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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Why are lions the only social cats?

We know that almost all cats are solitary. How did the Lions end up social animals? Do we have an explanatory evolutionary path describing how the Lions became social while the rest of the felines ...
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Diversity within and between allelic classes?

I am reading this paper. They talk about diversity within and between allelic classes. Nucleotide diversities ($π$) at each neutral site were estimated from the mean of $2 \sum z_t (1-z_t)$, over ...
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50 views

Why does the number of mutations per individuals follow a Poisson distribution?

I was reading this review. On page 11, left column, first paragraph, one can read: [..] there is a Poisson distribution of the equilibrium number of mutations per individual, if fitness effects ...
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2answers
88 views

Driving force for speciation for millions of species today

I would like to know if speciation really occurs (trans-speciation). Have we had enough time for millions of species? A creationist argument is that the slow changes in traits in organisms, taking ...
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1answer
53 views

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain?

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain in humans, instead of elsewhere in the body? Why would this be an evolutionary beneficial adaptation?
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64 views

Is there a schema for how human behavior is genetically determined?

It seem one can distinguish three different kinds of genetic determinism of common patterns of human behavior: behavior that is directly wired into our nervous system, e.g. face-related mirror ...
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1answer
34 views

What is variation in Speciation

I read a lot about speciation. To my knowledge, A species is often defined as a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature and produce fertile offspring. Speciation is a ...
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3answers
79 views

Why are sight and sound prerequisites for intelligence?

Edward O. Wilson, in The Diversity of Life wrote (emphasis mine): Ninety-nine percent of the animals find their way by chemical trails. […] Animals are masters of this chemical channel, ...
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There aren't any animals like hornets that hunt large prey (like a rabbit, or even up to a deer), right? Why not?

There aren't any eusocial animals (hives of wasps, ants, termites, etc) that hunt large prey, are there? I'm thinking prey in the size range of, say, a rabbit, or even a deer. I can't see a rabbit ...
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Why are there no complex hermaphrodite land animals? [closed]

The title says it all. I know that 'complex' is a pretty ambiguous term to use, but I can't think of a more scientific term/definition for my meaning. I can't think of any large (larger then a small ...
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30 views

What form of reproduction did the first land animals use?

What form of reproduction did the first animals on land use*? Were they hermaphrodites, or did they have male and female sexes? [Is there a proper term for sexual separation in a species?] Were any ...
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70 views

Why is there a seeming dichotomy between mobility and photosynthesis?

At least among more complex organisms, I cannot think of any examples of highly mobile species (like animals) that also incorporate photosynthesis. Perhaps there are examples that I'm unaware of, but ...
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Wolbachia - cytoplasmic incompatibility

I read that cytoplasmic incompatibility in Wolbachia occurs when wolbachia-infected male insects mate with wolbachia-free female insects and produce non-viable offspring. By contrast, ...
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16 views

What chordata evolve first limb

I try to search when and what specie develop first bone limb. I also want to know when second pair develop. And first pair was front or back one? And why it stop only at 2 pairs. Are there any fish ...
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1answer
43 views

why do marine organisms orient with their bellies facing downwards?

why do marine organisms orient with their bellies facing downwards (like most creatures) given that they have relatively fewer constraints on their orientations than land or air organisms?
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25 views

Name/Examples of Traits whose benefit is non-obvious and/or which evolve despite apparent mal-adaptivness?

I'm a graduate student in cognitive science doing work on people's explanations and learning, particularly having to do with natural selection. Often, students misunderstand natural selection as a ...
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37 views

Saline solution for animals

A popular "well-known fact" is that all creatures on Earth consist mostly of water (i.e. H2O). Indeed, a liquid called "normal saline solution" is just a solution of 0.9% sodium chloride in distilled ...
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Why does bacillus thuringiensis produce bt toxin?

Background : B.thuringiensis produces an inactive crystalline toxin during sporulation which when ingested by an insect, gets activated and causes pore formation in gut , subsequently leading to death ...
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56 views

Where do most mutations come from, mitosis or meiosis?

According to this (old) paper there are 10 times more mutations during meiosis than during mitosis. One reason for that is that recombination often causes replication error and therefore mutations. ...
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27 views

Understanding F-statistics in population genetics

I am reading a classical Weir and Cockerham 1984 paper about Fst estimation. At the beginning (first page, right column), they define 3 statistics. $F$ is the correlation of genes within individuals ...
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1answer
127 views

Are there any theories why such an imbalance in chirality of molluscs?

Most gastropods exhibit sinistral (right hand) winding of their shells. But very few species are anti sinistral. Have there been any theories as to why such a great difference?
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39 views

Evolution of the Redundancy of the Genetic Code

In short Looking at the genetic code, it appears that most redundancy is on the third letter rather than on the first or the second letter of the codon. Why has it evolved this way? Longer version ...
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3answers
73 views

What fraction of sites are expected to be polymorphic?

Question Consider a very long (eventually infinite) DNA sequence of neutral sites. Consider a panmictic population of constant size $N$ with a per site mutation rate of $\mu$ where all individuals ...
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116 views

Do butterflies pass over migration patterns to their offspring?

So, earlier, I read online (http://io9.com/butterflies-remember-a-mountain-that-hasnt-existed-for-509321799) that Monarch butterflies veer east during their southward migration to avoid a mountain ...
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1answer
49 views

How does chromosome fusion get fixed in the population?

