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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How to get smallest subtree containing a set of nodes from BioPhylo?

I'm testing out various phylogenetic libraries in Python. I want to read in a Newick tree, then, given a list of taxa, generate the smallest tree that contains them all. This task is quite simple and ...
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236 views

Variations in Genome Sizes

Why is there wide variation in genome size amongst groups of protists, insects, amphibians and plants, but less variation within groups of mammals and reptiles?
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249 views

Are there any 6 limbed reptile fossils?

Were any 6 armed "tetrapod" fossils ever found? I've seen some lobe finned fish with two sets of shoulders in an evolutionary bio book... I'm curious because I'd like 4 limbed and 2 winged dragons to ...
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51 views

Natural selection and the Galapagos Islands [closed]

Woodpeckers found on the South American mainland are able to peck insects from the bark of trees. Would the woodpecker finch have been able to survive if woodpeckers had found their way to the ...
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101 views

How animals maintain their body shape after development to maturity?

I've recently read a book on evolutionary-developmental biology for laymen, and it described how a fetus is progressively divided into more refined zones of genetic activity. These zones, kinda like ...
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4k views

Did animals evolve from plants?

Did animals evolve from plants? Did animals' ancestors have chloroplasts in their cells?
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111 views

How did viruses learn to utilize the workings of a cell?

This is my first post here, so excuse me for its simplicity. Viruses can infiltrate a cell, overtake it and multiply. It has projecting fibers whose ends are shaped as kind of a "key" to a mobile ...
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1answer
435 views

Molecular Evolution: Mrbayes never stops?

When I use my own data to build Bayesian phylogenetic trees using the software Mrbayes, after many generations, it never reaches stopping status (namely, the average standard deviation of split ...
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61 views

What does the evidence suggest about how Neanderthals became extinct?

According to "Neanderthals: Facts About Our Extinct Human Relatives" (Szalay, 2013), Neanderthals dominated Europe during the last Ice Age, but may have died out before the arrival of Homo Sapiens ...
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229 views

evolutionary reason behind sharing the same path for food and air?

What is the evolutionary reason behind sharing the same path for food and air? For example, we have a nose and lungs, yet they are linked by the pharynx, which is shared with the mouth and ...
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2answers
87 views

Why can't cell division happen the other way around?

Mitosis in eukaryotes happen in this order: DNA replicates and then the cell divides. Why doesn't it happen in reverse order (i.e., cell divides and then replicates the DNA)? I am talking about ...
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1answer
509 views

Is there any advantage of having a mitochondria for aerobic respiration?

If we consider the pathway of breakdown of glucose which includes glycolysis, the citric acid cycle and the electron transport chain, all these processes takes place in some prokaryotes and ...
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210 views

I think evolution has goal [closed]

Richard Dawkins says evolution doesn't have any goal. But I think evolution has one. At the end evolution creates intelligent being. If we find another earth like planet evolution sould have the same ...
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170 views

Are biological systems engineered? They are often reverse engineered at a molecular level!!

Understanding biological systems, molecular biologists need to “reverse engineer” them. Is this evidence that the systems were engineered to begin with?
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62 views

Is there any definition of complexity about gene and protein according their function?

Sorry for such a question,if it is too naive. Is there any definition of complexity about gene and protein according their function?If so,what is the relation between them?
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1answer
107 views

Was life less colorful before color vision evolved?

According to Wikipedia, we know that color-vision photopigments appeared in the common ancestors of tetrapods and fish at least 360 MY ago. Would life have been less colorful before the evolution of ...
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1answer
39 views

Estimation of number of species at an earlier time

The estimated number of species on Earth, as reported in this article is around 8.7 million. I am fascinated by how nature produces such a wide variety of species. As per my understanding, many ...
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581 views

Smallest unit on which selection can act

Traditionally, the individual was considered to be the smallest unit on which Natural Selection (NS) acts. Today, we usually consider the gene as being the unit of NS. Of course, we should also ...
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3answers
443 views

Is there variation of AT/CG ratio along species?

Chargaff's rules say that the number of Adenine of the number of Thymine in a genome are equal (nA=nT) and similarly nC=nG. This makes obvious sense knowing that C binds to G and A to T. But what ...
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4answers
123 views

How did the activities of protocells become inheritable?

I have learned that first a protocell came to exist and its characteristics came to be passed on by genetic material. So how come genes for all the activities come to incorporate into genetic ...
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1answer
249 views

Does a fully-resolved phylogenetic tree have to be dichotomous?

I read that wherever there is polytomy there is an unresolved pattern of divergence. I don't understand why this is so. When divergence takes place, is it necessary that there will be division into ...
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Is it the case that all changes in phenotype during life are not inheritable?

This came up in a talk with a friend. I wanted to clear this doubt. I've read about it before and did again after her remark (my thoughts didn't change: her concept is Lamarck's, not Darwin's), but ...
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1answer
99 views

Why can't we propose a solid theory regarding origin of life?

What information is greatly lacking which does not allow us to propose a solid theory for origin of life ?
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1k views

What is the evolutionary reason behind the fragility of teeth?

Almost all organs in the human body have a rather large threshold within which the organ or tissue is capable of repairing itself using materials supplied by the body, whether it's made from organic ...
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290 views

Structure of fitness landscapes in the NK model

The NK model of rugged fitness landscapes consists of $N$ sites where fitness contribution of each site depends on its state $\{0,1\}$ and is epistatically affected by $K$ other sites. When defining ...
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216 views

Is local equilibrium a reasonable assumption for evolutionary processes?

