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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Possibility of an Organism that uses light to communicate? [on hold]

Suppose such an organism had evolved from using sound like most life we know to use different intensities, wave lengths, and hues of light to communicate. This is assuming that these creatures are as ...
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28 views

Cost of Substitution explained

I've recently come across an article that mentions "Cost of Substitution" and was wondering if someone can give me a real layman's term explanation of what that is. (Edited:) This was in relation to ...
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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 ...
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1answer
15 views

Are there multicellular isogamous species?

Are there multicellular isogamous species? Seeking through the examples of wikipedia I would tend to think that there are no multicellular isogamous species.
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Ancestral states of sex determination system

Most (maybe all?) species that reproduce sexually have either genders (anisogamy) or mating types (isogamy). There exist today many different type of sexual determination system. There is a whole ...
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What is most ancestral: isogamy or anisogamy?

Sexual reproduction can be feasible with anisogamy (gametes of different sizes i.e. genders) or isogamy (gametes of same size i.e. mating types) or with undifferentiated gametes (i.e. true random ...
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72 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = ...
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25 views

Interpreting Graph

I am studying evolutionary biology, and been presented with this graph: I am having some difficulties understand its meaning. For a start, why is time measured as a fraction of the population size? ...
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19 views

How many traits can a multivariate breeders equation handle?

The multivariate breeders equation (MBE) by Lande predicts the change in a trait $\Delta \bar z$ (response) as $\Delta \bar z = G \beta$ where $G$ is a genetic variance-covariance matrix and ...
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What do we know about the cellular structure, processes, environment, and immediate ancestors of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA)?

I am up for all scientifically sound speculations, and sources are highly welcome. I've looked into this quite a bit myself via scholar.google, the wiki article, and /r/askscience. I'm really looking ...
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Understanding the meaning of $s$ and $t$ in a population genetics equation

Sewall Wright in this article (1937) at the end of page 313 gives the equation: $$\Delta q = (s+tq)q(1-q) \space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space(1)$$ This equation is an ...
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Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without consuming other forms of life in some manner?

The title is the question. If additional specificity is needed I will add clarification here. Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without requiring the consumption (destruction) of ...
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68 views

Simulating substitution rate of neutral mutations

I am trying to computationally simulate a population based on the Wright-Fisher model I would like to get to the classic result of the neutral theory of molecular evolution that the rate of neutral ...
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1answer
37 views

Simplest Biological Organism? [duplicate]

What is the simplest biological organism from which a DNA sample has been or could be obtained? Could the resulting DNA be processed and examined in such a way that the resulting information would ...
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1answer
65 views

Evolution, What would the first plants have been like?

I am curious what the first plants are thought to have been like, what they may have evolved from, and how much earlier (or later) than animals they are thought to have moved to land, if they even ...
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30 views

Does the Jungian notion of collective unconsciousness have any legitimacy in the light of modern neurobiology and epigenetics?

Carl Jung has long ago proposed a rather controversial notion of collective unconsciousness [1, 2, 3], a form of the unconscious (that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which ...
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What is the allelic frequency at mutation-selection-drift equilibrium?

At mutation-selection equilibrium the expected frequency $f$ of a given locus is $$f ≈ \frac{\mu}{s\cdot h}$$ , where $\mu$ is the mutation rate, $s$ is the selection coefficient and $h$ is the ...
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26 views

What's the evolutionary reason behind decussation?

A bunch of stuff in the human nervous system decussates. Optical information inputs from the eyes cross over in the optical chiasm. Multiple sensory and motor pathways cross-over before ascending the ...
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39 views

Possibility of Human cloning

Techonology has evolved so much as to clone animals. But, what about human cloning? Is it really possible to create humans in lab? Or is it that technology has not advanced to that level..? Why cant ...
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2answers
96 views

are the spontaneous generation and evolution the same idea but in a different time scale?

I was in my biology class, learning the history of spontaneous generation and how this idea was discarded. I told my teacher that is the same as evolution but in a different timeline. I Argue that ...
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26 views

Calculate generations since divergence

Can the formula $\mu = k/(2t + 4Ne)$ be used to calculate the divergence time for any two species given a mutation rate, generation time and sequence divergence value?
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1answer
31 views

Somatic Mutations in meristem tissue in plants

In angiosperm, in which layer of the meristem does a new mitotic mutation occurring has chance to be found in a pollen grain or in an ovule? I also welcome some insights about non-angiosperm plants.
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Evolutionary reasoning behind redundancy of CST and RuST

According to my neuro-anatomy class, both the Corsticospinal Tract (CST) and the Rubrospinal Tract (RuST) control upper limb movement. What the evolutionary reasoning behind this redundancy and the ...
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Why don't mammals have more than 4 limbs?

Arthropods have 6 or more limbs and arthropods with 6 limbs appear to move faster than arthropods with 8 limbs so I wonder whether this might have something to do with fast and efficient locomotion. ...
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798 views

What is the evolutionary explanation for bat's echolocation [closed]

The bat's ability for echolocation is amazing (so are other the abilities of other animals). I was wondering how all of it came to be.
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1answer
31 views

Definitions of robustness and canalization

The concepts of robustness and canalization are fashionable today in the biology literature. However, I am not sure of their definitions and I am not sure either that all authors actually use the same ...
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156 views

How is menstruation not suicide in the wild?

