Ancient poetry and evolution

We don’t often think of art and poetry as historical evidence – but they often give us a view into the ideas held at the time. In this article, Dr Emma Greensmith discusses three poems which describe different creation myths. When one thinks of ancient evidence for ideas about evolution, what examples come to mind?…

Biblical evidence does not support creationism

How did the world come into being? How did life originate on Earth? Opposing theories of evolution and creationism have sparked large debates on the topic. In this article, Professor Katherine Southwood looks at Biblical evidence for theories other than creationism. Biblical scholars engage with Biblical texts. This primary evidence exists in multiple copies and…

Evolution in Greek and Roman thinking about human society

The philosophers of the ancient world were fascinated with the environment and how it affected the development of human society. Dr Georgy Kantor discusses the merits and problems of their thoughts – and whether any similar assumptions can be found in modern political thought. Is my title paradoxical? Darwin’s theory of evolution was of course…


In previous articles in this class, we have learned about some of the many mysteries around the workings of the human brain. In this article we will examine a slightly more well-understood change that can happen in the brain: addiction. Addiction, when a behaviour becomes compulsive despite negative consequences, is a chronic disease which involves…

How did brain development evolve to produce the human brain?

How could evolution produce a highly complex, efficient and still-evolving structure such as the human brain? In this article we look at the evolution of the brain across humans as well as other creatures to begin solving this mystery. Charles Darwin stated, “community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent.” Thus, to understand how the…

The Evolution of Gas Turbines

A gas turbine is a type of combustion engine that can convert fuel into energy. How does this work, and how did this manner of producing energy come about? Read on to learn about how gas turbines evolved, and what role they play in our lives now… The Basic Principles Gas turbines use the possibility…

The Mathematics of Natural Selection

How do we use mathematics to study natural selection? In this article, we will derive equations that will help us to calculate the probability of a gene being passed down in a population. You’ll even get the chance to try these equations out for yourself! Professor Alan Grafen, Tutorial Fellow in Quantitative Biology

Human Consciousness

What is consciousness? The notion of consciousness is one of science’s big mysteries, and in this article we will begin to explore what we do know about what consciousness is, how it evolves and how it affects our daily realities. The mystery of human consciousness has plagued the minds of scientists and philosophers alike for…

The evolution of the book: A brief history

For over 1,600 years, the book has existed as a collection of rectangular sheets of parchment or paper with text and/or illustrations, folded into pages, bound together, and covered by a binding.

Leisure and technological change

As culture has evolved, so has the way we spend our leisure time. Dr Severine Toussaert investigates how the evolution of technology has impacted our leisure time – and how the digital economy affects the leisure economy.

Population genetics

Darwin’s Origin of Species still provides the best single account of evolution, but modern discoveries allow us to fill in some details and make some additions. Learn about some of these here!

Viral immunity

In the past year, our lives have all been disrupted because of the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus. But what is it that actually happens within our bodies and immune systems when we encounter such a virus?

Sex and evolution

What role does sexual reproduction play in evolution? In this article, we will consider how recombination and genetic variation drive evolution.


Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection states that the adaptations of an organism to its environment arise because of the greater chance of survival of those offspring that have a favourable variation caused by random mutation, which they then pass on to their offspring.

Quiz: Why does evolution matter?

So you think you know some things about evolution… Now’s your chance to test yourself – take this short quiz to see how much you know!

Language Evolution

Evolution occurs in culture as well as in the natural world. One example of this is language evolution.

How has music evolved?

While some principles of evolution, like natural selection, do not work quite the same in music as in biological evolution, this is still a useful metaphor for examining changes in the history of music itself, as well as changes in the role of music in society.

Evolution: Making sense of life

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” This was famously said by Theodore Dhobzhansky, one of the most eminent biologists of the 20th century, and practically every biologist in the world agrees with him. But what does such a sweeping claim mean?


Fossils record the history of life on Earth in rocks. But how can we learn about evolution, origination of new species and mass extinctions from fossils?

Is your computer more intelligent than you?

We have so far been looking at evolution from the perspective of Biology and Geology, but the principles of evolution can help us understand other kinds of change as well. For example, evolution can tell us a lot about how computers and artificial intelligence are developing now, and where they may be going in the future.