident has ever won you a job interview, or if you’ve ever accidentally stolen a pen from a friend, you might have evolution to thank or blame.

Alfred Russel Wallace: The great evolutionary theorist

Our understanding of evolution via natural selection was not pioneered by just one person. A tribute to the remarkable Alfred Russel Wallace.

Love is in the air

In the first online-only feature from I, Science Issue 30, Jess Norris finds out how our genes and environment – and our smell – affect who we fall in love with

The Universe Within

The aim of the talk ‘The Universe Within: A Scientific Adventure’ was, in Neil Shubin’s own words: “to investigate the common history of rocks, planets, and people”. Neil Shubin, author of the titular book …

Chris Stringer’s Human Evolution

Professor Chris Stringer, an anthropologist from the natural history museum, talks to Graihagh Jackson about his life’s research on human evolution. Chris revolutionised his field with his out-of-Africa theory …

Sting-stealing slugs

Last week I introduced the nudibranchs, a group of beautiful and surprising sea slugs. In this post, I’ll be talking about how nudibranchs steal weapons from their prey and use them to their own advantage. Nudibranchs like to eat Cnidaria. This group of simple but fascinating animals includes corals, sea anemones, jellyfish and others. Cnidaria […]

Placebo: making evidence-based medicine bad for you

The placebo effect is like a slightly embarrassing trick you play on someone who’s never heard it before. There’s no deception that makes a person look so gullible or so much of a hypochondriac as to bring them back to health with a treatment that does nothing at all. However, although it’s still debated, the […]

Putting Love in a Pill

We can all admit to being, on occasion, slaves to our emotions. But what if we could medically alter and regulate our most basic feelings? Be prescribed a pill to love, an inhaler to feel anger, or a topical lotion for loneliness? Neuroscience is starting to better understand the hard-wiring of our emotions. And one […]

Did Humans Emerge “Out of Asia”?

The phrase ‘out of Africa’ has become synonymous with the concept of early primate – and by extension, human – evolution. However, recent research challenges this view, instead indicating that primates left Asia some tens of millions of years ago and colonised Africa, where they continued their evolution. The new findings, produced by an international […]

Can Computers Teach Us About Evolution of Cooperation?

Evolution can be merciless. It selects for success and banishes failure. It is therefore natural to assume that it favours genes that help themselves and not others. Yet for some reason, cooperative behaviour has managed to evolve, with no solid explanation as to why. But thanks to computer technology, we may now be closer to […]

Battle of the Sexes

Liger and male handler The battle of the sexes is as old as time itself. George Gilder commented that “differences between sexes are one of the most single important facts of human society”. These differences are also one of the most important foundations for human existence. Evolution has gradually crafted us from the humblest of […]

Intellectual Chess

There is no question about it, we have big heads. Relative to our body size we have the largest brains on earth, and even non-relative to body size, our brains are still some of the largest. If we consider that we are the well-honed product of mother nature’s machinations then it follows logically that large […]