Blow Your Mind: Musical Mind Control and Evolutionary Hangovers

There's nothing like a good infectious beat, especially if you're Carl Jung in Africa, fearful that an atmosphere thick with shamanistic African drumming will literally drive you insane. This little chapter from the famous psychiatrist's life also inspired this excellent Peter Gabriel track, "The Rhythm of the Heat." This is exactly some of the ground Julie and I tackle in this week's episodes of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

Evolutionary Hangover

Evolutionary Hangover: Vestigial traits are common in animals across the globe, but why? In this episode, Julie and Robert take a look at the genetic leftovers that lost their usefulness during evolution. Tune in to learn more about evolution, atavism and vestigial traits.

Evolution in Action

Charles Darwin's revolutionary study of evolution isn't even two hundred years old yet. In terms of evolutionary processes, this is a miniscule amount of time. Yet is is possible to observe evolution within our lifetimes? Tune in and find out.

Ardi Fills Evolutionary Gap Between Man and Chimp

No seriously, breathe a sigh of relief -- it's "Ardi" as in Ardipithecus ramidus, not "Artie" as "Artie Lang." After months of rumors, the official word has finally broken out of the University of California at Berkeley's Human Evolution Research Center, and everyone's going ga-ga over this 4.4-million-year-old hominid, according to Discovery News.

Monkeys, Historic Trials and Climate Change: Where's the missing link?

Until yesterday, you could have rightly assumed monkey trials and global warming had nothing to do with each other. But that was before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, concerned over possible emissions regulations, challenged the EPA to a global warming showdown. According to the L.A. Times, officials at the chamber said the proposed legal faceoff could be "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century."

Lightning: Life's Secret Ingredient?

Dr. Frankenstein, if you're reading this, you have reason to feel a little vindicated. While the modern scientific community may laugh at your use of harnessed lightning bolts to animate a stitched-up monster, they're at least admitting that lightning may have played a vital role in the evolution of life on Earth.

Parasites Gave Us Sex -- Now that's a Headline

Yes, the next time you find yourself appreciating the finer qualities of sexual reproduction or shaking your head at its many complications, you can throw all the blame and praise to the worms.

Yes, according to BBC News, not only are monkeys in Thailand flossing their teeth, they seem to be passing this knowledge onto their children. What really impresses biologists about this behavior is that teaching proper tool use to a third party tends to be a humans-only affair. But the females appear to spend twice as much time cleaning their teeth when the little ones are watching. Is this dental hygiene boom a sign of evolution at work? A team of Japanese researchers intends to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile, what are the chimps in America up to? They're calmly arming their zoo enclosures with stones to later throw against humans. Far from running in terror from the possibilities of a chimpanzee uprising, biologists have moved in for a closer look. The chimp's' actions indicate that the animals may have a far more complicated understanding of the future than previously thought.

Human sexuality tends to provide us with enough complexity on its own, but the occasional glance at the rest of the animal kingdom helps put everything in perspective. Yep, according to a new study, the beetles with the "longest and spiniest genitalia" experience the most success in passing on their genes. National Geographic even provides a photo gallery of "bizarre beetle genitalia" if your boss isn't watching over your shoulder. Scientists believe these spines help to anchor the male in place for the duration of the coupling, internally injuring the female in the process. Don't drag all your anthropomorphic baggage into this, though. I think doomed mad scientist Seth Brundle put it best in "The Fly." "Have you ever heard of insect politics?" he asks. "Neither have I. Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal. No compassion, no compromise."