Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. Major mechanisms include drift, natural selection, mutation, and gene flow (migration).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
4answers
2k views

What evolutionary reason is there for having the urinary duct and reproductive organs so close together?

As the old joke goes, "God must have been a civil engineer. Who else would put a waste facility straight through a recreational area?" But maybe it wasn't God. Is there any evolutionary reason (or ...
3
votes
4answers
796 views

How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: 1.From changing environments. 2.Mutations. 3.Possibly even ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Why insects are so small compared to mammals?

I was wondering what biological limitations make the dimension of the insects small compared to the dimension of the mammals. I know in other eras insect were bigger!
3
votes
4answers
112 views

Is an egg classified based on the species inside it, or by the species that laid it?

Basically what I'm asking is if an animal of species x were to lay an egg, and the animal inside that egg happened to be the first member of a genetically new ...
3
votes
2answers
571 views

Why do we have to exhale (or inhale) in order to speak?

Every time we speak, sing, or make any other kind of advanced noise with our throats, we exhale, or to put it that way, blow air through our throats. Why is this required? After all, speakers do not ...
3
votes
2answers
368 views

How are two species with similar phenotypes identified as different?

How are two species with similar phenotypes identified as different? Have two different individuals that were thought to be different species ever been determined to be from the same species ( or ...
3
votes
1answer
370 views

Macroevolution vs. microevolution

Where is the line usually drawn between macroevolution and microevolution? I thought that, although similar processes govern both, the line was at the species level, with macroevolution being changes ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there any complex organism that is both autotroph and heterotroph?

Possibility also include "adaptation mode" if such exist. I don't discern whether autotrophic/heterotrophic part play only minor role either.
3
votes
2answers
175 views

Do mutant alleles result from mutation of the wild type?

The allele that encodes for the most common form of a phenotype in natural population is called a wild type allele and all the rest of the alleles encoding forms other than the wild type are called ...
3
votes
1answer
261 views

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain?

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain in humans, instead of elsewhere in the body? Why would this be an evolutionary beneficial adaptation?
3
votes
2answers
234 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
933 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

Why was Darwin's Finch argument valid considering Weismann's argument?

According to Darwin, there was only 1 species of Finch bird in Galapagos. Then Darwin argued that due to diet adaptation and natural selection, their beak changes causing new species--which is ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

Human Evolution in Modern Times

I understand that evolution occurred to form the current hominids from a common ancestor millions of years ago. As evolutionary processes take a long time, is there proof of evolution occurring with ...
3
votes
1answer
518 views

What is the beneficial function of IgE antibody?

Dont tell me the "function" of IgE is to cause allergy ! In whatever texts I have seen it is written that IgE is important to cause allergies but what is the beneficial function of IgE ? Why was it ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

Evolutionary Cell Structuring

I'm a total novice when it comes to biology, and I'm really just looking for an answer to a question that has been posed to me by people who deny evolution fervently. Evolution dictates that we've ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

Is vision a vestigial sense for deep ocean species?

Sunlight doesn't penetrate beyond a couple of hundred feet from the surface of the ocean. Species that exist at greater depth probably live in a state of perpetual night; yet from a quick google image ...
3
votes
2answers
574 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)?
3
votes
1answer
192 views

Does modern theory of evolution include modification of physical environment?

Does any branch of modern evolution theories include aspects of evolving organisms modifying the physical environment? An example from the evolution of life could be early stage introduction of ...
3
votes
3answers
202 views

Why does all life use the same macromolecules in their genetic code?

There is no biochemical constraint of any sort, so why doesn't some other code work? Why is it specifically RNA/DNA?
3
votes
2answers
199 views

What proves that speciation is a pairwise process? [duplicate]

I have been asked this questions by many biology students and even non-biologist without a pretty straightforward answer to give. We are quite accustomed to phylogenetic trees where a common ancestor ...
3
votes
2answers
207 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Pros/cons: linear vs. circular DNA [duplicate]

Why did Eukaryotes evolve to have linear DNA and not circular like Prokaryotes? What are the pros and/or cons?
3
votes
1answer
666 views

Ka/Ks (dN/dS) analysis module for Python?

