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 abiogenesis and evolution considered unrelated?

When a discussion about evolution comes across abiogenesis - the typical reaction is that they are unrelated (see the headline at http://www.factsnotfantasy.com/abiogenesis.php). It seems to be ...
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19 views

How do bumblebees and hornets avoid the negative effects of inbreeding?

I just learned that all hornets and bumblebees except for the queen die at the end of the year and the queen starts a new nest in spring. But that means the next generation of queens have only ...
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29 views

What would be required to evolve an animal (non-human) brain to obtain human-level cognition?

Could any animal subject to the right conditions evolve human-level intelligence? Suppose that an artificial intelligence (AI) decided to artificially evolve a population of octopus (don't ask why, ...
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41 views

Is there a name for the evolutionary loss of vestigial structures?

Consider a biological structure which no longer benefits an organism, such as the eyes of an organism whose population now lives in total darkness. I can think of three reasons why such a structure ...
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792 views

Term for trait that is advantageous to a population only as long as it is rare

I remember reading about a concept—in evolutionary biology or natural selection, I think—whereby a particular trait is advantageous to the population or species but only so long as that trait is only ...
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65 views

Epicanthic fold (eye)

What evolutionary advantage does the epicanthic (eye) fold provide? I know that the incidence of epicanthic folds is high in Central, East, and South East Asian populations, Mongolians, Inuit, etc. ...
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44 views

Can pandas hunt for meat?

Recently, I learned that pandas have a carnivore's digestive system but that it exists almost exclusively as a herbivore. If pandas hunted would they be able to find meat in their environment? Can't ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the point at which abiogenesis is complete and evolution begins? [on hold]

Is the minimum criterion for life a single cell? It seems that self-replicating RNA is not enough, but I don't know. What would be the most basic cell that could fit this criterion and what cells ...
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46 views

How did the endoplasmic reticulum come to be?

Organelles are sub-cellular compartments in cells. However prokaryotes don't use organelles to organise their intracellular space. Evolutionarily, there is evidence that mitochondria and ...
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32 views

Evolution of Wheat

In the evolution of wheat, there are two instances of chromosomal doubling, when Emmer wheat Triticum turgidum was formed from Einkorn wheat, and when Triticum aestivum was formed from Emmer wheat. ...
3
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67 views

Why do cows (and other hooved animals) need a hierarchy?

Clearly numerous animals have a hierarchy - hereditary one. For example, I understand zebras have a pecking order, and must map this hierarchy from highest to first in line and lowest to last in line ...
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55 views

Were we able to create vitamin B12 in past?

All herbivores produce vitamin B12 de novo. Gorillas, for example, are "vegans" so I suppose some human ancestor was also herbivore. Have we ever been B12 self-producers? If so, why have we lost that ...
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Analytical Methods for Estimating Probability of Fixation

The probability of fixation $P$ of an allele is an very important measure and there exists several solutions to estimate this probability. Each method has its own assumptions and it is often hard to ...
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3answers
62 views

how to find accurately the closest species to my plant species?

I'm working on some bioinformatic analysis of a non-model woody plant within the family with least information. So, I'm looking for a closest species to my plant. Any suggestion would be highly ...
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2answers
43 views

Terminology for inefficacy of selection on recessive alleles

I am wondering is there some proper terminology which is used to say that deleterious recessive alleles might be able to hide, reducing the the efficacy of selection, in diploid organisms/chromosomes. ...
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54 views

Would it be more genetically efficient to have shorter lifespans?

If, for example, humans had an average lifespan of, say, 30 years, and we reached sexual maturity at age 10, then we could "evolve" more quickly and theoretically "weed-out" more genetic diseases ...
2
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41 views

Very introductory online source of information in evolutionary biology

We receive quite a lot of questions from layman in evolutionary biology in this site that are sometimes difficult to answer just because there is way too much to say. Why don't human keep evolving? is ...
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62 views

Why don't we keep evolving until we are super-human? [duplicate]

Humans (homo sapiens) have been on the earth for thousands of generations, and we have kept evolving throughout that time. Why don't we just keep evolving so that, let's say, we live for an average of ...
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62 views

Evolutionarily, why do male rats and horses lack nipples?

Developmentally male rats don't have nipples because (reddit) Testosterone release in the fetal male rat happens before the stage of mammogenesis where the teat is formed whereas other species ...
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1answer
61 views

History: Building a “Phylogenetic network” of famous evolutionary biologists [closed]

Seems like many of the famous evolutionary biologists are somehow related to each others. For example (and I might be mistaken), Ronald A. Fisher was mentored by a descendent of Charles Darwin. Joe ...
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2answers
41 views

How to compute the regression of individual fitness on individual phenotype

Consider a population structured in groups of two individuals. Individuals' interactions follow an additive prisoner's dilemma: \begin{array}{c |c |c|} & C & D \\ \hline \text{Cooperate (} C ...
2
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1answer
57 views

Are there any examples of how to apply evolutionary models?

Apologies if this question it too open-ended; evolutionary biology is not my primary field. I have been reading a lot about the use of statistical mechanics in analyzing evolutionary dynamics. As an ...
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39 views

Basic Modelling in Quantitative Genetics

I am pretty bad in thinking quantitative genetics models. I am trying to get some basic understanding of modelling the evolution of a quantitative trait. I am therefore asking for help to analyze a ...
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43 views

Does embryonic development mimic (partly at least) the evolution of organisms on earth?

