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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261 views

Computational/mathematical models for predicting phenotype from genotype

Karr, Sanghvi, et al. (2012) propose a whole-cell computational model for predicting phenotype from genotype in Mycoplasma genitalium. Their model simulates myriad cell processes such as DNA ...
11
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1answer
710 views

Is there an evolutionary advantage to crying when sad?

It seems as though the act of crying when sad does nothing to relieve that sadness. Is there an advantage to crying from an evolutionary perspective, or is it the end result of a different process? ...
6
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1answer
364 views

How and when did a dedicated immune system evolve?

I have recently been doing a lot of research into the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems in humans, and mammalian laboratory models. This has led to my reading some interesting ...
10
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2answers
164 views

Is there an “evolutionary species similarity calculator”?

Is there a website where I can input pairs of species and get an "evolutionary similarity score"? E.g. (numbers are completely made up) Input: Chimp and Human, Output: 97% Input: Cat and Human, ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Why does the butterfly have a cocoon stage in its life cycle?

Why does the butterfly have a cocoon stage in its life cycle? It could have simply grown up within the egg/cocoon, and emerged as a butterfly. Instead it is first an egg, then a worm, then a ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Why is the Kakapo more attracted to humans than its own kind?

The Kakapo can be seen in this video by BBC. It is said that the species is strongly sexually attracted to humans. Why could this be the case?
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1answer
283 views

Why hasn't mother nature made us aware of our lizard brain? [closed]

In many personal improvement books I've read, people make a distinction between 2 parts of our brain: the logical brain, dealing with logic, judgement, thinking; what makes Humans different than ...
7
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2answers
127 views

Genetic Models for Natural Selection?

My question is simple: Given that evolution is described by random genetic mutations allowing certain members of a species to gain a reproductive advantage over others that coexist in the particular ...
6
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2answers
7k views

How do archaea relate to eukaryotes and bacteria?

I've read that they all share some genes, internal structure, and behaviour with each other, but with different degrees of overlap depending of what the function is. E.g., archaea have some eukaryotic ...
4
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1answer
65 views

Features in individuals causing high population variation

As I understand it, a population with high variation is something sought after, since it makes the population better equipped to face a dynamic environment. Then, I guess features in an individual ...
23
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4answers
1k views

Why do men have nipples?

I'd be tempted to call nipples in men vestigial, but that suggests they have no modern function. They do have a function, of course, but only in women. So why do men (and all male mammals) have them? ...
3
votes
1answer
283 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 ...
5
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1answer
133 views

Homologies to insect wings

All winged vertebrates have wings which are homologous to each other and to the forelimbs of the non-winged vertebrates. But what about insect wings? Are all insect wings homologous, and are there any ...
5
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1answer
592 views

How and why did mouth and nasal cavity evolve separate?

My initial objection is that nose filters air, mouth is for eating but is used for breathing also, plus they both are used to create sounds. What is the cause and reason in this case, why do we need ...
29
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3answers
2k views

Why is polyploidy lethal for some organisms while for others is not?

Polyploidy is the multiplication of number of chromosomal sets from 2n to 3n (triploidy), 4n (tetraploidy) and so on. It is quite common in plants, for example many crops like wheat or Brassica forms. ...
9
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1answer
702 views

How does population stability evolve?

The number of individuals constituting a population is called population size. Over time population size does not remain constant, it fluctuates to different extent over generations because of ...
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2answers
298 views

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?
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1answer
308 views

What animals stop other members of their species from mating and why?

(In particular primates) I know chimps do. Powerful alpha males chimp would beat up omega males that they caught mating. I know gorillas do. Powerful alpha males gorillas would beat up omega males ...
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1answer
182 views

What is the similarity between how cells organize themselves to form a human and how humans organize themselves to form a society? [closed]

Some things I have gathered. Common properties - individuals - communicate - local view - selfish - specialize - organize - replicate - cooperate - emergence Terminology cell ...
4
votes
1answer
63 views

Productive turnover and generations in the fruit fly

I was reading about the Lenski experiments on the evolution of E. coli bacterium and Dr. Elders's experiments on the evolution of the guppy. These two experiments absolutely fascinated me, and seemed ...
5
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2answers
165 views

Are there other mechanisms for mutation besides imperfect DNA replication?

I was reading http://www.askamathematician.com/2012/05/q-is-quantum-randomness-ever-large-enough-to-be-noticed/ and saw: [...] the evolution of entire species can be changed by a single mistake ...
19
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1answer
248 views

Evolutionary origin and exogenous cues of ~28 day infradian rhythm?

The most obvious example of an approximately monthly biological cycle is the human menstrual cycle. My questions are the following: Is it known when and where this cycle or one like it arose? What ...
8
votes
2answers
150 views

Are there any structures in mammals that are used only by males?

There are examples of structures which only serve a purpose in females, but it seems like the opposite could also be true. Are there any structures which exist in both mammalian sexes and only serve a ...
10
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2answers
189 views

Did we first have swimming birds or flying birds?

