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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96 views

What is the evolutionary reason behind human preference for salty foods?

It's been established that food palatability is related to it's caloric density. This hypothesis is used to explain why humans are partial to sugar and fat. But it is also said that humans are partial ...
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141 views

definition of tempo and mode in evolution

I am reading Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered, which mentions the "tempo" and "mode" of evolution. I'm not familiar with the related literature and when I google the ...
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38 views

Dominance/recessivity of new mutations

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

Is Natural Selection like a Copy Editor?

I am stuck on a Homework Question. It says: Evaluate the following statement: “Natural selection works like a copy editor; it works only with what is already present in a population.” (Note: ...
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829 views

Evolution- Variations, adaptations and selective advantages

I am trying to understand Variations, adaptations and selective advantages and how they are all related. Feel free to add or correct me if I'm wrong- Variations are structural, functional, or ...
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1k views

Cats, Dogs and Bears - how are they related?

What is the ancestral relationship between cats, dogs and bears? I presume they are more closely related to one another than other paraphyletic clades of mammal. Which came first? What did their ...
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199 views

What is the most recent non-primate ancestors of humans?

If we go down the evolutionary tree of humans, (Homo sapiens, Homo erectus, ...), what will be the first non-primate ancestors?
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286 views

Does a fully-resolved phylogenetic tree have to be dichotomous?

I read that wherever there is polytomy there is an unresolved pattern of divergence. I don't understand why this is so. When divergence takes place, is it necessary that there will be division into ...
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213 views

Has medical progress stopped human evolution? [duplicate]

We can cure many diseases nowadays, and thus the natural selection is very limited. Plus, mankind spent the whole beginning of its existence in almost the same hostile environment, and that's where he ...
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126 views

Lineage selection in plasmid evolution

I've been reading through Paulsson (2002) and I am not sure what he means by "lineage selection" in the second to last section. The paper deals with plasmid replication, and mostly concentrates on the ...
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138 views

Plants without bacteria? is it theoretically possible?

I know from school, that all live on the Earth need bacteria as low-level "machines" that break down/extract/convert/produce chemical elements and combinations, other high-level organisms needed. But ...
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32 views

What is different between the pigment of giraffes and the pigment of flowers?

I saw this video created by Derek Muller and he says there that it is very unusual to evolutionary develop the colour of the skin without the pigment. That sounds reasonable but if so, what nutrients ...
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69 views

How prominent is the gene-centric view of evolution among professional researchers?

Richard Dawkins famously advocated a gene-centric (as opposed to organism-centric) viewpoint on natural selection, most notably in The Extended Phenotype. However, I have also heard "on the grapevine" ...
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52 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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100 views

Can we influence evolution by teaching primates to control fire? Should we? [closed]

Most people with a strong interest in biology will have heard of Kanzi the Bonobo, the ape that has the wherewithal to collect fuel for a campfire and play pac-man. But is it conceivable to influence ...
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85 views

Is the mutation rate in organisms in general consistent over the genome?

Coming from computer science with an interest in genetic programming (a process emulating evolution) I'm curious about whether the rate of mutation is homogeneous across the whole genome, or if some ...
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124 views

Duplicity Vs. Singularity of Mammals Organs [closed]

Are there known evolutionary reasons why mammals contain 2 of some organs (such as lungs and kidneys) and only 1 of some (such as liver)?
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54 views

Periodic Muscular Growth in Humans

If a healthy human is at a certain muscle state and then experiences muscular atrophy solely due to disuse/lack of exercise, is it easier to gain that muscle back than if the human had never reached ...
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67 views

Various Genetic Loads and their Definitions

In population genetics, we talk about several types of genetic loads (also called just loads). I am asking for a exhaustive list and a short definition. Here are for example some genetic loads that ...
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83 views

Coalescent theory - independence of coalescent times

Let $T_i$ be the time to coalesce from $n(t)=i+1$ to $n(t)=i$, where $n(t)$ is the number of sites that have not coalesced yet. In the below example the maximum $n(0)=6$. As I understand it, many ...
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65 views

How would a different solar day affect evolution?

Has anyone theorized how evolution would be affected by a different length of solar day, what were the conclusions? The thought came from thinking about life on other planets/moons, but I'm initially ...
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36 views

Coalescent Theory - Probability for $k$ alleles that of one coalescence event occured $t+1$ generations ago

From this textbook Under the wright-Fisher model of genetic drift and under the assumption that all alleles are neutral, the probability that $k$ alleles had $k$ distinct parent alleles the previous ...
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87 views

List of the biggest companies that work in selective breeding

Looking at this question, I've been wondering, What are the biggest private companies which work in both animal and non-animal selective breeding? Let me know if Biology.SE is not appropriate for ...
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112 views

building intelligent structure with random evolution requires series of non useful steps

In order to build an intelligent design such as a bridge or a mechanical watch, you need a series of non useful steps. As far as I understand, in random evolution theory, the "intelligence" involved ...
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73 views

Evolution, self organization and neuroscience

I have rudimentary knowledge of evolution, and biology in general, so bear with me if this question is a bit naive. Let's say we have a particular trait, like highly sensitive peripheral vision. ...
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139 views

Definition of “Regime of selection”

How would you define Regime of selection (or Selection regime)? In addition to a accurate definition, a developped example ...
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42 views

Variation in MHC in humans

What evolutionary process lead to so much variation in MHC? What is the advantage of having such variation?
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52 views

Systematic difference of diversity between sister taxa?

