Insights from the Past: Lampreys give teeth to theories of vertebrate immune system evolution

by Aleks Prochera figures by Jovana Andrejevic Imagine wading through the fresh waters of the Paleozoic era over 300 million years ago. You bump into various ancient marine creatures from fishes adorned with horseshoe-shaped shields to aquatic scorpions the size of a modern-day seal. Around you, however, there also exists an unseen world teeming with microbes: viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Despite their deceivingly microscopic size, these organisms pose a … Continue reading Insights from the Past: Lampreys give teeth to theories of vertebrate immune system evolution

An Evolutionary Argument for why Grandmas Rule

by Rebecca Silberman figures by Aparna Nathan Seen through the harsh, unsentimental lens of evolutionary biology, menopause doesn’t make sense. Why don’t women live like giraffes, like tarantulas, like pigeons, reproducing throughout their lives in order to maximize each person’s “fitness,” or reproductive success? Even in other long-lived, social species like elephants, females don’t stop having children before the end of their lives, and while … Continue reading An Evolutionary Argument for why Grandmas Rule

Cancers Evolve – Tagging and Tracking Can Help Us Understand How

by Catherine Gutierrez figures by Aparna Nathan Forty-nine years ago, President Richard Nixon launched a “War on Cancer”. That war has not ended—it rages on today, with cancer right behind heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 1.8 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2020 in the U.S. alone, and rising rates of cancer risk factors such … Continue reading Cancers Evolve – Tagging and Tracking Can Help Us Understand How