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 didn't animals evolve wheels for locomotion on land? [duplicate]

It seems that our technology heavily favors wheels for the locomotion of machines over land, but evolution came up with legs instead. The following assumptions might be wrong, I'm merely speculating, ...
4
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1answer
63 views

Visualising a subset of the tree of life

I understand that many curated trees of life already exist (eg http://tolweb.org/tree/) but is there any website that allows one to input a list of organisms, and then produce the current best guess ...
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2answers
75 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 ...
8
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1answer
144 views

Why aren't green eyes more prevalent?

Why aren't green eyes more prevalent, given that the green allele is dominant over the blue one? My understanding is that human eye colour is determined by two genes: 1) HERC2, with alleles Bx, BB ...
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0answers
29 views

Why does death exist? [duplicate]

The biological purpose of an organism is to reproduce and as soon as reproductive age is passed, aging kicks in and eventually leads to death. (This is what I learned from a gerontologist.) But then, ...
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1answer
83 views

What evolutionary advantages are provided by ovoviviparity?

I read that some sharks are ovoviviparous. What advantages and disadvantages are provided by this type of reproduction as opposed to egg laying and live birth?
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3answers
123 views

Why are the fertility rates of large predators kept low?

Predators at the top of a food chain, like lions, seem to have a relatively low fertility rate, which fits well to the ecosystem and avoids overpredation. But what is the mechanism that keeps the ...
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0answers
101 views

First documented beneficial mutation?

I've been reading up on beneficial mutations, and am curious when we discovered and documented the first one. Can anyone point me to the first documented beneficial mutation? Per request, let me ...
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0answers
26 views

Do Parasaurolophus have hands with fingers to grab?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasaurolophus#mediaviewer/File:Parasaurolophus_cyrtocristatus.jpg I cannot tell if the hands have fingers strung together to form a hove, or fingers to grab. I have ...
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0answers
53 views

Up to date, extensive documentary about dinosaurs?

I just finished reading the Wikipedia page about dinosaurs, and I very much enjoyed it. I knew that much of what I learned in the 80's as a child is (and was) incorrect, and now that I am a parent, I ...
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1answer
64 views

Why do the proportion of predators increase at mass extinction events?

Why does predation surge with mass extinction? It is caused by extreme selective pressures over resource competition that forces certain species to adapt to predatory niches?
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5answers
547 views

Relationship Between Evolution and the Increase of Entropy of Earth

I was confronted by this question: Biological evolution of life on Earth, from simple prokaryote-like cells to large, multicellar eukaryotic organisms, A) has occurred in accordance with the laws ...
3
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1answer
113 views

Which of the two mitochondorial membranes relate to bacteria according to the endosymbiotic theory?

I seached for endosymbiotic theory in Wiki and I found this about endosymbiotic theory: Symbiogenesis, or endosymbiotic theory, is an evolutionary theory which explains the origin of eukaryotic ...
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0answers
47 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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1answer
21 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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1answer
80 views

Why do humans have eyebrows? [closed]

Why do humans have eyebrows? It seems that it isn't necessary but only humans have them, correct? So what is the use of them for humans? I hear that they protect our eyes. However, isn't that what ...
2
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1answer
62 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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0answers
46 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 ...
2
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1answer
231 views

Cell evolution: immortality vs reproduction

Many sci fi movies produce interesting ideas and technologies that we seem to be able to realize in real life at some point. "Lucy" was not one of those movies. But Morgan Freeman's speech in the ...
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1answer
58 views

Which came first in hominid evolution: language or bipedalism? [closed]

I suspect both language-use and upright-posture have anatomical consequences. So does the fossil record show which came first? NOTE: To the folks who marked this question "homework": This is ...
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2answers
84 views

Why asexual reproduction?

When I took a course on genetics and evolution, I learned that recombination and sexual reproduction is advantageous compared to asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction allows more combinations of ...
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2answers
91 views

What does to “evolve” exactly mean? [closed]

In this article, the author says: Evolution isn’t “leading up” to anything, it just drunkenly limps along using the same set of tricks in slightly different orders. On other occasions, however, ...
4
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1answer
75 views

A colony of humans are sent to an alien world, at what point would the descendants evolve to be genetically incompatible with Earth humans? [closed]

I recently heard about the evolution of the London Underground mosquitoes, and how they have changed genetically enough that they almost can no longer reproduce with above ground mosquitos. Since this ...
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1answer
116 views

Why can't we call dog breeds different species?

I understand this question might fall into opinion based, but I'm trying to write it so that it meets the "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience" part and not ...
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1answer
44 views

Is there any knowledge of physics can be applied in to evolution?

