Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, migration, drift, and selection.

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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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463 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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Why has our nose evolved with the nostrils facing down?

For most animals, the whole bottom of their face sticks out and they have a snout with a mouth and nose at the end. But humans have a flat face and just a nose that sticks out. We used to have the ...
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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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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. ...
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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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65 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 ...
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60 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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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 ...
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149 views

Interlocus Contest Evolution means suicide?

I was reading Matt Ridley's "Genome" book. I am trying to understand the Interlocus Contest Evolution in his X-Y chapter. I do not understand why the X and Y chromosome would want to kill each other. ...
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82 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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118 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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84 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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Why is a slow worm not considered a snake?

Slow worms are considered lizards as opposed to snakes, both are reptiles. Now I get that there are traits that distinguish them (eye lids, ears ...). But snake species themselves vary already quite a ...
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52 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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182 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
89 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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Why do parasites sometimes kill their hosts?

It's bothered me for a while now. I understand why a parasitoid would do this, as it only temporarily requires the host, and that not all parasites kill their hosts. There seems to be no evolutionary ...
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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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138 views

What are parental antagonism & parental conflict?

I've been reading the chapter by Haig et al in The Genetics and Biology of Sexual Conflict. I think this chapter has them quite unclearly defined. Could anyone describe these two phenomenon more ...
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1answer
81 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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1answer
171 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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80 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 ...
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77 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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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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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 ...
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484 views

Are there differences in DNA between humans of today and humans from 2000 years ago?

Are there any significant differences in our genome compared to the genes of our ancestors from 1000-2000 years ago? And if there are significant differences, do they result in significant ...
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69 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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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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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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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 ...
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Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process?

Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process? Maybe in some way could it be a process of variation? Or would this idea be completely without support, if so, why? I don't mean that each case ...
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Human evolution: Where *exactly* did the first human come from, whose parents were not?

Layman here. So I have never really quite understood this facet of human evolution, (or any other for that matter), in that, I understand the evolutionary process, but I get lost on the 'border' ...
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622 views

What are the ESSs among hawks, doves, retaliators, bully and prober retaliators? [closed]

In his book "The Selfish Gene", Richard Dawkins says that retaliator emerges as an evolutionary stable strategy. But I think dove is also a kind of retaliator and so if dove increases, the hawks and ...
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Duration of selection and survival of the fittest

I feel there is a part of the theory of evolution I'm not understanding correctly or maybe I'm missing it, but would like cleared up. From what I understand, over time random mutations occur which in ...
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181 views

Hamilton's inclusive fitness approach

The underlying intuition of Hamilton's model of inclusive fitness is that we should study social behaviors from the point of view of actors -- rather than the recipients. To build his model, Hamilton ...
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90 views

How can (or did) Deinococcus radiodurans continue to evolve after developing resistance to mutation?

Deinococcus radiodurans has a remarkable ability to resist damage to its DNA due to radiation, dehydration or (to my knowledge) any other source. It keeps multiple copies of its genome and has a ...
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Homology ratio comparison between different species

I found the following homology ratio: protein coding genes of the organism with an homolog in mouse / all protein coding genes in the organism I have done this for all protein coding genes between ...
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Genotype to phenotype map and the G-matrix

Suppose I have a genotype-phenotype map defined by the matrix $\mathbf{Z}$:         The scalars $G,P$ represent the number of genotypes and traits, respectively. ...
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154 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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4k views

Why does ear wax taste sour?

Why does ear wax taste sour? I am interested in both the physiochemical mechanisms and the evolutionary reasons behind the sour taste of earwax.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
444 views

What are evolutionary implications of contraception and reduced childhood mortality rates worldwide?

I've heard the following idea this morning: Before the introduction of contraception, humans conceived quite a lot of babies (there was little to do to avoid that), but the population was kept in ...
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Is there a fundamental reason that plants cannot fix their own nitrogen?

Plants must have nitrogen to grow. According to the answer to this question, there are no plants can fix their own nitrogen (without the help of bacteria). Plants get their nitrogen in the form of ...
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Why aren't we ambidextrous?

It seems so simple that if my brain can tell my right hand to do something, then it should be able to tell equally well to the left ? This seems like a pretty major evolutionary advantage. Why haven't ...
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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 ...
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498 views

What is the relationship between radiation and evolution?

There is always a certain amount of background radiation present, for example due to ionizing radiation from the sun and other stars. Also certain materials like granite may emit relatively large ...
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57 views

Do all kind of unicellular asexual reproductions let mutations happen, resulting in evolution?

I know about fission, an unicellular asexual reproduction method, where the mother cell splits into two daughter cells. Does this kind of asexual reproductions let mutations happen, leading to much ...
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Evolution theory - roses spikes - being more bulgy doesn't give you advantage

I've seen spike, huge spike. And I thought that development of such spikes could be contrary to the evolution theory. Being „little more” spiky doesn’t give you any advantage... So those ...