Your Body is a Microbial Archipelago

When Charles Darwin compared the beaks of his finch specimens from the Galapagos, he saw that each had been shaped differently by evolution, depending on the natural history of the island on which that finch made its home. Many evolutionary biologists see life through this natural history lens, and while they are right to declare […]

Controlling Cancer with Evolution

In 2001, Dean Spath was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He had surgery to remove his prostate, and for nearly a decade, Spath appeared to be cancer free. Each year he would visit the doctor to have a blood test and a scan, and each year the tests came back clean. “They thought they got […]

It’s Time to Evolve. Yes, You Too.

A few years ago, I was driving back exhausted from a rock climbing trip in the mountains. My buddy Bryan Fong, was bored and feeling a little punchy. When he gets like this, he tends to bring up politically sensitive topics and starts looking for buttons to press. In this case, he honed in on […]

Guest Post: Put Your Money Where Darwin’s Mouth Is

In the fourteen years that I’ve been teaching high school biology, I’ve been asked a lot of weird questions about evolution. But, until recently, I’ve not been asked whether Charles Darwin could make you rich. Is evolution good for business? In a recent debate, Bill Nye, the popular science educator, argued it is. Actually, Nye […]

How Natural is Homosexuality?

Today, in light of gay pride month and all the gay marriage business all over the news, I thought it might be time we at LWON weigh in on this most hot-button of issues. We look to biology to explain so much about how we interact and why we act how we do. But what does it have […]

TGIPF: What the Baculum Said

This is the third installment of the occasional series Thank God It’s Penis Friday. The first was on banana slug sex; the second on Iceland’s Phallological Museum. Today we are going to talk about penis bones. The penis bone, or baculum, is the supportive bone in the penises of most mammals. Relax, you didn’t miss anything: humans […]

The mundaneness of science

When I was a biology researcher, the strangers I met at parties and on airplanes were always impressed when I told them how I made my living. Evidently, they envisioned my work as something out of Jurassic Park—a thrilling journey packed with breakthroughs and adventures. Few suspected the truth: doing science is mostly about performing […]

Galápagos Monday: World Within Itself

This is the third installment of a six-week series about my recent trip to the Galápagos. You can read the first post, about tortoises and donkeys, here, and the second, about eerie mounds of black coral, here. If you go to the Galápagos, and even if you go, as I did, in a herd of clumsy American tourists, […]