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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Conservation Genetics - Book recommendations

Can you please give me some advice for a book in (evolutionary) conservation genetics that offers an in-depth review of the mathematical formulations used in this field. I read the book Evolutionary ...
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116 views

What is doubling of genetic material invented in flowering plants?

David Attenborough in his Kingdom of Plants 3D said, that flowering plants made two inventions: (1) doubling of genetic material and (2) symbiosis with animals. What was meant by "doubling of genetic ...
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608 views

Are there genetic similarity between humans and pigs that don't exist in chimps?

Chimps are our closer relative. Any genetic similarity between humans and chimps must exist on the common ancestor. Pig branch out sooner. So, any genetic similarity between humans and pigs must be ...
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524 views

Why are urban birds still scared of humans?

I understand that animals are naturally scared of humans because we basically slaughtered every living thing we found in our way for millennia. How long does it take for them to genetically 'forget' ...
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526 views

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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182 views

What is the minimum eye?

What is the minimum eye which confers some evolutionary advantage? By minimum I mean anything less than this has no advantage whatsoever and therefore is not favored by natural selection. By eye, I ...
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146 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 ...
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188 views

Book recommendations for algorithms used in evolutionary biology

Do you have recommendations for a book that presents the different algorithm used in theoretical evolutionary biology? I don't mean evolutionary or genetic algorithms (otherwise this question would ...
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1answer
214 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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92 views

Evolution after the development of sexual reproduction

My understanding of evolution is that genetic mutation occurs in individual members of a species, and they become a new species. Isn't a definition of species a group of genetically similar organisms ...
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75 views

Why do Lapidaria margaretae look like stones?

Previous Research I stumbled across a trending reddit post "Lapidaria margaretae looks like stones" (as of 3rd Februrary 2015); but I could not find discussions as to reasons behind why. Question/s ...
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181 views

On evolution statistics [closed]

This basic evolution theory question has been haunting me since childhood and I'm kind of embarrassed that I can't explain it yet: Consider a butterfly. It's wings have evolved to look like the eyes ...
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1k views

What is the difference between these terms: clade, monophyletic group and taxon?

Wikipedia definitions for these terms are pretty similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monophyletic_group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxon They sound like the ...
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487 views

How did the first sexual animal come to exist? [closed]

I am more or less familiar with the evolution theory based on mutations. Now, starting with a nonsexual being, how did the first organism that reproduces sexually come to exist.
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141 views

Agony, Hydrophobia and viruses in the light of evolutionary principles

I'm undergraduate physics student, but I've always been interested in biology. So I have a couple of questions about an application of the evolutionary principles to practice. Agony as the last ...
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73 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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127 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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1answer
110 views

“selective pressure” or “selection pressure”?

Editing a manuscript of mine, a co-author changes "selection pressure" to "selective pressure". Are those two terms interchangeable? Or are there subtle differences that I'm not aware of? The ...
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45 views

Definition of Linkage Desiquilibrium (LD)

According to wiki, linkage disequilibrium $D$ equals $$D = x_{11} - p_1\cdot q_1$$ where: $$ \begin{matrix} \text{Haplotype} & \text{Frequency}\\ A_1B_1 & x_{11}\\ ...
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877 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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64 views

Effective population size when the population sizes varies from season to season

Let's think of a species which has four generations per year and which population size changes from season to season so that the population size is 100 in summer, 200 in spring, 50 in autumn and 20 in ...
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68 views

What evidence do we have to derive a rate of evolution?

When analyzing how the human species evolved and will continue to evolve over time, what evidence and tools (theory/models) do we have available to derive the rate at which this happens? Is it even ...
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1answer
69 views

Indestructible Super Shrimp

How are shrimp and other animals able to not be crushed by the 1000x greater pressure at the bottom on the Mariana trench? Wiki says the trench is home to "large living creatures such as a sole or ...
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1answer
75 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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62 views

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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178 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
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126 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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112 views

Two-fold cost of sex and r/K selection theory

This article cites a bunch of articles (I haven't been through them) that the effect of the two-fold cost of sex is "reduced" in stable environment or in K-selected environment. It says: [..] the ...
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230 views

Is this statement in agreement with Darwin's theory of evolution?