From this wiki article: In genetics, the Ka/Ks ratio (or ω, dN/dS), is the ratio of the number of Nonsynonymous substitutions per non-synonymous site (Ka) to the number of synonymous ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the evolutionary rationale for palm sweating?

Sweaty palms seems to be a reaction to stress, anxiety, etc. For our forest-inhabiting primate ancestors sweaty palms could cause unwanted side-effects such as slipping off tree branches under ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

What came first? The DNA or the DNA polymerases?

I know this sounds a lot like chicken and egg question and while the latter has an answer, I am intrigued about the former. A modified form of the question would be, in the course of abiogenesis, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between eugenics and evolution by natural selection?

So with the working definition of Eugenics: "the aim to improve the human gene pool". What are key features that distinguish Eugenics from evolution by natural selection? I mean, besides that natural ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

Convergent evolution of fruits

Many fruits are not homologous, originating from different parts of a plant. Yet they all have similar properties: Ripe fruits all have yellow to dark red color They all have a lot of water and ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

What is the evolutionary cause for various finger lengths?

Why are the lengths the way they are with middle finger the longest?
3
votes
2answers
239 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for the black spots around a pandas eyes?

I couldn't seem to find one elsewhere, at least not with a scientific source. It would seem as it's quite a striking feature there would be an advantage it would infer.
3
votes
1answer
303 views

Parasitism and mimicry

I was reading this article which states this: Classical Batesian mimicry, in which an undefended mimic evolves to look like a toxic model, is a parasitic relationship in which the mimic gains ...
3
votes
1answer
347 views

How might gene clusters like the lac operon evolve?

The obvious answer for a gene cluster is gene duplication and mutation of one or both genes. But the genes in the lac operon seem not be so functionally/structurally similar (as compared to the Hox ...
3
votes
2answers
110 views

Is there a timeline for the frequency of evolution of any species?

Evolution is traditionally spoken of as an inherited change over generations. Does evolution happen one change at a time - or are there multiple changes occurring between two successive generations? ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there an evolutionary reason for the 5 electron transport complexes in plants and animals?

The electron transport chains of both the light reactions of photosynthesis (in plants) and oxidative phosphorylation (in animals) both contain 5 complexes including ATP synthase, as shown below. ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Do the claims in this paper have any degree of validity?

The paper The waiting time problem in a model hominin population talks about a problem of waiting time, etc. Is the methodology of this numerical simulation, and the conclusion right or is it wrong? ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Any evolutionary explanation for human blood groups?

What is the explanation of people having blood types from an evolutionary perspective?
3
votes
1answer
222 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
305 views

Do wolves bury food like dogs?

Many breeds of domestic dogs seem to like burying food, presumably in preparation for leaner times. Assuming that dogs evolved from animals similar to the modern wolves through a mix of natural and ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Inbreeding depression and dominance

From this article, second paragraph of the second page A classic theoretical result is that the mean of a character controlled by a single locus i with two alleles Ai1 and Ai2 is only affected by ...
3
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
504 views

What are samples of “Outlaw Genes”

I read this in a paper Keller and Ross describe their greenbeard gene as an ‘outlaw’. Admittedly, the comment is only made in passing, but are they correct? In this context an outlaw is ...
3
votes
2answers
47 views

Crossing over and exon shuffling?

Campbell Biology 10e, in discussing the functions of introns, writes: The presence of introns in a gene may facilitate the evolution of new and potentially beneficial proteins as a result of a ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

Why we have to damage our muscles to build them?

I know that new muscle cells are made when actin fibers are disrupted. My hypothesis is that muscle mass is limited, from birth, and that nutrients (protein) are only directed to grow muscle when ...
3
votes
1answer
236 views

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?
3
votes
1answer
76 views

What color was the most recent common ancestor of all swans?

Was the most recent common ancestor of all swans black, or white, or some other color? How do we know, and how certain can we be?
3
votes
1answer
163 views

Which of the two mitochondorial membranes relate to bacteria according to the endosymbiotic theory?

I seached for endosymbiotic theory in Wiki and I found this about endosymbiotic theory: Symbiogenesis, or endosymbiotic theory, is an evolutionary theory which explains the origin of eukaryotic ...
3
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Confusion regarding niches in evolution theory

This is the definition of a niche from Crash Course: An area of the environment that requires a special set of skills or traits to extract food and reproduce. Obviously, this version of the ...