(Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP)
What We’re Following
Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka had actually developed a sense of solidarity as minorities in a majority Buddhist country, in the years before this week’s Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 300 people. One possible motive for Sunday’s attack may be that Christianity is associated with the West—and with Sri Lanka’s colonial history, writes Emma Green. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings, alleging that they were a response to last month’s deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand. While those claims haven’t been independently verified, the announcements were made in more than just the expected English and Arabic: ISIS also issued statements in Tamil and Malayalam. The organization seems to be using regional languages—tapping into Muslim disenfranchisement on the subcontinent—as its latest recruiting tool.
Is the Cambrian explosion overhyped? The dramatic burst of diversity in the animal kingdom, which occurred about 500 million years ago, has been billed as “arguably the most important biological event after the origin of life,” but a new paper suggests that it wasn’t the singular, defining moment that scientists have long thought. New fossils show that the more complex animal traits associated with the Cambrian era—such as hard shells and skeletons—actually appeared before then, in the Ediacaran era. “The Cambrian explosion, in other words, was just one burst in the middle of a protracted fireworks display,” writes Ed Yong.