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Stories by Lucas Brouwers

The sexy sabercat: how the sabertooth got its teeth

The sexy sabercat: how the sabertooth got its teeth

Many sabertooths have stalked this world. The first sabertoothed mammals appeared over 50 million years ago. The last sabercats, such as Smilodon and Homotherium, went extinct only 10.000 years ago.

November 4, 2013 — Lucas Brouwers

Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago

All animal eyes and eye-spots contain opsin, a protein that captures light. This is the compound eye of Antarctic krill. Photo by Gerd Alberti and Uwe Kills Gaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world.

November 20, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Book review: Survival of the Beautiful

Satin bowerbirds decorate their bowers with all things blue. Picture by thinboyfatter. Sometimes all you have to do to make me buy your book, is think of a good title.

October 25, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

The floor is yours!

Carving blog posts one by one. Photo theangryblender Today, the Scientific American blogging network celebrates its very first birthday. It has been a tremendous ride so far, and I would really like to thank you for reading along so far, but there's one little question I wanted to get out of the way first: Who are you?

July 5, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Ancient fish had the backbone of a landlubber

Evolution has a knack for confronting us with strange and unexpected questions. One of them echoed through the halls of the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland, not too long ago: "Why does a fish need a sacrum!?"Lauren Sallan was peering through her microscope, studying a fossil specimen of Tarrasius , when she noticed something odd.

May 23, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Livestock bacteria are as old as the livestock they kill

Aurochs were the ancestors of domestic cattle. Photo Marcus Sümnick Animals were wilder then. Horns were longer, temperaments fiercer. These wild things had forever been free when humans took control of their flocks and herds, 10.000 years ago.

May 14, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Thanks to Extra Genes, Eels Transform from Ribbons to Tubes

A wild eel in the Grevelingenmeer. Photo shot by Arne Kuilman, all rights reserved. Few animals travel so far to have sex as the European eel. When autumn comes, these eels leave their lakes and rivers and embark on an arduous journey towards the Sargasso sea.

March 14, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Did life evolve in a `warm little pond'?

Geothermal pond near the Mutnovsky volcano, Kamtchatka. Copyright Anna S. Karyagina "But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity etcetera present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes [..] "~Charles Darwin, in a letter to Joseph Hooker (1871) All life on earth is related.

February 16, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

The tragic fate of the Brighton octopus

These are good times to have tentacles. Thanks to the internet, even the most ordinary of octopuses can be catapulted to worldwide fame. Exceptional skills or abilities are not required.

February 8, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

More than Just Pretty Faces

The bald uakari has a distinctive, but simple, face. Photo by Ipaat Specks. Stripes. Red fur. Black fur. Eye masks. Bald spots. Beards. Moustaches. New World monkeys are nature's motley crew.

January 16, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

My first year as a MSM science writer

Happy belated new year everyone! 2011 was a wonderful year for me. Not only did my blog move to its shiny new abode at Scientific American, I also joined the science desk of NRC Handelsblad, a daily Dutch newspaper.

January 6, 2012 — Lucas Brouwers

Return of the Yeti Crab

Remember the dancing Yeti Crabs? They're back! Check out this amazing illustration of two farming Yeti Crabs by Irene Goede: So white, so hairy.. I want to pet them!Irene is a freelance illustrator who has specialized in nature and history.

December 15, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

Evolving between the echoes

This bumblebee bat could be the smallest mammal in the world. Isolation can be a blessing. I am most productive when I'm not connected to the web. If I'm writing in a train or plane, severed from the thoughts of others, it is easier to capture my own trails of thought and let them expand.

December 14, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers