Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. Major mechanisms include drift, natural selection, mutation, and gene flow (migration).

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Are domesticated animals really “more evolved,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or "more evolved" than their distinct but equivalent feline-species ...
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Coniferous trees in temperare rain forests

In temperate rainforest, the dominant plant form is often coniferous trees (source). However, coniferous trees are also the dominant plant form in a very different climate and form a different biome ...
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36 views

Deciduous trees in tropical rainforest

Some books says the dominant plant form in tropical rainforest biome is broad leaved evergreen trees. Other books say it is broad leaved evergreen trees and deciduous trees. What is the most accepted ...
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Evolution: One big population vs. many small populations

Let's say I want to evolve a bacterium that is resistant to an antibiotic. I want to do this by growing initially clonal populations of bacteria in presence of this antibiotic for a long time. I have ...
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Is there any evolutionary advantage of selection of L-amino acid over D-amino acid?

After listening to a scientific talk, I had this question that why in the natural selection process, are the L-amino acids selected over the D- form. However, we still we produce D-amino acids; ...
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What is the evolutionary purpose of white spots in nails and how can they be characterised due to Leukonychia? [on hold]

Suppose you haven't hit your nails so the white spots are due to Leukonychia. Are the discoloration i.e. the white spots due to lower porosity (less minerals absorbing) or some other factor? I ...
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20 views

Would humans eventually evolve to fight off fatal diseases if we didn't treat/vaccinate for them? [duplicate]

I am definitely pro vaccination, and the question is a bit morbid because people would die, but assuming that we didn't treat or vaccinate people for fatal diseases such as Ebola or the black death, ...
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What is Environmental Robustness? Is it different from plasticity?

Hansen (2006) in his review uses the concept of environmental robustness independently of the other concepts of robustness (at pages 139 and 140) without defining ...
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Reason why sedative drugs stem from eastern countries and stimulating drugs from western ones [closed]

I was wondering if there's a linkage between the geographic distribution of drugs and their effects. There's nicotine, caffeine and cocaine, all originating from south-america and all of them have ...
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39 views

Speciation of humans? [duplicate]

Since we homo sapiens (and all other species) are continuously evolving, are humans undergoing speciation based on our environment? OR has there been any difference across people that could say ...
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Speciation after origin of humans [closed]

I have a strong conviction that homo sapiens are not any way special in choice of nature compared to any other species. Having said that we say that we started to appear around a million year or so. ...
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Why do pregnant females still get horny? [closed]

I thought this was a good place to ask. Remembering back to when my wife was pregnant (we were both teens), I recall that she would not keep her ... hands off of me in some times. It will like she ...
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43 views

What is the origin of DNA? [closed]

Deoxyribose nucleic acid underpins most life on this earth. It seems to me that the structure of DNA is already reasonably complicated and a certain degree of evolution may have already occured rather ...
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108 views

Why do we have to exhale (or inhale) in order to speak?

Every time we speak, sing, or make any other kind of advanced noise with our throats, we exhale, or to put it that way, blow air through our throats. Why is this required? After all, speakers do not ...
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1answer
67 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
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228 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and harder and harder) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
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General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model

I would like to get suggestions for the books related to General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model etc. Specifically the mathematical treatment of these topics and concepts ...
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1answer
48 views

Duration of selection and survival of the fittest

I feel there is a part of the theory of evolution I'm not understanding correctly or maybe I'm missing it, but would like cleared up. From what I understand, over time random mutations occur which in ...
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41 views

What are the common methods to estimate additive genetic variance?

Additive genetic variance can be estimated in a number of ways, and is a key concept in evolutionary biology and quantitative genetics. What are the typical methods (experimental designs) used to ...
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1answer
36 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
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1answer
25 views

What is different between the pigment of giraffes and the pigment of flowers?

I saw this video created by Derek Muller and he says there that it is very unusual to evolutionary develop the colour of the skin without the pigment. That sounds reasonable but if so, what nutrients ...
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1answer
41 views

Why do human ears have a lower boundary for the lowest energy perceivable signal than eyes?

I am currently hearing a lecture about human machine interaction. The lecturer is not a biologist (neither am I, we are both computer scientists), but he makes some statements about biology which I ...
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How does the rate of iterations affect evolutionary outcomes? [closed]

I understand that biological creatures evolved through perhaps billions of iterations to get to where we are today. It is easy to see that the more iterations or generations, the stronger and more ...
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How can natural selection occur at species level whilst not occuring at the individual level?

The chapter by Douglas Futuyma in 'Evolution' (Losos et al 2013, Princeton) states that natural selection can occur at the species level. Futuyma states that if natural selection occurs at the species ...
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Like other animals, why humans don't have species & breeds?

Like other animals, why don't humans have species & breeds ? Even my pet dog is one type of breed, but we (humans) lack breeds & species? What is the main reason?
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1answer
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Testing monophyly from per site log-likelihoods without optimising branch lengths

How can I obtain per site log-likelihoods for a topology against an alignment without optimising branch lengths? (which software can I use to do this) Per site log-likelihoods can be used for various ...
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What are parental antagonism & parental conflict?