What do we know about the forces/mechanisms which lead to this seemingly "fast forward" evolution stages of the embryo? What are the theories dealing with this idea?
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35 views

Evolution of dominance of alleles

Can someone tell me where can I find detailed text about mechanisms of evolution of dominance? Or, if it is possible, I would be grateful if someone will tell me about them here.
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44 views

Similarity between the human genome and archea genome in deep sea hydrothermal vents?

I'm trying to find some reference that shows what percentage of the human genome is similar to some organism from the domain Archea that lives near or on deep sea hydrothermal vents. Can someone ...
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72 views

Any evolutionary explanation for human blood groups?

What is the explanation of people having blood types from an evolutionary perspective?
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94 views

Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
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50 views

Can we make a rough estimate of the number of generations since the origin of life?

According to what we've learnt : we can approximate the number of generations since the first human pretty much like us (depending what / who we talk about). we have an idea of the series of life ...
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49 views

Why can we control our breath rate but not our heart rate? [closed]

Even though we cannot survive for more than few minutes if we stop breathing or if our heart stops, why is it so that our heart beat is controlled involuntarily while breathing can be voluntarily ...
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1answer
36 views

How do minute changes in an organism, as a result of evolution, get carried over to next generation

Theory of evolution states that random variations in organisms occur to better suit their surroundings. We take for example a bacteria's flagella. There's a bacteria who has a tube kind of structure ...
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1answer
70 views

Woodpecker pecking, an effective evolution? [closed]

I was sitting out on my balcony earlier and saw a woodpecker land on a tree nearby. It began pecking at the tree, and did so about five times, in intervals of about four pecks each time, before ...
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0answers
11 views

What is the probability of fixation for a mutant under fluctuating selection?

Here is an answer which explain how one can model the frequency of an allele that is under fluctuating selection (selection that varies through time). Not, thinking about fluctuating selection, there ...
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38 views

Has a new functional structure ever been observed arising spontaneously?

Have we ever observed a new functional biological structure arising spontaneously such as a new functional organ (sensory or otherwise. such as tracing some creature in the past few hundred years ...
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59 views

Modeling inclusive fitness

Consider a population of two altruist with coefficient of relatedness $r$. The average inclusive fitness of this population will be $w_{0} + br -c$. Like in this example, assignment of inclusive ...
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54 views

Do we instinctially interpret birdsongs as a sign that there are no predators present?

I was outside today thinking how nice it was to hear the birds back from winter when I started thinking about the fact that we like bird song. It makes us happy in a very basic level, the sort of ...
3
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1answer
48 views

Why do spiders make their web near the ceiling and near a light source?

Why do spiders make their webs near the ceiling and near light sources ? Is their an advantage for spiders in doing that? For example do they catch more insects when their web is near a light source ...
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403 views

Did cats evolve from monkeys ? or vice versa?

Did cats evolve from monkeys ? or vice versa ? How similar are the genes of cats and monkeys ? What is the proof that they are related or that they are not related ? Most monkeys climb in trees and ...
5
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2answers
988 views

What has caused life to choose this unfathomably tiny subset of all possible proteins?

I wonder why life uses the particular proteins that it does, about 10^6 different proteins, I think? Evolution cannot explain it because the number of possible proteins is far far too large to ever ...
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2answers
36 views

Comparative Genomics

Are orthologs and paralogs examples of conserved genes? Orthologs are the genes or DNA that is present in 2 different species, having once been present in a common ancestor. It comes about by a ...
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33 views

A non human adaptive behaviour with a spandrel

Is there any adaptive behaviour in non humans which, when it is functioning as it was selected to do, creates a spandrel behaviour? In evolutionary biology, a spandrel is a phenotypic ...
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32 views

Why do plants produce so many hybrids as a kingdom?

Why do plants produce so many hybrids? I have read that they are the largest kingdom of organisms to do so. Does this have something to do with polyploidy events?
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Are there single-celled organisms that have evolved from multi-cellular ones?

I'm reading this paper about transmissible cancer cells in clams (Metzger et al. 2015) and I was wondering if there are any single-cellular organisms that are around today that are suspected as having ...
2
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1answer
85 views

Before Evolution was proposed by Charles Darwin, what were the leading secular theories to explain how life developed? [closed]

Outside of evolution, what were the leading scientific schools of thought that Charles Darwin contented with when he published his evolution theory as way of natural selection in 1859?
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26 views

Why do naked mole rats live in colonies with a queen?

What was the evolutionary advantage in having queens? Is it because the ones that had queen like tendencies in the new environment had kids that cooperated better giving higher chance of survival of ...
3
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1answer
36 views

Richard Goldschmidt's “systemic mutations”?

[TLDR] I dont understand the fault people had/have with Richard Goldscmidt's concept of systemic mutations [/TLDR] As a preface, I am a undergrad biology student, so sorry if this is a "Stupid ...
3
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1answer
55 views

The selective pressure of contraceptives

Does it seem probable that the existence of contraceptives (which has reduced human reproduction to below survival-level in many populations) will be a completely new selective pressure on human ...
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32 views

Selection Pressure on Orca Whale Coloration

What is the proposed selection pressure that leads to the distinctive coloration of Orca whales? I can find nothing in the literature.
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101 views

Why do women live longer than men?

According to Wikipedia and many other sources, women live substancially longer than men (over 5 years in the U.S.). Men can reproduce for much longer than women. So longer living men would have the ...
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88 views

Differences between Gradualism and Uniformitarianism

From what I understand, gradualism is the idea that small changes affect species over time. Uniformitarianism argues that the same processes that occurred in the past are the same as those in the ...