When looking broadly at the tree of life, my feeling is that, after a divergence there is almost systematically one taxon that speciates way more than the other. (There will have some approximations ...
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85 views

Would it be possible/plausible for a type of spider to fly by weaving web between it's legs to create bat-like wings?

I've been thinking about this lately. Would it be possible for a type of spider to gain the ability to fly freely by weaving its web between it's legs and creating wings much like those of a bat? Is ...
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2answers
124 views

Which texts are good for beginners to understand evolution on the genetic scope?

Are there good texts to study the evolution, how it works, and how mutations and changes lead to evolution of the organism ? And how does the information increase through the long time using ...
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89 views

Colonial Cells Demonstrating Cell Specialization

Are there any living examples of cellular colonies demonstrating very primitive cellular specialization? If so, what do we know about how they assimilate? How independent are the individual cells ...
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335 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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20 views

Relation between a compound's toxicity and it's concentration level

I know that ammonia is toxic for the body since it disturbs enzymes of mitochondria. I want to know that why the ammonotelic animals don't get affected by it? I mean that even if there is plenty of ...
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45 views

Gradualism vs. Punctuationalism

TLDR? Just read the bold bits! I started with Darwin's Origin of Species, and then read Dawkins's first three books The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, and The Blind watchmaker (I just started ...
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37 views

Coniferous trees in temperare rain forests

In temperate rainforest, the dominant plant form is often coniferous trees (source). However, coniferous trees are also the dominant plant form in a very different climate and form a different biome ...
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66 views

Deciduous trees in tropical rainforest

Some books says the dominant plant form in tropical rainforest biome is broad leaved evergreen trees. Other books say it is broad leaved evergreen trees and deciduous trees. What is the most accepted ...
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90 views

Interpretation of graph from evolutionary biology

I am studying evolutionary biology, and been presented with this graph: I am having some difficulties understand its meaning. For a start, why is time measured as a fraction of the population size? ...
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84 views

Possibility of Human cloning

Technology has evolved so much as to clone animals. But, what about human cloning? Is it really possible to create humans in lab? Or is it that technology has not advanced to that level..? Why cant ...
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1answer
44 views

Evolutionary support for parenting book “The happiest baby on the block”

The book by Dr Harvey Karp (MD) The Happiest Baby on the Block proposes that the duration of human gestation has evolved as a tradeoff between cranial size and development of the infant. He ...
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244 views

Why has our nose evolved with the nostrils facing down?

For most animals, the whole bottom of their face sticks out and they have a snout with a mouth and nose at the end. But humans have a flat face and just a nose that sticks out. We used to have the ...
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47 views

Assumptions of the models for haploid and diploid selection

For a bi-allelic locus, the model for haploid Natural Selection is: $$\frac{dp}{dt} = \frac{pW_A}{pW_A + (1-p)W_B}$$ , where $p$ is the frequency of the allele $A$, which relative fitness is $W_A$. ...
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43 views

Distribution of fitness in wild populations

If I get out in the wild observe wild populations and measure the distribution of fitness $f(w)$ in a given population. What will I find out? Will I observe a Gaussian distribution, a Poisson ...
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50 views

What is a sex-biased gene?

How do you define a male-biased gene and a female-biased gene as they are found in the abstract of this article.
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46 views

Book Recommendation: Complex Traits and Complex Genetic Architecture

I am looking for a book (or any good source of information) that offers an in-depth discussion and models about the evolution and analysis of complex traits and complex genetic architecture. Do you ...
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139 views

Heterozygosity and overdominance

Consider $m$ loci with heterozygote advantage (overdominance) such that the fitness of the two homozygotes is $1-\frac{s}{2}$ and the fitness of the heterozygotes is $1+\frac{s}{2}$, where $s>0$. ...
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46 views

How are new chromosomes replicated into the next generation via sexual reproduction?

If an individual has a new chromosome, which is very unlikely to happen, he will not have any luck in finding a sexual partner with this same trait. How will the offspring inherit this trait. And ...
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79 views

Life on other planets [duplicate]

first of all I'm not sure if I should post this here or in the astronomy stack. I think biologist are more likely to answer my question. To make it short: Why when looking for any sort of life on ...
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65 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ loci

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
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103 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ alleles

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
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2answers
134 views

Why do we find nature 'beautiful', from an evolutionary perspective?

Most people I know find nature beautiful and holidays generally involve a place that has 'natural beauty'.