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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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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128 views

Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity?

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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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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322 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and heavier and heavier) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
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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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What did the transition from ovipary to Hemotrophic viviparity look like? [on hold]

Most evolutionary changes happened slowly over countless generations. Richard Dawkins illustrates this beautifully in Greatest Show on Earth when he describes lining a rabbit up next to all her ...
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679 views

What is meant in biology by the term “evolved”?

A student asked me this the other day and I thought that I would ask it again here. If one organism is said to be "more evolved" than another, what exactly does this mean?
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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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1answer
31 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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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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Why does human facial and head hair continue to grow?

Many people can grow extremely long head hair and facial hair. Are there evolutionary theories as to why this is the case? It seems like having long hair could be a disadvantage, and extremely long ...
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2answers
31 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
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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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How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
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2answers
61 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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158 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
292 views

Opposite results between Blomberg's K and phylogenetic signal in Phylocom (AOT)

I've been trying to test for significant phylogenetic conservatism in some plant traits. So far I used R-package picante (Blomberg's K) and AOT in Phylocom. So far these two methods yield completely ...
9
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1answer
602 views

How and when did a dedicated immune system evolve?

I have recently been doing a lot of research into the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems in humans, and mammalian laboratory models. This has led to my reading some interesting ...
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5answers
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Why are there no organisms with metal body parts, like weapons, bones, and armour? (Or are there?)

Reading this question, Why are there no wheeled animals?, I wondered why no organisms seem to make use of the tensile and other strengths of metal, as we do in metal tools and constructions. I am ...
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1answer
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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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Why do we assume that the first humans were dark-skinned?

According to the article Dark skin and blue eyes: How Europeans once looked: It is widely accepted that Man's oldest common forefather was dark skinned, and that people became more pale as they ...
3
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1answer
57 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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1answer
91 views

Examples of Vestigial Genes

I consider the existence of a broken GULO gene in humans to be the clearest evidence for human evolution - just what else is it doing there otherwise? Are there any other examples of vestigial genes ...
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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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1answer
125 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
260 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
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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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122 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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100 views

Why is iodine used for metabolic hormones?

Iodine and related biological iodine-carrying hormones are phylogenetically very old, at least according to Wikipedia. Humans use iodine as a metabolic indicator, as do axolotls and apparently most ...
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1answer
47 views

Why is an increase in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere favorable for life?

I have followed the David Attenborough series on 'First life' and heard, that an increase in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, as it took place just before the Cambrium, is generally favorable ...
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66 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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1answer
38 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 ...
5
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1answer
69 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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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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Why do plants have green leaves and not red?

I know plants are green due to chlorophyll. Surely it would be more beneficial for plants to be red than green as by being green they reflect green light and do not absorb it even though green light ...
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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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83 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?
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1answer
42 views

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
140 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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196 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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1answer
50 views

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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What evolutionary adaptations cause trees to grow tall?

I think there are some obvious costs for trees to grow tall. Carbon and other nutrients costs, maintenance cost, energy cost (for growing, to bring water (and nutrients) up to the higher leaves, ...
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1answer
66 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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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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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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1answer
59 views

How to seek for available genetic data relevant to ecology and evolution?

I had a quick look online. There seems to exist many different website of database archiving. Some data might be free of charge while some others might not be. I found things such as Dryad, TreeBase, ...
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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
80 views

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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Why do we find some things disgusting and others delicious?

For example, why do I love paprika while my girlfriend hates it? Why do I find broccoli disgusting and she adores it? As humans, there are things we'd all agree on being awful, like rotten meat, for ...