Not my picks, but their own:
How trees changed the world
It’s only when you try to imagine a world without trees that you realise how much we take them for granted. Yet 450 million years ago there was no such thing as a tree: few plants grew more than a centimetre tall. Between then and now, things happened to give another dimension to plant growth and to create the diversity we see today.
Reclaiming the peppered moth for science
The peppered moth used to be the textbook example of evolution in action. Then, about a decade ago, creationists began an orchestrated a campaign to discredit it – and with it the entire edifice of evolution. Now biologists are fighting to take it back…
Uncovering the evolution of the bacterial flagellum
The whip-like tail of some bacteria has become the cause célèbre of the “intelligent design” movement and a focal point in science’s ongoing struggle against unreason. It doesn’t seem possible to come up with one via Darwin’s “numerous, successive, slight modifications”, they say. Now science is coming up with an answer…
What missing link?
The fossil record used to be thought of as a patchy and unreliable record of evolutionary change. Today, that record is much more dependable. When it comes to “transitional fossils” – those that bridge the gap between major groups of organisms – we now have some excellent examples.
Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions
Evolution is perhaps the best known yet least understood of all scientific theories. Here, NewScientist.com, seeks out the facts behind common misunderstandings that have grown up around “the blind watchmaker”.
Rewriting Darwin: The new non-genetic inheritance
We resemble our parents and can fall prey to the same diseases mainly because we inherit their genes. Yet there is another form of inheritance that does not rely on genes, one that allows characteristics to be passed on that are acquired during a person’s lifetime…
The Ordivician: Life’s second big bang
The Cambrian period, starting about 540 million years ago, is famous for the appearance of all but one of the types of creatures we see around us today. Yet in terms of new species this period cannot hold a candle to a little-known explosion of life called the Great Ordivician Biodiversification Event.
Vestigial organs: Remnants of evolution
From goosebumps to wisdom teeth, vestigial organs have long perplexed biologists. What was their original purpose and what happened to make them redundant? NewScientist.com presents its top five vestigial organs and explains how they differ from male nipples.
Viruses: The unsung heroes of evolution
Viruses are often seen solely as carriers of death and disease. In the light of genomics, however, they are being seen as critical evolutionary players. Far from being a biological afterthought, they may be the most creative genetic entities we know of.
Freedom from selection lets genes get creative
Natural selection is seen as a tough master, constantly applying pressure to improve the fit between an organism and its niche. Yet some researchers believe that when the pressure of natural selection lifts, genomes go wandering and unexpected effects can arise. To see the impact, he argues, we have to look no further than ourselves…
Top 10 New Scientist evolution articles of 2008
Not my picks, but their own: