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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Why does human facial and head hair continue to grow?

Many people can grow extremely long head hair and facial hair. Are there evolutionary theories as to why this is the case? It seems like having long hair could be a disadvantage, and extremely long ...
5
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2answers
32 views

Is there a name for this phenomenon described in “Phylogenies and the Comparative Method”?

The figures below are from Felsenstein's paper "Phylogenies and the Comparative Method". I was wondering if there was a specific name for this effect where there is an apparant correlation that is ...
3
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1answer
42 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
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2answers
64 views

Characters do not make the genus, but the genus gives the characters?

In his Origin of species, in the chapter entitled 'Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs', Darwin, speaking of the nature of classification systems of living ...
3
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2answers
187 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 ...
2
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1answer
297 views

Opposite results between Blomberg's K and phylogenetic signal in Phylocom (AOT)

I've been trying to test for significant phylogenetic conservatism in some plant traits. So far I used R-package picante (Blomberg's K) and AOT in Phylocom. So far these two methods yield completely ...
9
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1answer
612 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 ...
30
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5answers
2k views

Why are there no organisms with metal body parts, like weapons, bones, and armour? (Or are there?)

Reading this question, Why are there no wheeled animals?, I wondered why no organisms seem to make use of the tensile and other strengths of metal, as we do in metal tools and constructions. I am ...
0
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1answer
42 views

What is a selectively neutral genotypic change?

I am reading the paper "Neutral evolution of mutational robustness". Because I am new to neutral evolution, I have a few questions. Firstly, from my understanding, genotypic neutrality means the ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Why do we assume that the first humans were dark-skinned?

According to the article Dark skin and blue eyes: How Europeans once looked: It is widely accepted that Man's oldest common forefather was dark skinned, and that people became more pale as they ...
3
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1answer
97 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 ...
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2answers
109 views

Can we make a rough estimate of the number of generations since the origin of life?

According to what we've learnt : we can approximate the number of generations since the first human pretty much like us (depending what / who we talk about). we have an idea of the series of life ...
5
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1answer
136 views

Sequence evolution simulation tool

I'm looking for a tool to simulate sequence evolution given a specific mutation model and birth-death model. I'm aware of tools and packages like INDELible, Seq-Gen and PhyloSim, but they simulate ...
11
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1answer
308 views

Evolutionarily, why do male rats and horses lack nipples?

Developmentally male rats don't have nipples because (reddit) Testosterone release in the fetal male rat happens before the stage of mammogenesis where the teat is formed whereas other species ...
3
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1answer
133 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
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1answer
128 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 ...
9
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2answers
104 views

Why is iodine used for metabolic hormones?

Iodine and related biological iodine-carrying hormones are phylogenetically very old, at least according to Wikipedia. Humans use iodine as a metabolic indicator, as do axolotls and apparently most ...
2
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1answer
48 views

Why is an increase in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere favorable for life?

I have followed the David Attenborough series on 'First life' and heard, that an increase in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, as it took place just before the Cambrium, is generally favorable ...
5
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1answer
39 views

Independent contrasts with non-homologous traits

I have morphometric measurements for a trait across various animal taxa, and would like to study the relationship between the size of this trait, and the animals' body size. In theory, I can account ...
6
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1answer
74 views

How are behaviors genetically coded in animals?

I am curious as to how complex behavior is passed down genetically? For example, how is the building of a web genetically coded in a spider? And how is the complex behavior of constricting prey coded ...
2
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0answers
48 views

Differing number of “things” in mammals [closed]

I'm not a biology expert, but I have often wondered about the following facts of life: All mammals have precisely 5 fingers on each of our 4 extremities. Granted, some may not be seen, but the bone ...
53
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6answers
4k views

Why do plants have green leaves and not red?

I know plants are green due to chlorophyll. Surely it would be more beneficial for plants to be red than green as by being green they reflect green light and do not absorb it even though green light ...
10
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1answer
139 views

Do babies resemble their father?

An often heard theory is that newborns and babies resemble the father more than the mother, a theory apparently ignited by a Nature paper by Christenfeld and Hill (1995). Figure 1 shows one of the ...
6
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2answers
85 views

How is genetic speciation defined?

What determines speciation at a molecular level? At what point does a scientist determine two lineages are different enough to be considered separate species? Does it have a margin of error?
1
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1answer
46 views

Why is the gene regulation in eukaryotic cells needs multiple level of control than in prokaryotic cells?

That "eukaryotic cells are more complex" and "compartmentalized" are used to justify the need of more level of control of gene expression. I get the basic idea but can't convince myself why complexity ...
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4answers
154 views

Why don't most animals have “heads” in the middle of their bodies? [closed]

For example, humans. It would seem like, to me, if our brains and eyes, ears, etc. were situated in our stomach area they would be more protected from harm and more central than up at the top in and ...
5
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3answers
229 views

Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
5
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1answer
54 views

Queller's 1985 version of Hamilton's rule

Queller 1985 ("Kinship, reciprocity and synergism in the evolution of social behavior") provides a generalization of Hamilton's rule that allows for non-additivity. To accomplish that, Queller writes ...
7
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2answers
3k views

What evolutionary adaptations cause trees to grow tall?

I think there are some obvious costs for trees to grow tall. Carbon and other nutrients costs, maintenance cost, energy cost (for growing, to bring water (and nutrients) up to the higher leaves, ...
7
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1answer
68 views

Basic Modelling in Quantitative Genetics

I am pretty bad in thinking quantitative genetics models. I am trying to get some basic understanding of modelling the evolution of a quantitative trait. I am therefore asking for help to analyze a ...
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0answers
11 views

Are amantadine and rimantadine MOAs unknown to evolution?

Are any natural (human or otherwise) antiviral mechanisms similar to the antiviral mechanisms of amantadine and rimantadine, or are these mechanisms undiscovered by evolution? Are drug researchers ...
5
votes
2answers
59 views

What ways are there to determine how big genera are?

I want to look at genera as a whole, across the animal kingdom to determine the range of sizes of genera. I have examined species richness and genetic diversity (pairwise distance from sequence data ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

How to seek for available genetic data relevant to ecology and evolution?

I had a quick look online. There seems to exist many different website of database archiving. Some data might be free of charge while some others might not be. I found things such as Dryad, TreeBase, ...
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1answer
74 views

Can pandas hunt for meat?

Recently, I learned that pandas have a carnivore's digestive system but that it exists almost exclusively as a herbivore. If pandas hunted would they be able to find meat in their environment? Can't ...
6
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1answer
85 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 ...
7
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1answer
94 views

Why do we find some things disgusting and others delicious?

For example, why do I love paprika while my girlfriend hates it? Why do I find broccoli disgusting and she adores it? As humans, there are things we'd all agree on being awful, like rotten meat, for ...
2
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1answer
55 views

How do minute changes in an organism, as a result of evolution, get carried over to next generation

Theory of evolution states that random variations in organisms occur to better suit their surroundings. We take for example a bacteria's flagella. There's a bacteria who has a tube kind of structure ...
13
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2answers
352 views

Have we ever observed two drosophila lineages that evolved reproductive isolation in labs?

Background The standard definition of species refers to the concept of reproductive isolation. If two lineages are found to be reproductively isolated, then we consider these two lineages to belong ...
6
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1answer
422 views

Evolution of umbilical cord and reason of its elongation

To answer a question myself, recently I've read that Years and years ago, a long umbilical cord enabled a woman to grasp her baby after birth and run away from predators" Update: $Question:$ ...
58
votes
4answers
7k views

Why 22 amino acids instead of 64?

This question got me thinking about amino acids and the ambiguity in the genetic code. With 4 nucleotides in RNA and 3 per codon, there are 64 codons. However, these 64 codons only code for 22 ...
5
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1answer
279 views

Why cannot there be multiple sources for same species origins?

We often associate Africa as the geographical location of the origin of humans. Why cannot there exist multiple geographic locations of origin (given same environmental conditions)? The same ...
2
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1answer
85 views

What would be required to evolve an animal (non-human) brain to obtain human-level cognition? [closed]

Could any animal subject to the right conditions evolve human-level intelligence? Suppose that an artificial intelligence (AI) decided to artificially evolve a population of octopus (don't ask why, ...
2
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1answer
48 views

Evolution and Phenotypes.

This may be better suited for the English language SE, but When discussing evolutionary changes in species is it proper to refer to their phenotypes? In this context: "Imagine if a cow did not ...
4
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1answer
64 views

How do bumblebees and hornets avoid the negative effects of inbreeding?

I just learned that all hornets and bumblebees except for the queen die at the end of the year and the queen starts a new nest in spring. But that means the next generation of queens have only ...
6
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1answer
62 views

Why are abiogenesis and evolution considered unrelated?

When a discussion about evolution comes across abiogenesis - the typical reaction is that they are unrelated (see the headline at http://www.factsnotfantasy.com/abiogenesis.php). It seems to be ...
3
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2answers
53 views

Terminology for inefficacy of selection on recessive alleles

I am wondering is there some proper terminology which is used to say that deleterious recessive alleles might be able to hide, reducing the the efficacy of selection, in diploid organisms/chromosomes. ...
7
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2answers
56 views

Is there a name for the evolutionary loss of vestigial structures?

Consider a biological structure which no longer benefits an organism, such as the eyes of an organism whose population now lives in total darkness. I can think of three reasons why such a structure ...
7
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1answer
847 views

Term for trait that is advantageous to a population only as long as it is rare

I remember reading about a concept—in evolutionary biology or natural selection, I think—whereby a particular trait is advantageous to the population or species but only so long as that trait is only ...
0
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1answer
73 views

What is the point at which abiogenesis is complete and evolution begins? [closed]

Is the minimum criterion for life a single cell? It seems that self-replicating RNA is not enough, but I don't know. What would be the most basic cell that could fit this criterion and what cells ...