It's well known that one of human chromosomes is the result of fusion between two chromosomes in a primate ancestor. If we put anthropocentrism aside, it becomes clear that fusion events happened a ...
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2answers
67 views

Evolution of insects, spiders and jellyfish

Well we all learned at school the classic evolutionarily theory ...
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1answer
45 views

Forward versus backward numerical simulations in population genetics

My question is closely related to this post. There are a number of existing platforms to perform numerical individual-based simulation in populations genetics. An almost exhaustive list of such ...
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2answers
175 views

Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity? [closed]

Are humans more attracted to people from their own ethnic groups? I ask this because most of the time people have relationships with people of their own ethnicity, and I wonder if it's purely social, ...
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1answer
24 views

If a trait does not appear to be advantageous to organism, why does the organism have it? [duplicate]

Why do organisms have some traits that do not appear to have any evolutionary advantage?
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31 views

Why do human have continuously-growing hair on their head? [duplicate]

Why do hair continuously grow on human heads, while the same doesn't happen on other parts of the human body? Where there are hair, they only usually grow to a fixed length; but they seem to have no ...
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5answers
3k views

If a trait would be advantageous to an organism, why hasn't it evolved?

If a trait would be advantageous to an organism then why hasn't it evolved yet? Conversely, if a trait is not advantageous or mildly disadvantageous, why does it exist? In other words why does ...
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1answer
39 views

System biology and evolution: Book-recommendations

I have relatively good knowledge in evolutionary biology and in population genetics. I am getting more and more interested in the evolution of ... genetic developmental processes gene interactions ...
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44 views

How to understand relatedness in an infinite island model?

My understanding is that the relatedness coefficient in kin selection models measures positive assortment. That is, altruism is more likely to evolve if altruists tend to interact with other ...
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2answers
32 views

Is there a name for this phenomenon described in “Phylogenies and the Comparative Method”?

The figures below are from Felsenstein's paper "Phylogenies and the Comparative Method". I was wondering if there was a specific name for this effect where there is an apparant correlation that is ...
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1answer
41 views

Altruism in viscous (asexual) populations

The viscosity of a population is the tendency of offspring to remain near their place of birth. Taylor 1992 ("Altruism in viscous populations") provides a model to study how viscosity affects the ...
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64 views

Characters do not make the genus, but the genus gives the characters?

In his Origin of species, in the chapter entitled 'Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs', Darwin, speaking of the nature of classification systems of living ...
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2answers
187 views

Why don't mosquitoes evolve towards muting themselves?

Quite certainly, muted mosquitoes would be much more effective as far as their blood-sucking pursuits are concerned, since mosquito sound is predominantly responsible for sealing their fate (between ...
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1answer
42 views

What is a selectively neutral genotypic change?

I am reading the paper "Neutral evolution of mutational robustness". Because I am new to neutral evolution, I have a few questions. Firstly, from my understanding, genotypic neutrality means the ...
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1answer
135 views

Sequence evolution simulation tool

I'm looking for a tool to simulate sequence evolution given a specific mutation model and birth-death model. I'm aware of tools and packages like INDELible, Seq-Gen and PhyloSim, but they simulate ...
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1answer
131 views

Are there examples of now-living species where one is descended from the other?

I'm not a biology person so please forgive me if this question is formulated badly :) I'm curious. Are there any species that has an ancestor species that is still alive today?
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1answer
39 views

Independent contrasts with non-homologous traits

I have morphometric measurements for a trait across various animal taxa, and would like to study the relationship between the size of this trait, and the animals' body size. In theory, I can account ...
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1answer
72 views

How are behaviors genetically coded in animals?

I am curious as to how complex behavior is passed down genetically? For example, how is the building of a web genetically coded in a spider? And how is the complex behavior of constricting prey coded ...
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48 views

Differing number of “things” in mammals [closed]

I'm not a biology expert, but I have often wondered about the following facts of life: All mammals have precisely 5 fingers on each of our 4 extremities. Granted, some may not be seen, but the bone ...
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1answer
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Why is the gene regulation in eukaryotic cells needs multiple level of control than in prokaryotic cells?

That "eukaryotic cells are more complex" and "compartmentalized" are used to justify the need of more level of control of gene expression. I get the basic idea but can't convince myself why complexity ...
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4answers
154 views

Why don't most animals have “heads” in the middle of their bodies? [closed]

For example, humans. It would seem like, to me, if our brains and eyes, ears, etc. were situated in our stomach area they would be more protected from harm and more central than up at the top in and ...
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0answers
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Are amantadine and rimantadine MOAs unknown to evolution?

Are any natural (human or otherwise) antiviral mechanisms similar to the antiviral mechanisms of amantadine and rimantadine, or are these mechanisms undiscovered by evolution? Are drug researchers ...
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Queller's 1985 version of Hamilton's rule

Queller 1985 ("Kinship, reciprocity and synergism in the evolution of social behavior") provides a generalization of Hamilton's rule that allows for non-additivity. To accomplish that, Queller writes ...
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1answer
136 views

Do babies resemble their father?

An often heard theory is that newborns and babies resemble the father more than the mother, a theory apparently ignited by a Nature paper by Christenfeld and Hill (1995). Figure 1 shows one of the ...
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2answers
59 views

What ways are there to determine how big genera are?

I want to look at genera as a whole, across the animal kingdom to determine the range of sizes of genera. I have examined species richness and genetic diversity (pairwise distance from sequence data ...
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2answers
85 views

How is genetic speciation defined?

What determines speciation at a molecular level? At what point does a scientist determine two lineages are different enough to be considered separate species? Does it have a margin of error?