Tagged Questions

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

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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73 views

How closely related are two parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis?

How closely related (from the evolutional point of view) are parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis? Giardia genome is about 12 Mb and its major cellular proceses are rather simple. ...
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What is the “Spandrels” debate about?

In a former question, as a side question, I asked a clarification about the "Spandrels" paper. Being not a biologist, it was the first time I encoutered it. Subsequently I tried to collect some ...
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1answer
79 views

Why do baby mammals tend to play?

Why do babies of any mammal tend to play ? From humans to small dog pups, cubs of a lion, baby bears, etc. *I am not sure if the tag I chose is correct or not. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Evolution 15 + 15 [closed]

If I flap my hands for say, about 1hr everyday, and I teach my future children to repeat this and so on, theoretically (at least), how many generations would it take for my grand [sons ...] to be ...
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76 views

Did spiders respond to light for building webs before artificial light was invented?

I have noticed that during summer, beautiful spider colonies grow wherever a strong light is: I'm wonder whether spiders evolved to seek naturally lighted areas where they build nests (before ...
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3answers
627 views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
5
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1answer
31 views

Components of the concept of Developmental Noise?

Developmental noise is a concept that correspond to the amount of possible phenotypic variance of a given genotype in a given environment. Intrinsic noise (aka Cellular noise) is a component of ...
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2answers
67 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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79 views

Conscious evolution

Does intelligence play a vital role in the evolution of an organism? In other words does an expansion of learning capacity increase the odds of evolution for the particular biological entity?
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0answers
43 views

How does Natural Selection Shapes 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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1answer
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What does “Mutational Variance” mean?

Background The concept of mutational variance can be found in many articles including this one for example. The mutational variance of a trait number $i$ can be found in the M-matrix in position ...
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2answers
135 views

Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
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2answers
103 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

Thanks for looking. I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who ...
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1answer
135 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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7answers
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Is there a biological mechanism for evolution encoded into our DNA?

Throughout high school, I remember learning about Darwin's theory of evolution as if it were near-fact. But something always seemed wrong about the ideas presented. Survival of the fittest Random ...
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1answer
33 views

Is there any evidence that soft tissue can be preserved for 65m+ years and if not what hypotheses exist to explain it?

I read an article on howstuffworks.com and they mentioned how we have found soft tissue in dinosaurs. According to the article even Mummies and Mammoths have no soft tissue left. Is there any evidence ...
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0answers
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Evolution of sexually concordant genetic variation on the X-chromosome

It was theorised in 1984 that sexually antagonistic genetic (SA) variation should more easily evolve on the X-chromosome. This is partly because female beneficial/male deleterious mutations face less ...
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Does the Y chromosome carry structural information, or only switches + traceable ID?

The Y chormosome almost doesn't crossover with the X chromosome, and so the evolution of anything it encodes must be much slower, because by the Hill–Robertson effect beneficial mutations must occur ...
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What prevents this blue lobster from becoming dominant?

Like everyone else in the world I saw the blue crustacean from becoming dominant? I would think the blue camo would be an evolution advantage.
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1answer
77 views

Main mechanism of the evolution of sexual dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is very common and (normally) requires the evolution of sex-specific genetic variation/regulation so the genetic correlation between the sexes can be <1. Is there consensus as to ...
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1answer
98 views

When did CRISPR/Cas9 evolve and what is the likelihood that a superior system for live cell genome editing has already evolved on earth since then?

I've read that CRISPR/Cas9 is currently being implemented and tested for its ability to edit genomes in live cells, and that it is supplanting other genome editing tools in labs, such as TALENs and ...
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1answer
100 views

What are the atmospheric requirements for large dinosaurs?

What are the atmospheric requirements for large dinosaurs? and are the atmospheric constituents for supporting large dinosaurs any different from the atmosphere today?
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1answer
33 views

What can myelination tell you about the evolution of sensory receptors?

I am reading Avi Chaudhuri's Fundamentals of Sensory Perception and wondering if the information given about the somatosensory system could tell us anything about the way it evolved. It seems (at ...
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1answer
79 views

Does the fossil record disprove Evolution? [closed]

It is said by people opposed to Evolution, that the fossil record contradicts and disproves it. They say all the animals suddenly appeared, exploded everywhere, were fully formed, had no transitions, ...
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1answer
75 views

Why are recombination rates increasing in mammals?

I have recently become fascinated with an awesome topic in biology and evolution that I feel is rarely covered in biology courses. That is, rates of meiotic recombination, or the the amount that an ...
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3answers
123 views

What is the point of having evolved two nostrils?