Whenever I look at discussions of fitness landscapes (in particular, Kauffman's NK model) the questions tend to resemble: The population is at a local equilibrium, but another equilibrium of ...
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2answers
310 views

How can fruit flies and mice share the same gene that says to build an eye if they evolved separately?

I saw a documentary where they inserted the gene of a mouse that basically is the starting "build an eye" command into a fruit fly, and a fruit fly eye grew. My question is, if eyes of different types ...
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How did specialized nerve-based behaviors emerge in organisms? [closed]

There are quite a lot of diversity in behaviors of animals and lesser organisms, like mating, hunting, feeding, hiding and avoiding predators. At the same time I know that many hormones like ...
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587 views

Why did the urinary bladder evolve?

Sure it's convenient to decide when to urinate but not essential for survival or reproduction, as I understand. But just convenience is not a drive for evolution. Does the bladder serve any essential ...
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234 views

Does evolution destroy functional sequences much faster than it creates them in any large-genome animal with low reproductive rates?

Recently I have found myself in a discussion with a guy that isn't a creationist, but denies evolution. He cites several studies that show problems like this one, but I do not have the knowledge to ...
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Why did life not evolve to use radio?

We use electromagnetic communication everywhere these days. Cell phones, wifi, old-school radio transmissions, television, deep space communication, etc. I'm curious about some of the possible ...
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3answers
381 views

Why people like to see pornographic scenes, but do not feel the same about eating scenes?

This question may seem funny, but I think biology must have good answers. I think no more explanation is needed. I really thought about this and searched for an answer, but there is nothing yet. If ...
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189 views

Are there natural selection experiments that quantitatively agree with theoretical modeling?

Has anyone ever conducted an evolution experiment and quantitatively compared it to theory? For example, has anyone ever put bacteria in a million petri dishes filled with antibiotics and calculated ...
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1answer
143 views

Why are some fungi poisonous?

There are many poisonous fungi in nature. For example Amanita Phalloides. What reasons could a fungus need poison for? Some species, like venomous snakes, use poison to kill other species as prey. ...
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426 views

Has there been any observation of species adapting the evolution process?

I am very interested in the evolution of the evolution process itself. There are of course a lot of things that influence how evolution will work, but for this question, I am interested in things that ...
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305 views

How can sex ratios remain Fisherian (1:1) in species where only the dominant male gets to mate

In certain species only the dominant male gets to mate (or given strong preference), and yet the sex ratio remains 1:1. (I'm thinking in particular of gorillas). How does this happen? It doesn't seem ...
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2answers
196 views

Why did Fair Meiosis evolve?

How and why did Fair Meiosis evolve? I can hardly think that it provided a fitness advantage to the individual carrying the mutation. Why would it? Or did it evolve through lineage selection? Or was ...
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2answers
256 views

Why are there so many medicinal plants?

Here is wikipedia page containing a list of plants used in herbal medicine. One might first want to argue that many of them actually do not have any medicinal/beneficial effect on heatlth. I think we ...
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How does Artificial Selection work?

As far as I know for evolution to work mutations are necessary. Mutations are the raw material on which natural selection works. But mutations are always completely random and human beings have no ...
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The evolution of dogs through domestication and artificial selection

I am currently reading Richard Dawkins's book 'The Greatest Show On Earth: The proof for evolution' and in the second chapter he talks very much about the evolution of dogs. He says centuries ago ...
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88 views

Randomness in living systems

The point of my question is not to talk about events that are uncontrolled by living organisms. My question is about controlled randomness, or I'd like to say adaptive random process. Process that are ...
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364 views

Why Didn't Evolution Cause the Human Body to become Streamlined?

If streamlining makes movement/locomotion quicker and easier, why didn't the apes evolve into life-forms that had streamlined bodies (much like fish)?
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What is the Edward O. Wilson fuss about?

I have just read this article on E. O. Wilson and I don't understand what the difference is between what he is arguing and "standard" natural selection. I read "the extended phenotype" some years ago ...
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How does “be altruist to those who are similar to you” evolve?

There are many cases when people commit altruism. One is relationship. I am willing to die for 2 of my children or 8 nieces, say an evolutionary psychologist. Another is reciprocal altruism, which is ...
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199 views

What evolutionary pressures pushed Galápagos tortoises to mature so slowly and live so long?

I read that they take up to 40 years (in the wild) to reach the age of reproduction and are thought to live over 100 years, with one in captivity reaching over 170 years. Can someone explain in ...
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126 views

Origin of human intelligence and thought

I've been debating this topic with a friend of mine and we can't get to a common answer. She argues that we don't descend from any Chimpanzee or Orangutan because, if we did, they would also have the ...
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71 views

Are genes associated with obesity selected for?

I've read that there are several SNPs associated with increased risk of clinical or morbid obesity. I was wondering if there is any evidence that these are under positive selection. Would you expect ...
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Would it be possible/plausible for a type of spider to fly by weaving web between it's legs to create bat-like wings?

I've been thinking about this lately. Would it be possible for a type of spider to gain the ability to fly freely by weaving its web between it's legs and creating wings much like those of a bat? Is ...
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1k views

How did this spider evolve to mimic exactly a human face and arms?

So I came across something terribly amazing today, that is, a video showing this species of peacock-spider, that literally, transforms into a human face waving his arms about. What could have ...
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Systematic difference of diversity between sister taxa?

When looking broadly at the tree of life, my feeling is that, after a divergence there is almost systematically one taxon that speciates way more than the other. (There will have some approximations ...