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 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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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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91 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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142 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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82 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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181 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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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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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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71 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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158 views

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' cases....
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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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182 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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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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124 views

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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156 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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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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449 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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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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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 ...
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387 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who was accepting bribes....
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Mathematical models of lineage selection

I'm interested in the concept of lineage selection (Aboitiz, 1991) as an explanation for why traits would be selected for that enhance the rate at which evolution can occur, rather than directly ...
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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?
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Why didn't the polar bear change its color from white to black during evolution to absorb heat?

Polar bears are white in color and white color is not a good absorbant of heat. Why then didn't they evolve a black color to absorb more heat?
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Is it known how the first viruses formed?

The oldest known virus is known to have infected prehistoric insects 300 million years ago. A virus is basically a parasitic strand if DNA or RNA encapsulated in a protein coat. It enters cells by "...
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What factors, other than its homochirality, make our “brand” of biology unique? [closed]

If humans were to discover organisms on another planet, it is supposed that (unless both we and they were seeded by the same source) we would have nothing to fear from alien pathogens, as they would ...
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Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
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How and why did mammals go back to the oceans?

If I understand evolutionary biology correctly, mammals first evolved on land as small, rodent-like creatures, in a time when reptiles were dominant on land. Eventually, they diversified into the ...
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Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?

In every non-life example I can envision, a copy of a copy is always a degraded or less pure version of the original unless some outside influence acts to correct the copy back toward the ideal ...
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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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151 views

Fixation rate at neutral loci

It is a classical result that the expected time for a neutral mutation to occur and to get fixed is $2 N \mu \frac{1}{2N} = \mu$, where $N$ is the population size and $\mu$ is the neutral mutation ...
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What is the viability of Intelligent Design as a supplement to chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution?

First of all I am not endorsing Intelligent Design (Wikipedia link); I'm asking this because I (someone who does not have a background in biology, organic chemistry, or philosophy) got into a ...
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What is the minimum functional biological light sensor? [closed]

As a follow up to this question regarding the evolution of the eye, it was suggested that primitive eyes only needed to evolve a light sensor and could perhaps use the existing biochemical cascade ...