Exploring our Origins

The quest to understand our beginnings — of our universe, of life on Earth, of our species — inspires people all over the world. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers have forged partnerships with colleagues in South Africa and are uncovering answers and opening new scientific frontiers.

The stories of their work are presented in "Origins," a three-part multimedia narrative exploring the beginnings of the universe, life on earth and humankind.

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Study shows undocumented immigration doesn’t increase violent crime

The impact of undocumented immigration — especially on public safety — remains a contentious topic of discussion in the United States, but "the conversations are occurring in a vacuum of data,” says researcher Michael Light.

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Don Waller in WPR: Tribal forests more diverse, sustainable than surrounding forests

"The deer seem to be curtailing tree regeneration. They’ve decimated the understory, cover and diversity in many areas, including those state parks that banned hunting for many years," said Don Waller. "On the Indian reservations, we have lower deer densities and a different approach to managing both forests and wildlife."

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Tribal forests in Wisconsin are more diverse, sustainable

Researchers found that many of the differences between tribal and nontribal forests can be traced back to the lower density of deer on the tribal lands.

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How talking more can make you better at listening — to foreign languages

The typical foreign language class spends much of its time listening to fluent speakers, but new UW research shows that the students should spend more time talking.

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Here is how a cat can hinder children learning new words

A new study found that familiar objects more interesting to children reduced their ability to learn new words associated with novel objects.

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Defending the nest

Integrative Biology grad student Jeremy Spool spent a spring living among loons to make a fascinating discovery about how they protect their lake territories.

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In Cosmos: Leg genes give spiders segmented heads

The segmented heads of spiders and scorpions arise from the actions of a gene that in other arthropod species is responsible for creating legs. That’s the somewhat surprising finding made by two scientists, Emily Setton and Prashant Sharma from the University of Wisconsin-Madison during an investigation into the evolutionary origin of spider silk-spinning.

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Spiders and scorpions have co-opted leg genes to build their heads

New research shows that the common house spider and its arachnid relatives have dispensed with a gene involved in creating segmented heads, instead recycling leg genes to accomplish the task.

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