Watch any wilderness special for more than a few minutes, and you'll notice a familiar pattern: when a predator catches the scent of blood on the wind, the hunt is on. Wounded animals make the best ...
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Why men are stronger than women? [duplicate]

Is there a possibility that human males and females used to have the same strength? That maybe it is because for a long time men have been doing the manual labour and sports and women haven't and ...
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At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

How often does chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal rearrangements? I am interested about these kind of chromosomal rearrangements that are passed on to the ...
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29 views

How likely is it that through dog breeding, tail-wagging has been disassociated with happiness?

I am not a biologist, so sorry to anybody for misinformation in this post. If I understand correctly, dogs evolved the ability to show emotions through various sounds and tail-wagging in order to ...
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2answers
97 views

Do couples having children later in life act as an evolutionary mechanism?

Ok, this may be just wild nonsense and I have to warn that my knowledge on the subject is limited. I was reading about how in some countries people choose to have children later in life. After that ...
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2answers
2k views

How and why did mammals go back to the oceans?

If I understand evolutionary biology correctly, mammals first evolved on land as small, rodent-like creatures, in a time when reptiles were dominant on land. Eventually, they diversified into the ...
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1answer
34 views

Definition of “structural underdominance”?

In Stathos and Fishman (2014), the authors refer to the concept of structural underdominance. The first time they mention it is in the first paragraph of the second page (left column) and the term is ...
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Evolutionary motivation behind number of neurons in DCMMP

I'm studying neuro-anatomy right now and I was surprised to learn that there are only three neurons along the Dorsal Column Medial Lemniscal Pathway (DMLP) which relays mechanical sensations from the ...
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102 views

What governs the size of animal bodies?

Million of years ago there lived dinosaurs up to 36 m high. About 10,000 years ago lived Machairodontinae -compared to cats today they were huge. About 400,000 years ago lived Mammuthus trogontherii: ...
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4k views

How many humans have been in my lineage? Is it almost the same for every human currently living?

If I were to count my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and so on up till, say chimps, or the most common ancestor, or whatever that suits the more accurate answer, how many humans would ...
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3answers
130 views

Why is green fur not a thing?

In most biomes on earth, and certainly in the most densely-populated, the best camouflage color or pattern for an animal would be a variant of green, so as to blend in with the leaves and grasses of ...
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1answer
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Is there an association between environmental and mutational robustness?

The robustness of a genotype is the ability of this genotype to resist (always produce the same phenotype) to various parameters such as mutations and environment. The ability of a genotype to resist ...
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Mutation-drift equilibrium and among loci variance in heterozygosity

At mutation-drift balance, the increased heterozygosity brought by new mutations is exactly equal to the loss of heterozygosity due to genetic drift. At equilibrium, the expected heterozygosity for a ...
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2answers
101 views

Why does botulinum toxin seem to be more dangerous to humans than to other mammals?

Various mammals seem to get away with eating parts of carcasses that we would prefer to not even touch, and that we assume will make us sick. Because of that, I assume botulinum toxin is more ...
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29 views

Why do spiders have a leaf at the bottom of a piece of web?

I've lately seen a lot of instances where a leaf is dangling from a piece of web coming down off a tree. What purpose/s does this serve for the spider? Is it some sort of mechanism for the spider to ...
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1answer
25 views

Regarding inherited fertility in animals

If an animal is fertile does it follow that both its parents of the same species (not necessarily the same species of the offspring)? Was it Mayer who said a fertile male and fertile female of two ...
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1answer
122 views

Fisher's Geometric Model for Dummies

Fisher's geometric model is still today one of the most important and fundamental model in evolutionary biology but it seems to me that most student in evolutionary biology don't really understand it ...
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1answer
30 views

Evolutionary support for parenting book “The happiest baby on the block”

The book by Dr Harvey Karp (MD) The Happiest Baby on the Block proposes that the duration of human gestation has evolved as a tradeoff between cranial size and development of the infant. He ...
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57 views

Can we influence evolution by teaching primates to control fire? Should we?

Most people with a strong interest in biology will have heard of Kanzi the Bonobo, the ape that has the wherewithal to collect fuel for a campfire and play pac-man. But is it conceivable to influence ...
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1answer
73 views

How closely related are two parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis?

How closely related (from the evolutional point of view) are parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis? Giardia genome is about 12 Mb and its major cellular proceses are rather simple. ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the “Spandrels” debate about?

In a former question, as a side question, I asked a clarification about the "Spandrels" paper. Being not a biologist, it was the first time I encoutered it. Subsequently I tried to collect some ...
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1answer
79 views

Why do baby mammals tend to play?

Why do babies of any mammal tend to play ? From humans to small dog pups, cubs of a lion, baby bears, etc. *I am not sure if the tag I chose is correct or not. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Evolution 15 + 15 [closed]

If I flap my hands for say, about 1hr everyday, and I teach my future children to repeat this and so on, theoretically (at least), how many generations would it take for my grand [sons ...] to be ...
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75 views

Did spiders respond to light for building webs before artificial light was invented?

I have noticed that during summer, beautiful spider colonies grow wherever a strong light is: I'm wonder whether spiders evolved to seek naturally lighted areas where they build nests (before ...