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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Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I've seen some articles which came in contradiction with each other. The first article was talking about flying dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathers and so on. A couple of other articles are talking ...
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69 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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1answer
45 views

What is the difference between these terms: clade, monophyletic group and taxon?

Wikipedia definitions for these terms are pretty similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monophyletic_group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxon They sound like the ...
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1answer
86 views

What is the evolutionary cause for various finger lengths?

Why are the lengths the way they are with middle finger the longest?
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1answer
70 views

Evolution of Chromosome Numbers

Some species have different numbers of chromosomes, as we all know. Throughout evolution, how was a species able to survive with an extra chromosome? How was this organism able to breed successfully ...
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55 views

Can animals distinguish other animals? [closed]

Are animals able to tell the difference between other animals. I dont mean like a cat seeing a dog and thinking "Oh no its a dog". I mean how does prey distinguish predator or threat? Say for instance ...
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3answers
5k views

Evolutionarily speaking, why do humans have 46 chromosomes

In humans, each cell normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Monkeys, chimpanzees, and Apes have 24 pairs (twenty-four pairs), for a total of 48. What caused humans to have 46? ...
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1answer
42 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 ...
7
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3answers
719 views

What is the difference between a circular and a cat's-eye 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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35 views

Inbreeding depression and dominance

From this article, second paragraph of the second page A classic theoretical result is that the mean of a character controlled by a single locus $i$ with two alleles $A_{i1}$ and $A_{i2}$ is only ...
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3answers
126 views

Why do our eyes close when we sleep?

Why do our eyes close when we sleep? Is it to relax our eye muscles? How can it be explained from an evolutionary point of view?
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2answers
59 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for the black spots around a pandas eyes?

I couldn't seem to find one elsewhere, at least not with a scientific source. It would seem as it's quite a striking feature there would be an advantage it would infer.
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1answer
84 views

“selective pressure” or “selection pressure”?

Editing a manuscript of mine, a co-author changes "selection pressure" to "selective pressure". Are those two terms interchangeable? Or are there subtle differences that I'm not aware of? The ...
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0answers
33 views

Study case of the inheritance system of Oenothera

I've been told some interesting facts about oenothera. Apparently in this species some lineages have been through some translocations and in results to these translocations and in consequence, some ...
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29 views

How important is the womb's environment?

Background Talking about one particular phenotypic trait, the total phenotypic variance $V_p$ is decomposed into genetic and environmental variance for this trait, represented by the symbols $V_G$ ...
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3answers
29k views

What is the difference between orthologs, paralogs and homologs?

These three terms are often misused in the literature. Many researchers seem to treat them as synonyms. So, what is the definition of each of these terms and how do they differ from one another?
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23 views

Series of exercices on population structure (population genetics)

I am seeking for a series of exercices (with solutions if possible) concerning population structure. I am particularly interested in exercices that involve indices such as $F_{ST}$, $F_{IT}$, ...
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1answer
159 views

Evolution and the levels of selection

Reading Okasha's "Evolution and the levels of selection" he talks about "the levels of selection problem." There is a bit of a problem with this opening chapter because, while he talks about why the ...
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4answers
2k views

Why are there exactly four nucleobases in DNA?

Does someone know why DNA is composed of four nucleobases? In particular, is there an explanation for the number? Why four and not two, or eight?
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3answers
125 views

Has it been enough time for evolution through simple natural selection?

Let first state that I understand natural selection. I am not asking if evolution happened. I see evolution as a fact, but I do not assume the current theory of natural selection as fact. I wonder if ...
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56 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for depression?

Evolutionarily speaking, depression (both clinical depression and temporary sadness) is a curious phenomenon. Since being depressed is likely to increase the chance of a person with it to commit ...
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3answers
717 views

What evolutionary explanations are there for death?

I know death and cancer doesn't hurt humans' reproductive success. It's not helping either. Why do we die? Why dying humans (all of us) are common? What's the point of dying?
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1answer
53 views

How does Oedipus complex fit in the evolutionary theory? [closed]

This is somthing that really makes me curious. How is posible that trough a evolution process the best posible candidate is the one that falls in love whith his progenitor?
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1answer
74 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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2answers
234 views

Correlation between genome size and mutation rate?

Martin Nowak in his book "Evolutionary Dynamics" talks about a given correlation between genome size and mutation rate. What correlation does exactly exist between these two concepts? Is it a ...
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2answers
116 views

If not intelligent design, what is an alternative scientific theory to evolution? [closed]

In the popular culture, Intelligent Design is often portrayed as trying to be an alternate theory to evolution. However, as the following question points out, it is not scientific, and so cannot be ...
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7answers
4k views

Why does evolution not make our life longer?

Why does evolution not make life longer for humans or any other species?
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4answers
173 views

Does evolution take place universally?

