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New Scientist has a feature on the top ten inventions by Mother Nature – those developments or concepts that have shone through the vast complexity that is life, and made it what it is. Some are concrete and obvious – the eye, for example, first appearing 543 million years ago, and the brain. Others are more abstract and are defining themes among biological organisms: multicellularity, photosynthesis, sex, and parasitism. Read the whole thing for a big-picture view of biology that you didn’t get in ninth grade.

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