Ever wonder what might make one species split in two? A new study in the journal Current Biology shows that it could come down to a simple female preference for a specific type of buzz.
Chester Starr of the Heiltsuk First Nation knows that the wolves of British Columbia come in two varieties: timber wolves on the mainland and coastal wolves on the islands. Genetic research has finally confirmed what Starr's tribe has always known.
Evolutionary biologists like to say that mutations are random but that selection is not; species are crafted by their environments. But if this is the case, why is it so hard to predict evolution? A recent genetic analysis of stick insects provides an important clue.
Over at BoingBoing, you can witness the first and last episode of Drunk Science, in which science journalist Charles Q. Choi (an io9 contributor!) gets seriously shitfaced and tries to explain the concept of speciation by talking about human/orc sex.
When two populations of a species are separated for many generations, their genomes start to drift apart as they adapt to their different environments. Eventually they can become two distinct species. But new research now suggests it's not always incompatible DNA that halts interbreeding — sometimes it's incompatible…
If you just look at their DNA, the various South American songbird populations all look pretty much the same. But their outward appearances and the songs they sing couldn't be more difficult. We're witnessing the birth of multiple new species.
It's a well-worn cliche that moving to the big city after a lifetime of country-living can change you forever. That might actually be literally true for blackbirds, as moving to the city has begun to split their species in two.
Three million years ago, a gene mutation switched off a sugar-making enzyme in early hominids. Our ancestors actually became unable to breed with those who still had the enzyme, possibly causing the emergence of our evolutionary grandparent, Homo erectus.
We think of cancer as a disease, a form of runaway cell growth within an organism. But we might not have realized what cancers really are: separate, brand new parasitic species that evolve from and prey upon their human hosts.
Accepted scientific wisdom holds that new species arise because of geographic separation - the same bird evolves differently on two different islands. But a new study overturns this idea, challenging the importance of environment as a driver of evolution.
When an unknown insect starts showing up in ever-growing numbers in London, England, the most logical step would be to take one to some experts so they can identify it. What do you do when the insects first appear in the experts' own back yard, the Wildlife Garden outside the Natural History Museum? Even after…