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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The concepts of relatedness - Hamilton's rule and kin selection

Here is a quotation from this wikipedia page The relatedness parameter (r) in Hamilton's rule was introduced in 1922 by Sewall Wright as a coefficient of relationship that gives the ...
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46 views

Phenoptosis, behavior evolved for good of species?

I was reading this and felt like the argument is being made that organisms die for the good of species. Isn't this nonsense? This especially bugged me: "'Age-induced, soft, or slow phenoptosis'" ...
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436 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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62 views

Why is duck fat less saturated than cow fat?

Why does the composition of fat in animals vary? Is there an evolutionary advantage to producing fat that is less or more saturated?
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97 views

Earliest ancestor of humans who could integrate into modern society

Assuming the current model of human evolution to be correct, approximately when did the earliest ancestor of humans live, who was intelligent enough, that if raised from a young enough age, could ...
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453 views

Advantage of being deuterostome

We know that most of the so called "Advanced" organisms are deuterostomes (i.e., development of gut starts from anus). Is there any evolutionary advantage of that? If not, why and how did it evolve?
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Are humans still competing in the same way now that the first life forms did?

I'm not sure if this is actually a philosophical question, but I was reading a timeline of life on earth and I came to this: 4500-3500 Ma The earliest life appears, possibly at Alkaline vents ...
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65 views

Historical recovery from mass extinction events

Is there a way to generally characterize how species "regrew" after the various mass extinction events happening periodically from 450 Ma to 65 Ma. Would the surviving species just start back where ...
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41 views

What are the common methods to estimate additive genetic variance?

Additive genetic variance can be estimated in a number of ways, and is a key concept in evolutionary biology and quantitative genetics. What are the typical methods (experimental designs) used to ...
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65 views

Poisonous plants, animals, mushrooms: is this always a kind of defense?

I wonder whether developing deadly toxins in the organism's body is always or usually a defensive strategy rather than a by-product.
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37 views

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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20 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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44 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?

mutation-selection 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 ...
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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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61 views

How to track and describe the evolution of a gene?

So I have a project student (undergraduate) who has been assigned a project to study the evolution of a gene (and possibly related genes) through species. I am not an evolutionary biologist, and hence ...
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44 views

Odds of Fusion of Chromosome #2

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chimp chromosomes (i.e. common ancestor of chimps and humans) as explained at wikipedia here The question is what are the odds ...
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83 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for depression?

Evolutionarily speaking, depression (both clinical depression and temporary sadness) is a curious phenomenon. Since being depressed is likely to increase the chance of a person with it to commit ...
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46 views

Inbreeding Coefficient and Coefficient of Relationship

Wikipedia gives the following formula to calculate a "path of coefficient of relationship" between an ancestor $A$ and an offspring $O$: $$\rho_{AO} = 2^{-n} \left( \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O} \right)^{1/2} ...
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26 views

Source of information on the evolution of aging/senescence

Do you know a good review (published peer-reviewed or an online course or whatever) that offers a good overview of all hypothesis explaining the various patterns linked with aging? I'd like this ...
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41 views

How did the roar evolve from snort?

When Lions roar, or Dogs show aggression, they do that snort-roar thing. They're producing sound while inhaling. How did that come to be when all (?) other forms of sound involve exhaling? Humans do ...
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23 views

What is the origin of viruses? How could they get both living and non-living characteristics? [duplicate]

I read that viruses are called intermediate between living and non-living particles. Well, if so, then where did they originate from? From living or non-living? If they originated from either living ...
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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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Living organisms with properties similar to both plants and animals? [duplicate]

Is there any example of currently living organisms that shows close resemblance to both being a plant and an animal? What is the plant with the closest possible resemblance to animals, and What is ...
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41 views

Why do human ears have a lower boundary for the lowest energy perceivable signal than eyes?

I am currently hearing a lecture about human machine interaction. The lecturer is not a biologist (neither am I, we are both computer scientists), but he makes some statements about biology which I ...
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87 views

Can humans' ability to dive with only breathing modifications tell us anything about our evolution?