Why does evolution (namely the evolution of primates into humans) take place both uniformly and universally on the earth? Why aren't there any creatures who have not taken the same evolutionary steps ...
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1answer
53 views

Coefficient of relationship and path of coefficient

A path of coefficient of relationship is defined as $$\rho_{AO} = \left( \frac{1}{2}\right)^n \sqrt { \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O}}$$ This SE post discusses this definition From this, the coefficient of ...
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2answers
140 views

Why is venom more common in fish and snakes than other vertebrates?

Reading this question, I wondered why is it that we associate vertebrate venoms so often with snakes and fish, and more rarely with lizards, amphibians, mammals, and birds (apparently never, in ...
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1answer
35 views

evolution and mutation of microrganisms against medicines?

I presume microorganisms would have very short life span and they would multiply more creating millions of their kind. Is it really a threat to consider when we use anibiotics and other stuff more ...
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2answers
65 views

Viruses: Adaptation to a new host through repeated host jumps

A friend told me, during a 3 minute discussion, that viruses that are endemic in host $A$ and make repeated jumps to host $B$ but can't be transmitted between individuals of species $B$, may slowly ...
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1answer
46 views

Defining: Evolutionary (quantitative) Genetics and Population Genetics

How do we define the fields that are Evolutionary (quantitative) genetics and population genetics. What set these two fields apart? Can you try to provide definitions? To my intuitive understanding, ...
6
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2answers
214 views

How Sex Evolved ? and when?

As I know evolution comes bit by bit mutation by mutation How sex evolved which requires a major change in at least two individuals one to become male and one to become female ? When that happened ...
3
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2answers
246 views

How are two species with similar phenotypes identified as different?

How are two species with similar phenotypes identified as different? Have two different individuals that were thought to be different species ever been determined to be from the same species ( or ...
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110 views

Which was the last significant event in human evolution? What's next?

At 10.000 BC (12 ka), we became the last of the Homo species on Earth. In evolutionary terms this is a very little time range to something happen, but I'm wondering anyway, in this meantime which are ...
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35 views

Effects of Genetic Drift on Linkage Disequilibrium

From what I understood of @Canadianer's answer here... Genetic drift randomly causes negative or positive linkage disequilibria, by changing allele frequencies through random sampling. Natural ...
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3answers
87 views

Many spermatozoa, but just one ovum

Why do men produce so much spermatozoa, that will get discarded, but women, just ovulum, but it's a good one. Couldn't men produce good spermatozoa as a limited edition? Where is the evolutionary ...
2
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1answer
127 views

Why do genetic drift generates negative linkage disequilibrium?

The very first sentence of the abstract of this article are: "In finite populations subject to selection, genetic drift generates negative linkage disequilibrium, on average, even if selection ...
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1answer
129 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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1answer
95 views

Are people genetically predisposed to being interested in specific fields/ideas? How does specialization occur?

I'm not sure if I formulated my question well, but I'm curious about a couple statements made by Steven Pinker and and James Heckman. In this interview: ...
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1answer
45 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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22 views

Source of information on the evolution of aging/senescence

Do you know a good review (published peer-reviewed or an online course or whatever) that offers a good overview of all hypothesis explaining the various patterns linked with aging? I'd like this ...
2
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1answer
358 views

Advantage of being deuterostome

We know that most of the so called "Advanced" organisms are deuterostomes (i.e., development of gut starts from anus). Is there any evolutionary advantage of that? If not, why and how did it evolve?
4
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78 views

Model for fluctuating selection

Is there any mathematical model to predict the behaviour and long-term consequence of counter-acting selection at different time scale? For example, let's consider the bi-allelic gene $A$, with ...
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0answers
49 views

Effect of natural selection on phenotypic variance

Short background Theoretically speaking, natural selection causes a decrease in genetic variance and because the environmental variance should remain unchanged, natural selection causes a decrease of ...
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1answer
109 views

Population genetics and the fitness probability distribution. Why is the arithmetic mean all we need?

When recording change in allele frequency in diploid, bi-allelic, infinite and panmixic population we usually use this kind of equation: $\delta_p = \frac{p * q *( p (w11 - w12) + q * (w12 - ...
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2answers
58 views

Book recommendations for evolutionary models

I was recently working on getting a statistical model of a DNA sequence. To do this I found that understanding evolution quantitatively seems to be quite important. I would really appreciate any book ...
2
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1answer
101 views

Why haven't land animals evolved beyond urination?

It occurred to me (while urinating) that this would seem to be selected against because water is a scarce resource. Why are we constantly losing water we don't need to through urination? What is ...
2
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1answer
52 views

List of heritability estimates in humans?

Many people on this site ask questions that directly or indirectly have to do with heritability in human. Do you know a list of estimates of heritability of various traits in humans? Or could you try ...