I've been reading the chapter by Haig et al in The Genetics and Biology of Sexual Conflict. I think this chapter has them quite unclearly defined. Could anyone describe these two phenomenon more ...
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Are there any known mutual symbiotic relationships that has more than two agents?

We are all familiar with the examples of symbiotic relationships in nature consisting of two agents, like lichen or the co-evolvement between certain birds and flowering plants. Do we know of any ...
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1answer
67 views

How does rate of evolution/innovation scale with population size?

I understand that there will be many other factors that affect rate of evolution/innovation. However, other things being equal, how will the rate of evolution vary between two populations of different ...
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1answer
123 views

Do wolves bury food like dogs?

Many breeds of domestic dogs seem to like burying food, presumably in preparation for leaner times. Assuming that dogs evolved from animals similar to the modern wolves through a mix of natural and ...
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117 views

Evolutionary reasons why you cannot tickle yourself but masturbate

There are obviously good reasons that explain why you cannot tickle yourself (see e.g. here). This got me thinking why it is possible to masturbate... Wouldn't it make more sense to not being able to ...
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670 views

Why do plants fruit?

This is a two-part question: What is the point of fruit if not to be eaten? It’s is my understanding that organisms will adapt to survive and thrive. I understand that being eaten can spread seeds, ...
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1answer
70 views

Is eating cooked food an evolved behavior or rather an intelligent one, passed down via culture?

I was just eating a rather rare steak when I started wondering whether eating foods cooked was something I would instinctively want to do if the practice hadn't been taught to me. So, is cooking food ...
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29 views

Is genetic drift necessarily deleterious?

I read that genetic drift is random variation in the relative allele frequencies of a population. This question however seems to pin genetic drift down to increasing deleterious allele ...
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50 views

Comparative leg sizes

When I was a child, my father showed me the classic essay "On Being the Right Size", J. B. S. Haldane. It talks (among other things) about how large animals need stockier legs to support their ...
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Confusion regarding niches in evolution theory

This is the definition of a niche from Crash Course: An area of the environment that requires a special set of skills or traits to extract food and reproduce. Obviously, this version of the ...
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Why don't fish groom each other?

Fish are often plagued by external parasites, which are presumably difficult for them to remove. There are well known cases where large fish come to coral reefs and allow smaller fish to pick off ...
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1answer
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Drake's Law. What is the genome-wide mutation rate and what are the estimates?

Drake's rule Drake's rule states that the genome-wide mutation rate is more or less constant across all species — from E.coli to the house sparrow. Data From what I think being Drake's original ...
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1answer
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Why did humans lose their fur?

The little amount of body hair humans have don't seem to be of much use for keeping warm. Our Simian cousins on the other hand sport thick furs. At which point during the species evolution and why ...
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1answer
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Why are the genomes of some trees so large?

For example, the current longest known genome belongs to a tree: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-largest-genome-ever-sequenced-belongs-to-a-tree I have heard that this could potentially be ...
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207 views

Why does sex last so long?

I wonder why (especially human) sex lasts longer than just a few seconds? My thought is that the shorter it takes a man to ejaculate, the lesser is the risk that he gets interrupted by a rival or a ...
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1answer
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What is the most recent well-attested common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans?

Humans and chimpanzees are related and thus have a most recent common ancestor. Of course pinning down this precise point is essentially impossible, so I'm interested in close ancestors of this most ...
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How to define “Quasifixation” in continuous approximation of finite population?

Background Many models including the famous very first models derived by Sir Ronald Fisher in his early career, assume infinite population size. In an infinite population, an allele can rise in ...
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What is the progressive evolutionary advantage that leads to flying?

As far as I understand, all life started as non-flying and flying came about by natural selection. What is the evolutionary advantageous "path" to flying? Or is there something else to explain this?
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65 views

Poisonous plants, animals, mushrooms: is this always a kind of defense?

I wonder whether developing deadly toxins in the organism's body is always or usually a defensive strategy rather than a by-product.
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Are fish and reptilian scales homologous?

Wikipedia: Fish scales are dermally derived, specifically in the mesoderm. This fact distinguishes them from reptile scales paleontologically. So aren't reptilia scales also dermally derived?
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Does sociality evolved before or after the ability of motility?

According to book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions o Evolution. (Lane, N.;2010), Motility has indeed transformed life on earth in ways that are not immediately apparent, from the ...
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1answer
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How prominent is the gene-centric view of evolution among professional researchers?

Richard Dawkins famously advocated a gene-centric (as opposed to organism-centric) viewpoint on natural selection, most notably in The Extended Phenotype. However, I have also heard "on the grapevine" ...
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What is the difference between eugenics and evolution by natural selection?

So with the working definition of Eugenics: "the aim to improve the human gene pool". What are key features that distinguish Eugenics from evolution by natural selection? I mean, besides that natural ...
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Gene duplication and subfunctionalization

I’ve been intrigued by gene duplication and want to learn more about it. I’ve read the following from here: several studies suggest that the proportion of duplicated genes retained in ...