These weird-looking, isolated aquatic creatures probably won’t star in a Pixar film anytime soon, but by studying them, we can learn about our planet’s past and its future, says evolutionary biologist and ichthyologist Prosanta Chakrabarty.

Synthetic biologist Tal Danino manipulates microorganisms in his lab to create eye-catching, colorful patterns. Here’s a look at the process he uses to turn “Oh, yuck” into “Oh, wow.”

A selection of uplifting reads — all suggested by TED speakers — for your end-of-year break.

Science writer Sonia Shah explains why it’s really not your fault you’re attracted to that terrible person.

This freshly drawn Tree of Life contains a new branch full of microbes — which appear to dominate Earth’s biodiversity. How did we miss that? TED Fellow Hélène Morlon explains.

Biohacker Andrew Pelling has figured out a way to create living, functional biological objects that don’t exist in nature — without deliberately modifying DNA in any way. In one experiment, he uses apples and human cells to make ears. But what? And how? And why? Read on.

For Sissel Tolaas, even the liveliest city may be a “blandscape.” Here, the chemist shares thoughts on why, for her, smell is the most important sense.