Can humans' ability to dive with only breathing modifications tell us anything about our evolution? For example, it is possible to imagine a human anatomy that would be destroyed by the pressure of a ...
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Refutation of Darwin's Random Evolution Theory [closed]

I saw this refutation online of Darwin's Random Evolution Theory and cannot see any holes with the logic. Can anyone crack this simple refutation? Refutation of the Theory of Random Evolution ...
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158 views

Evolution (Reductionism)

My recent post was tagged as unclear so I wanted to re frame my question. Though I am a layman, I would love to read books and find the stuff, if I get an overall picture of intelligence factor. My ...
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Does Darwin's Theory of Evolution refute Terence McKenna theory “Stoned Ape” theory of human evolution?

I haven't read it but I'm asking for a quick answer. As far as I know, Terence McKenna's theory of evolution in humans main concept is that a hominid has tried in their diet psilocybin mushrooms, and ...
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137 views

Evolutionary history: did any organs start out as autonomous organisms?

I've read that the cell nucleus was once an autonomous organism that was "enslaved" by the larger cell at the time of the Eukaryotic Revolution. Are there any organs in the human body that we know of ...
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156 views

Effect of zero selection (pressure) on the population health

Evolution naturally produces better features: stronger muscles, teeth and minds. Killing the weakest, evolution wipes defective genes out of populations. The mutations are necessary for advance. ...
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89 views

Reproductive isolation causing evolution

My course book says about reproductive isolation that it does not allow the interbreeding among the individuals of different species. It also says that it is a cause of evolution. How is this cause ...
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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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69 views

Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent?

Q: Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent? Our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, seems to be regarded as intelligent: Chimpanzees make ...
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520 views

Why do our eyes close when we sleep?

Why do our eyes close when we sleep? Is it to relax our eye muscles? How can it be explained from an evolutionary point of view?
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116 views

How likely is it that Earth has millions of different species?

I know that the probability of life existing on a habitable planet is pretty slim. But, how likely is it that it hapenned millions of times in the same planet? Or was it only a few species that ...
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2answers
129 views

Which statement about phenotypic plasticity is false?

This was a test question, and I'm not too sure about the answer. Which statement about phenotypic plasticity is false? a. Because the plasticity of a phenotypic trait may be costly to maintain, it ...
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109 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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117 views

Which was the last significant event in human evolution? What's next?

At 10.000 BC (12 ka), we became the last of the Homo species on Earth. In evolutionary terms this is a very little time range to something happen, but I'm wondering anyway, in this meantime which are ...
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930 views

Why do different humans look different?

Although farmers appear to be able to tell their cows apart, cows look very much alike to me. And this similarity in appearance seems to be a general trail across the animal kingdom: one individual of ...
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156 views

Birds and Dinosaurs

This came up in an argument with some friends. I know that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, shown pretty clearly through the fossil record. However, is it proper to say that birds are ...
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145 views

What's the Evolutionary Purpose of Religion? [closed]

I would imagine the answer to this question would be that religion tends to cause greater compliance of individuals within society, so it is pro-society. Plus these religions tend to incorporate some ...
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60 views

Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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69 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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2answers
63 views

Book recommendations for evolutionary models

I was recently working on getting a statistical model of a DNA sequence. To do this I found that understanding evolution quantitatively seems to be quite important. I would really appreciate any book ...
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92 views

Effect on fitness of mutations

What is the distribution/probability density function (PDF) of impacts on fitness of new mutations? I very welcome any partial answer that does not give the whole PDF but just some information ...
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388 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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69 views

Aren't current explanations for the evolution of human cooperation a little too reductionist?

Lately, I've become a believer in the limits of reductionist explanations especially in areas like complex systems and biology. So, without wasting any more time, I'll get to my question.. Whenever ...
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103 views

Can we say that microevolution and macroevolution is fundamentally the same thing over different time scales?

This Wikipedia article states: Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools. Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast ...
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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. ...