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Exploring evolution through genes, computers and history

The sexy sabercat: how the sabertooth got its teeth

The sexy sabercat: how the sabertooth got its teeth

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.

November 4, 2013 — Lucas Brouwers

Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago

All animal eyes and eye-spots contain opsin, a protein that captures light. This is the compound eye of Antarctic krill. Photo by Gerd Alberti and Uwe Kills Gaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world.

November 20, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Book review: Survival of the Beautiful

Satin bowerbirds decorate their bowers with all things blue. Picture by thinboyfatter. Sometimes all you have to do to make me buy your book, is think of a good title.

October 25, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

The floor is yours!

Carving blog posts one by one. Photo theangryblender Today, 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?

July 5, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Ancient fish had the backbone of a landlubber

Evolution has a knack for confronting us with strange and unexpected questions. One of them echoed through the halls of the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland, not too long ago: "Why does a fish need a sacrum!?"Lauren Sallan was peering through her microscope, studying a fossil specimen of Tarrasius , when she noticed something odd.

May 23, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Livestock bacteria are as old as the livestock they kill

Aurochs were the ancestors of domestic cattle. Photo Marcus Sümnick Animals were wilder then. Horns were longer, temperaments fiercer. These wild things had forever been free when humans took control of their flocks and herds, 10.000 years ago.

May 14, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

A Spoonful of Molybdenum, some Ulysses and the Origin of Life

The robotic submarine Hercules explores Lost City, a hydrothermal vent system in the center of the Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy Deborah Kelley (University of Washington), Institute for Exploration, URI-IAO, and NOAA.

April 12, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Thanks to Extra Genes, Eels Transform from Ribbons to Tubes

A wild eel in the Grevelingenmeer. Photo shot by Arne Kuilman, all rights reserved. Few animals travel so far to have sex as the European eel. When autumn comes, these eels leave their lakes and rivers and embark on an arduous journey towards the Sargasso sea.

March 14, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Antarctica's Erratic Climate Shaped Icefish Evolution

Larva of a crocodile icefish. Photo by Uwe Kils. Few fish would survive a swim in Antartica's ice-covered waters. Temperatures can drop to -1.9 ℃, whereas a typical fish starts to freeze at -0.8 ℃.

February 22, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

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