How would having two nostrils be advantageous to your sense of smell or your ability to breath? I already hypothesized that either one of the nostrils could act as a back up for when another gets ...
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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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1answer
225 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: $Question:$ ...
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1answer
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If evolution is a gradual and continuous process, how can we say humans came about 200k years ago? What is so special about that point in time?

It just seems arbitrary to me to say "ok, now THIS is officially a human" when you could look at its parents and find no noticeable differences. At no point in the line of my ancestral history is ...
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1answer
63 views

What's the purpose of colorful mushrooms' caps?

What's the purpose for many mushrooms to have colorful caps? Is not it is in their interest to hide as well as possible? Or there are mushrooms that propagate by being eaten, like fruits? Why not all ...
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2answers
82 views

Convergent evolution of fruits

Many fruits are not homologous, originating from different parts of a plant. Yet they all have similar properties: Ripe fruits all have yellow to dark red color They all have a lot of water and ...
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2answers
100 views

Human Evolution in Modern Times

I understand that evolution occurred to form the current hominids from a common ancestor millions of years ago. As evolutionary processes take a long time, is there proof of evolution occurring with ...
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1answer
233 views

Why Did 6 Great Ape Species Survive But Only 1 Hominid Species?

My dad asked this question when I explained some circumstances surrounding Homo sapiens survival against all odds. We know there is only one hominid species left in the world, Homo sapiens. We also ...
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309 views

Extinction of species

I barely know anything about biology and realize that this might be a stupid question, but I'll ask anyway! I know that species "transform" into other species through the process of evolution. Many ...
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3answers
83 views

Is there an evolutionary purpose to armpit perspiration?

Given that most Americans seem to do fine using anti-perspirant, it got me wondering: is there an evolutionary purpose to underarm perspiration? I can't imagine it acts to attract the opposite sex. ...
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2answers
74 views

Questions about the Evolution Theory [closed]

I'm trying to understand more about evolution theory. (I am coming from a mathematical background) What i understand till now is that the "improvement" of the dna is a purely random development and ...
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2answers
52 views

Conservation Genetics - Book recommendations

Can you please give me some advice for a book in (evolutionary) conservation genetics that offers an in-depth review of the mathematical formulations used in this field. I read the book Evolutionary ...
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3answers
358 views

What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...
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0answers
59 views

How to track and describe the evolution of a gene?

So I have a project student (undergraduate) who has been assigned a project to study the evolution of a gene (and possibly related genes) through species. I am not an evolutionary biologist, and hence ...
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1answer
29 views

Periods of Heavy Speciation

I have a set of microRNA ages with corresponding labels suggesting which clade they first emerged from. For instance, for hsa-mir-1, let's say, it would have an age of Eutheria. I have several peaks ...
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1answer
64 views

Why do Mangoes have a single large seed, and not multiple small ones?

I was just thinking about this, wouldn't it make more sense for a mango to have multiple seeds, as it would allow more seed propagation?
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1answer
30 views

Does documentation exist that shows the evolutionary connection between common horses and the okapi?

I'm trying to put together some documentation on the relation between the common (modern) horse and the okapi. I've found a tree that shows that connection but it has no references. I'm hoping that ...
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1answer
65 views

Gender and age-specific mutation rate in plants

Background General concept According to Cochran and Harpending (2013), mothers transmits on average a number $x$ of new mutations to their offspring. This number $x$ is independent of the age of the ...
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1answer
52 views

Horizontal gene transfer versus convergent evolution

There are several often noted examples of convergent evolution (eyes, bat/bird wing evolution etc.) How do we rule out horizontal gene transfer in these cases?
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3answers
95 views

How did the horned lizard evolve?

It's a lizard that has the ability to burst blood vessels in it's eyes and shoot blood as self defense. How can this behavior be explained evolutionary? Wouldn't it mean that there had to be some ...
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5answers
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Why are there species instead of a continuum of various animals?

As I understand it, various animal traits have to evolve gradually, but what happens to the species that are "neither here nor there"? To put it differently, if a species evolved from another, it did ...
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3answers
204 views

Where are the evolutionary “inbetweeners”? [closed]

The problem I've always had with evolution is the actual lack of variation between animals. More specifically, the lack of observable gradual change between species. Take for example the hammerhead ...
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1answer
99 views

Lost Ability to Regenerate Body Parts during the Transition from Amphibians to Mammals

Why have higher-order animals lost the ability to regenerate body parts during evolution? Wouldn't it be better for survival? What is the evolutionary theory behind it?
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Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

It is known from theoretician in the field of kin selection that kin selection (inclusive fitness theory) and group selection are actually two sides of the same coin. In other words, these two ...