Can you guess which eyes belong to what animal? Top row, from left: cuttlefish, lion, goat. Bottom row, from left: domestic cat, horse, gecko. Top row: iStockphoto; bottom row: Flickr hide caption

toggle caption Top row: iStockphoto; bottom row: Flickr

A cabbage butterfly caterpillar. For tens of millions of years, these critters have been in an evolutionary arms race with plants they munch on. The end result: "mustard oil bombs" that also explode with flavor when we humans harness them to make condiments. Courtesy of Roger Meissen/Bond LSC hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Roger Meissen/Bond LSC

Kanzi the bonobo (a species closely related to chimps) holds a pan of vegetables he cooked at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, November 2011. Kanzi was taught to cook. However, a new study is the first to show that animals can acquire a cooking-like skill on their own. Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft Media /Landov hide caption

toggle caption Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft Media /Landov

This fungus among us — baker's yeast, aka Saccharomyces cerevisiae — is useful for more than just making bread. iStockphoto hide caption

toggle caption iStockphoto

The skull of a chicken embryo (left) has a recognizable beak. But when scientists block the expression of two particular genes, the embryo develops a rounded "snout" (center) that looks something like an alligator's skull (right). Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar hide caption

toggle caption Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar

The Two-Way

How Bird Beaks Got Their Start As Dinosaur Snouts

Hoping to help trace the history of how velociraptors evolved into birds, researchers at Harvard and Yale may have tracked a key beak transformation to two genes.

Listen Loading… 1:57
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sir David Attenborough at the Beijing Museum of Natural History with fossil of Juramaia, as featured in the Smithsonian Channel series Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates. Courtesy Smithsonian Channel hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy Smithsonian Channel

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor