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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440 views

3-minute long inspiring videos on evolutionary biology

What I am looking for I would like to start my teaching sessions with short emotional, awe-inspiring or exciting videos that are somehow related to evolutionary biology (incl. diversity of life, ...
9
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1answer
492 views

Is there any recent evidence for the aquatic ape theory of human evolution?

The aquatic ape theory suggests that many features that distinguish humans from their nearest evolutionary relatives emerged because the ancestors of humans underwent a period when they were adapting ...
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1answer
198 views

Bootstrapping (symmetry breaking) in evolution [closed]

Many fascinating phenomena in nature show different behaviours on the micro and the macro level. Here I am especially referring to phenomena that are symmetric on the micro and asymmetric on the macro ...
2
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2answers
158 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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2answers
114 views

Are epigenetic changes involved in evolution?

Evolution leads to phenotypic changes through changes in DNA such as mutations. Mutations are transmitted to offspring. Cumulative mutational changes across many generations may cause evolution and ...
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2answers
1k views

What are we missing about the real workings of the evolutionary process? [closed]

As a scientist (and a computer scientist at that) my view is that if we cannot simulate a process we have not understood it properly. I have been following the interesting field of Artificial Life for ...
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7answers
9k views

How do we know that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ape ancestor? [closed]

Richard Dawkins in one of his videos says that Evolution is a fact and not just a theory. He goes on to say that man and chimpanzees both evolve from apes. Is this correct (Is evolution a fact and ...
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2answers
56 views

A non human adaptive behaviour with a spandrel

Is there any adaptive behaviour in non humans which, when it is functioning as it was selected to do, creates a spandrel behaviour? In evolutionary biology, a spandrel is a phenotypic ...
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2answers
518 views

Help with the Price equation

The Price equation describes mathematically the evolution of a population of units from one generation to the next. $\bar{w}\Delta \bar{z}$ = $Cov (w_i,z_i) $+$ E(w_i\Delta z_i)$ I would like ...
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1answer
3k views

Why do different humans look different?

Although farmers appear to be able to tell their cows apart, cows look very much alike to me. And this similarity in appearance seems to be a general trait across the animal kingdom: one individual of ...
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5answers
2k views

What is the difference between a circular and a cat's-eye (slit) pupil?

I've been to local zoo the other day and one lizard caught my attention: its pupils are circular, which, I thought, is not usual for reptiles. Turns out it is, but now I can't find any explanation on ...
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1answer
64 views

Regression to the mean and evolution

I don't have a strong biological background but, in studying statistics, I met the idea of regression to the mean. e.g. children of tall parents tend to be shorter than their parents, and so on. Does ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
66 views

When was the last common ancestor of pig and human?

Some religions regard pigs as unclean on the grounds that pig flesh is closest in composition to human flesh. I don't believe this for one instant, but it got me thinking, just how close is pig and ...
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1answer
52 views

Why do most organisms depend on water? [closed]

Most organisms depend on water for metabolisms. Even the higher organisms need to maintain their daily water intake. Why water and not something else (for example like H2S)? I know H2S is poisonous ...
1
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1answer
106 views

Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent? [closed]

Q: Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent? Our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, seems to be regarded as intelligent: Chimpanzees make ...
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2answers
269 views

How does Natural Selection shape Genetic Variation?

Background Importance of the additive genetic variance As stated here, the fundamental theorem of Natural Selection (NS) by Fisher says: The rate of increase in the mean fitness of any organism ...
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2answers
173 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 ...
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1answer
26 views

Difference/similarity between adaptive radiation and species divergence?

I've been reading various answers on different sites but I still don't know whether adaptive radiation and species divergence are different or similar. My questions: 1) On some sites, it says that ...
5
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1answer
247 views

Why would deer continue to cross a river full of crocodiles even though some of them have been killed?

I recently watched a clip on Discovery Channel, where I saw deer crossing a river full of crocodiles, ignoring the fact that some of them would have been killed doing so. Is there a possible ...
5
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0answers
36 views

Is high metabolism linked to high evolutionary turnover?

I recently read The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert T. Bakker, a 1986 popular science book presenting arguments for an active lifestyle and high metabolic rate in dinosaurs. One of the arguments that ...
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2answers
92 views

Why human skin colour disprove natural selection? [duplicate]

Amount of melanin decides the darkness and fairness of skin. The darker the skin is, larger the heat energy it will absorb from sunlight. The lighter the skin is, less will be the heat energy ...
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2answers
200 views

Origin of human intelligence and thought

I've been debating this topic with a friend of mine and we can't get to a common answer. She argues that we don't descend from any Chimpanzee or Orangutan because, if we did, they would also have the ...
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1answer
143 views

What is the origin of prions?

We know something about the origin of the first cell. But what do we know about prions? How did they originate?
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2answers
262 views

Is there any genetic similarity that defy evolution theory?

For example, say species A is common ancestor of B, and C. Species B is a common ancestor of D and E. We would expect that there will be more genetic similarity between D and E than D and C. And ...
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1answer
38 views
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3answers
203 views

Why have parasites not evolved to be harmless?

I have yet to understand why so many viruses or bacteria haven't evolved to be harmless (specifically, I don't know of any harmless virus). I think it would be greatly beneficial for a virus to ...
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0answers
33 views

Diffusion approximation to genetic drift

Textbook I am reading from the classical textbook Principles of Population Genetics, Hartl and Clark (pdf here). Introduction $f(p,x,t)$ is the distribution of allele frequency $x$ at time $t$ ...
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0answers
25 views

Effect of sex-ratio on the effective population size

As stated on this wikipedia article, the effective population size $N_e$ when the sex ratio differs from $\frac{1}{2}$ is $$N_e = \frac{4N_mN_f}{N_m+N_f}$$ I understand the biased sex-ratio ...
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7answers
5k views

How did the first self replicating organism come into existence?

When people try to explain evolution, they tell me that evolution is a cumulative result of mutations & natural section of the more superior individuals of a particular species. I think I'm fairly ...
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2answers
2k views

Why do rabbits often have white hindquarters?

There are several species of herbivores that have a very visible white hindquarters: several kinds of deer, rabbits, antelopes, etc. Does the white fur serve a functional purpose, or is it purely ...
2
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1answer
159 views

Largest direct ancestor of humans

Going back the genealogical lineage from present humans to the beginning of life, what was the biggest - in terms of body size or mass - animal in this sequence? More generally, what would a time vs. ...
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2answers
505 views
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1answer
83 views

What traits make mountain goats so well adapted to mountain living?

I've never really understood how mountain goats manage to survive so well in mountainous regions. I've seen them scale almost sheer cliff faces with apparent ease, and can almost sprint vertically ...
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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 ...
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2answers
188 views

How quantitative is the theory of evolution right now? [closed]

We developed complex structures like eyes and brain, whose mechanisms rely on specific species of molecules and relevant chemical reactions. But we did not develop an enhanced night vision, the ...
5
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2answers
67 views

Do dingos show wolf 'characteristics'?

I've read that Russians have been performing selective breeding on Red Foxes for about fifty years, aiming to make them tame. The wikipedia article says The experiment was initiated by scientists ...
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2answers
734 views

Are fishes evolving?

As far as I know, Fishing has been one of the important occupation since early ages, and infinite number of fishes have already been captured. As the time passes, they must've developed some sort of ...
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1answer
70 views

Is addiction adaptive?

Addiction and addictive traits seem common amongst animals. A pubmed query shows it's been studied in everything from humans to worms. My personal favorite of these is: "Individual Consistency of ...
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2answers
128 views

Have proteins been observed to come into existence through mutations and natural selection?

A protein that catalyzes one reaction can theoretically be modified by mutations and natural selection and eventually catalyze another reaction completely unrelated to the original. Has this been ...
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2answers
56 views

What are the known energy capturing processes in biological systems?

I am not a biologist. I am aware that photosynthesis is the main process for capturing electromagnetic energy from the Sun. Also, I am aware that some bacteria can capture energy from boiling water ...
7
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2answers
204 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
10
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2answers
11k 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 ...
12
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3answers
313 views

Why is green fur not a thing?

In most biomes on earth, and certainly in the most densely-populated, the best camouflage color or pattern for an animal would be a variant of green, so as to blend in with the leaves and grasses of ...
11
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3answers
4k views

What is the evolutionary reason behind the fragility of teeth?

Almost all organs in the human body have a rather large threshold within which the organ or tissue is capable of repairing itself using materials supplied by the body, whether it's made from organic ...
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1answer
52 views

Proof of the equivalence between two ways of defining ESS

Background Two common ways of defining what an Evolutionary Stable Strategy (ESS) are: First definition: Consider a population composed of populations playing two strategies, $\mathbf{p}$ and ...
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1answer
55 views

Why are human immune systems comparatively weaker than other animal immune systems? [closed]

Humans get sick on such a regular basis and animals will hardly ever get sick. Animals are typically exposed to the same pathogens as humans, yet a dog won't have a cold or the flu twice a year, with ...
20
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2answers
848 views

Why is menstruation in wild animals not a disadvantage to organismal survival?

When I watch wilderness specials for more than a few minutes, I notice a familiar pattern: predators are depicted as being alerted by the scent of blood. Wounded animals seem to make the best prey and ...
7
votes
1answer
94 views

What were the first neural systems like?

I'm curious about the origin of the neural network. I'm thinking perhaps once life evolved beyond the single cell organism, it needed a simple neural network to coordinate those cells, and cell ...
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votes
1answer
52 views

Difference between various evolutionary terms [closed]

Could someone kindly explain me the difference between Phylogeny, Phylogenetic Tree, Evolutionary Trees, Phylotype, Clusters, OTU (Open Taxonomic Units). Or if possible please do suggest me a ...