I have asked a similar question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), but it just about organisms and ecosystems, not evolution. After watching ...
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0answers
56 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 ...
3
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1answer
63 views

Mutation Rate in Multicellular Eukaryotes

I always hear people saying that the mutation rate is around $10^{-6}$ or $10^{-7}$. I don't even know if this number is the mutation rate of genes or of a single nucleotides and I actually (almost) ...
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2answers
155 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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3answers
218 views

Why did humans become bipedal?

Somewhere in evolutionary history homo started walking upright and became bipedal. You hear these hypotheses that, by walking upright, they could see better across the grassy savannas to escape ...
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0answers
48 views

Why do we have butt hair? [duplicate]

Why do we have hair on our butts? From what I understand, hair is generally used for warmth, but it seems like our buttox would be one of the last places on our body that would need warmth. Moreover, ...
10
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3answers
173 views

Formation of Life

Originally, life evolved from non-living matter. Why is life only generated from other life nowadays, and why doesn't it evolve from inanimate matter, like it did originally billions of years ago, ...
7
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1answer
64 views

Hamilton's derivation of direct fitness from his 1970 paper

In his 1970 paper "Selfish and Spiteful Behaviour in an Evolutionary Model", Hamilton uses Price's equation to derive his well-known rule $rb -c >0$. My question is about one of the steps in his ...
3
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1answer
61 views

Fecundity per woman in early humans

The average fecundity per woman varies a lot from country to country. I call average fecundity per woman the average number of born children per woman. In Homo sapiens, what was the average fecundity ...
2
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0answers
37 views

How does the population fitness changes after a change in mutation rate

The mean population fitness as given by mutation load theory depends only on the genome-wide mutation rate ($U$). My question is: how many generations is needed to reach a new mutation load ...
4
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4answers
152 views

Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?

Short summary I am a researcher in origins of life, a field that deals with hypotheses about evolutionary processes that took place before LUCA (the last universal common ancestor), and with the ...
4
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2answers
157 views

Phylogenetics and the Tree of Life

As far as I understand, evolution is nowadays pretty much analyzed through phylogenetic trees, that is cladograms. These are constructed using the available records and taking some key structures and ...
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9answers
5k views

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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54 views

The skin color of bonobos

Why is that bonobos skin color on the areas not covered by hair are dark throughout life unlike the chimpanzee?
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1answer
150 views

The origin of molecular machines

DNA holds genetic information and holds the key to the evolution of living organisms. Transcription and translation mechanisms enable living cells to process information encoded in DNA. To that end, ...
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0answers
31 views

How much difference in genome is enough to prevent interbreeding? [closed]

I am not a biologist. I am a software developer interested in genetic algorithms therefore i am probably talking to biologists who also have a knowledge of genetic algorithms. I need to "breed" ...
6
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1answer
59 views

How does the body “know” how to metabolize foreign substances

As a freshman biochemistry major, I find myself befuddled by our body's ability to perform complex chemical reactions to break down foreign substances. I can see how we would evolve explicit pathways ...
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1answer
105 views

Can someone help me analyze this article?

I need to read this article — "Beyond the rainbow" by Marie-Claire Koschowitz et al., for an exam. Following are some questions for which I could not figure the answer out after reading. 1) Why ...
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3answers
124 views

Evolutionary chronology - if any, which species have evolved in the last 100 years

I heared somewhere, I cannot remember where, that there has not been an evolution observed in our lifetime. In life science class, right at the start, we was doing the usual MRSGREN (how to tell if ...
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3answers
169 views

Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
1
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1answer
40 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 ...
1
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1answer
120 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 ...
8
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3answers
94 views

Evolution: One big population vs. many small populations

Let's say I want to evolve a bacterium that is resistant to an antibiotic. I want to do this by growing initially clonal populations of bacteria in presence of this antibiotic for a long time. I have ...
10
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2answers
147 views

Is there any evolutionary advantage of selection of L-amino acid over D-amino acid?

After listening to a scientific talk, I had this question that why in the natural selection process, are the L-amino acids selected over the D- form. However, we still we produce D-amino acids; ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the evolutionary purpose of white spots in nails and how can they be characterised due to Leukonychia? [closed]

Suppose you haven't hit your nails so the white spots are due to Leukonychia. Are the discoloration i.e. the white spots due to lower porosity (less minerals absorbing) or some other factor? I ...
0
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1answer
43 views

Would humans eventually evolve to fight off fatal diseases if we didn't treat/vaccinate for them? [duplicate]

I am definitely pro vaccination, and the question is a bit morbid because people would die, but assuming that we didn't treat or vaccinate people for fatal diseases such as Ebola or the black death, ...