Is the following statement in agreement with Darwin's theory of evolution? The number of offspring is not related to fitness. If so, why? This is not a homework assignment, I just want to ...
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1answer
99 views

Why do the neuron pathways decussate?

I learn about the brain right now, and there are crossing of neuron pathways everywhere; in the thalamus, the medulla oblongata, the pyramidal tract... And I don't understand why? What is the reason ...
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3answers
168 views

Many spermatozoa, but just one ovum

Why do men produce so much spermatozoa, that will get discarded, but women, just ovulum, but it's a good one. Couldn't men produce good spermatozoa as a limited edition? Where is the evolutionary ...
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106 views

Is there any evidence of increased life expectancy for animal species?

Life expectancy for human has significantly increased during the last century or so. We all know that there are many reasons that are not linked with "evolution", but I am wondering if such change in ...
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100 views

Does recombination increase the additive genetic variance for fitness?

On this article, first column, eighth line of the introduction: By bringing together favourable alleles from different chromosomes, sex and recombination increase the additive genetic variance for ...
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53 views

Evolutionary conservativeness

List the following proteins in the order of decreasing evolutionary conservativeness of their primary structure: Somatotropin. Catalytic subunit of a DNA – polymerase. Histone H1. ...
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488 views

Why were dinosaurs not as smart as we are?

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaur, Dinosaurs were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years. They had a lot of time to evolve. My question is: why were dinosaurs not ...
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105 views

Rate of Evolution of population of long lived individuals

Is it necessary that rate of evolution of longer lived trees will be lesser than that of annuals ? I understand that new individuals will come up faster in annuals and it may adapt to varying ...
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131 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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242 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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1answer
98 views

The oldest common ancesstor of all human beings

Do all human beings have a single oldest ancestor (a man and a woman), or were there were many ancestors at the same time at different places on earth? This article sheds some light. Is there another ...
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1answer
57 views

Preserved alpha complementation over evolutionary time?

Has the result of alpha-complementation ever happened via mutation through evolutionary time, and been preserved in modern day organisms? In other words, has a functional gene product ever been split ...
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1answer
48 views

How did bullying arise evolutionarily?

By bullying, I mean individuals harassing others with name-calling or violence but not for the purpose of gaining resources such as with extortion or theft. The only explanation I've thought of is ...
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1answer
227 views

Cell evolution: immortality vs reproduction

Many sci fi movies produce interesting ideas and technologies that we seem to be able to realize in real life at some point. "Lucy" was not one of those movies. But Morgan Freeman's speech in the ...
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44 views

Is there any knowledge of physics can be applied in to evolution?

I have asked a similar question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), but it just about organisms and ecosystems, not evolution. After watching ...
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61 views

Speciation of humans? [duplicate]

Since we homo sapiens (and all other species) are continuously evolving, are humans undergoing speciation based on our environment? OR has there been any difference across people that could say ...
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1answer
258 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and harder and harder) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
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85 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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48 views

How did the Chromosome #2 Fusion propagate?

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chromosomes of a common ancestor of chimps and humans as explained at wikipedia here Was it necessary for the common ancestor ...
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114 views

Senescence, immortality and evolution?

Many have heard about the fabled "immortal" jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, which doesn't die from aging (senescence) and can revert the aging process indefinitely. It is rather remarkable that only ...
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1answer
59 views

Coefficient of relationship and path of coefficient

A path of coefficient of relationship is defined as $$\rho_{AO} = \left( \frac{1}{2}\right)^n \sqrt { \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O}}$$ This SE post discusses this definition From this, the coefficient of ...
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181 views

List of heritability estimates in humans?

Many people on this site ask questions that directly or indirectly have to do with heritability in human. Do you know a list of estimates of heritability of various traits in humans? Or could you try ...