Evolutionary Biology

A dog and a bonobo.
Vanessa Woods

When thinking about evolution, Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest,” is ingrained as the reason why some organisms thrived and others faltered. But our cultural understanding of “fittest” focuses on brute strength and size. What if there was another way to explain the success of some species? 

A baboon and Tung look at each other.
Susan Alberts

When the MacArthur Foundation notified Jenny Tung that she is a 2019 “genius grant” recipient, she was honored and humbled. The new mom has spent much of her career studying primates and how their early life impacts their overall health, life expectancy and even affects their offspring.

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

David J. Tuss

From horns to claws, teeth and talons, the animal kingdom features many natural weapons.