Looking at the swimming birds building nests just across my garden, I suddenly wondered how evolution came to swimming birds and whether flying birds started swimming or whether swimming bird like ...
14
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3answers
505 views

What is the most difficult feature to explain evolutionarily? [closed]

I wonder what are examples of organs/structures/behaviours/cooperation that evolutionary biologists themselves find most difficult to explain -- to explain how they could appear evolutionarily -- ...
11
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3answers
392 views

How did the human brain evolve?

A common question posed is, "how did the eye evolve?", because the eye is so complex. However, this has been answered rather clearly and there are several examples around the world of animals in ...
10
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1answer
130 views

What advantage would the initial 'donor' in horizontal gene transfer by conjugation have received?

I am struggling to think why horizontal gene transfer between bacteria would have persisted during the course of evolution as surely it puts the 'donor' at a disadvantage? For example, consider a ...
8
votes
2answers
174 views

Is there a dominant gene for right-handedness?

Has there been any definitive research about handedness being genetic? Also, why is right-handedness clearly dominant in humans? I'm interested in evolutionary theories, as well as any molecular ...
13
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5answers
334 views

Can species back-evolve?

One of the tenets of Darwin's theory is the survival of the fittest, ie adaptation of features that allow a species to adapt better to its surrounding environment. I am wondering that given the right ...
16
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1answer
453 views

How did viruses come to be?

My question is out of curiosity and got me thinking. How did viruses with the head, tail and tail fibres actually evolve? These viruses look more like machines than biological entities. Are there any ...
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1answer
325 views

How To Avoid Macro-Evolution Confusion? [closed]

I regularly encounter students who believe humans came from amoebas and when asked why they often say Macro-Evolution has been scientifically proven. Macro-evolution is defined as evolution at or ...
8
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1answer
148 views

What do we know about LUCA?

All life on Earth (bacteria, archaea, eukarya) is thought to have evolved from a common ancestor, or last universal common ancestor (LUCA). What do we know about the characteristics of LUCA based upon ...
5
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1answer
159 views
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264 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
563 views

Did human hairs actually evolve from scales?

What is the evolution of hairs? Did they evolve from scales?
4
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1answer
243 views

What did pangolin scales evolve from?

Were they developed anew or a heritage from fish?
9
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4answers
3k views

What is the closest species to humans in animal kingdom?

I presumed chimpanzees were the closest relatives of us. However, after watching this TED Talk, it seems bonobos are closer to us both in skeleton and behavioral similarity than chimpanzees. I once ...
11
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2answers
314 views

Why do pandas have a high probability of giving birth to twins?

According to the BBC documentary "Wild About Pandas", about half of panda birth result in twins. Why do they have such a high probability compared to other mammals? What factor(s) control that ...
18
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3answers
377 views

Good source that explains the evolution of single-celled organisms “from scratch”

Are there any books or sites that detail, step-by-step, the evolution of the first single-celled organisms (bacteria, archaea) from a Miller-Urey-like beginning? That is, assumes only amino acids, ...
9
votes
1answer
534 views

Why are there nail growth differences between humans and other mammals?

When a cat is growing, his nails are growing with him to some extent. A grown cat has a fixed nail length that is not extending. By contrast, human finger nails just keep on growing, so we have to ...
9
votes
1answer
912 views

Why do some plant species have lobed leaves, while similar species in the same habitat don't?

Some plants have lobed leaves, like the English oak (Quercus robur), while other plants growing the same deciduous woodland habitats, and very often growing alongside oaks, such as the European beech ...
43
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3answers
2k views

Why did the process of sleep evolve in many animals? What is its evolutionary advantage?

The process of sleep seems to be very disadvantageous to an organism as it is extremely vulnerable to predation for several hours at a time. Why is sleep necessary in so many animals? What advantage ...
6
votes
2answers
441 views

Why would stablising selection ever happen?

If the aim of evolution is to allow an organism to better compete against rivals, why would stabilizing selection ever happen? If you're not selecting the most highly adapted competitors at either end ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

What is the benefit for cells having the ATP production regulated in mitochondria compared to being from the nucleus?

Mitochondria have their own DNA and appear to be loosely connected to the nucleus and it role. Why are the functions of mitochondria not in the nucleus? Why doesn't the nucleus control the ...
11
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1answer
503 views

Did researchers evolve multicellular yeast or did they just turn on multicellularity?

In this new paper "Experimental evolution of multicellularity" found via Ars Technica the researchers describe having developed multicellularity and apoptosis within 60 days from a unicellular yeast ...
12
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1answer
204 views

Abiogenesis: Beyond the research journals as a lead in to discussions on evolution

I just came across this abstract: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are responsible for creating the pool of correctly charged aminoacyl-tRNAs that are necessary for the translation of genetic ...
4
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0answers
94 views

Could an organism theoretically produce a metamaterial-like structure? [closed]

I'm curious to know if this is physically feasible because during my reading up on synthetic biology and just general research i realise that life is capable of producing some exquisitely complex ...
11
votes
1answer
188 views

Are there any pre-Holocene venomous animals?

The novel (and subsequently movie) Jurassic Park featured a dinosaur called Dilophosaurus, that was purported to be venomous and had an ability similar to that of the extant spitting cobra. ...
14
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1answer
535 views

Do large animals often evolve into smaller animals?

There are several examples where the largest animals were killed off preferentially due to a major ecological shift: The KT extinction event The Holocene extinction, as well as the major megafauna ...