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 don't mammals have more than 4 limbs?

Arthropods have 6 or more limbs and arthropods with 6 limbs appear to move faster than arthropods with 8 limbs so I wonder whether this might have something to do with fast and efficient locomotion. ...
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76 views

Reformulation of Hamilton's rule

Who (and in which article) was the first to reformulate Hamilton's rule using the letters $B$ and $C$?. See below comments on this reformulation. Hamilton, in his 1964's article gave a mathematical ...
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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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248 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and harder and harder) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
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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 ...
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40 views

General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model

I would like to get suggestions for the books related to General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model etc. Specifically the mathematical treatment of these topics and concepts ...
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78 views

Is eating cooked food an evolved behavior or rather an intelligent one, passed down via culture?

I was just eating a rather rare steak when I started wondering whether eating foods cooked was something I would instinctively want to do if the practice hadn't been taught to me. So, is cooking food ...
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87 views

Possibility of Human cloning

Technology has evolved so much as to clone animals. But, what about human cloning? Is it really possible to create humans in lab? Or is it that technology has not advanced to that level..? Why cant ...
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53 views

Duration of selection and survival of the fittest

I feel there is a part of the theory of evolution I'm not understanding correctly or maybe I'm missing it, but would like cleared up. From what I understand, over time random mutations occur which in ...
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237 views

Do any birds beside the family Columbidae (or any reptile or mammal) feed their young “Crop Milk”

Birds from the family Columbidae (e.g., doves and pigeons) produce a fatty, milk-like substance in their crop. The secretion is often referred to as "crop milk." They feed crop milk to their young ...
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87 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
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48 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
34 views

What is different between the pigment of giraffes and the pigment of flowers?

I saw this video created by Derek Muller and he says there that it is very unusual to evolutionary develop the colour of the skin without the pigment. That sounds reasonable but if so, what nutrients ...
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200 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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109 views

How can natural selection occur at species level whilst not occuring at the individual level?

The chapter by Douglas Futuyma in 'Evolution' (Losos et al 2013, Princeton) states that natural selection can occur at the species level. Futuyma states that if natural selection occurs at the species ...
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97 views

Interpretation of graph from evolutionary biology

I am studying evolutionary biology, and been presented with this graph: I am having some difficulties understand its meaning. For a start, why is time measured as a fraction of the population size? ...
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1answer
303 views

Like other animals, why humans don't have species & breeds?

Like other animals, why don't humans have species & breeds ? Even my pet dog is one type of breed, but we (humans) lack breeds & species? What is the main reason?
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46 views

Is there an association between environmental and mutational robustness?

The robustness of a genotype is the ability of this genotype to resist (always produce the same phenotype) to various parameters such as mutations and environment. The ability of a genotype to resist ...
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78 views

Linkage disequilibrium with multiple alleles and loci

Linkage disequilibrium $\left(D\right)$ for two bi-allelic loci is defined as: $$D=X_{11}X_{22} - X_{12}X_{21}$$ where $X_{11},\ X_{12},\ X_{21},\ X_{22}$ are the frequencies of the haplotypes ...
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205 views

Why are there no tree-like plants that grow in lakes?

Looking at aerial photos of boreal forests, with dense woods clear-cut by quiet lakes, I wondered why exactly are the woods so clear-cut at the edge of water? Why won't trees develop adaptations that ...
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29 views

Testing monophyly from per site log-likelihoods without optimising branch lengths

How can I obtain per site log-likelihoods for a topology against an alignment without optimising branch lengths? (which software can I use to do this) Per site log-likelihoods can be used for various ...
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49 views

What are parental antagonism & parental conflict?

I've been reading the chapter by Haig et al in The Genetics and Biology of Sexual Conflict. I think this chapter has them quite unclearly defined. Could anyone describe these two phenomenon more ...
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728 views

Why do plants fruit?

This is a two-part question: What is the point of fruit if not to be eaten? It’s is my understanding that organisms will adapt to survive and thrive. I understand that being eaten can spread seeds, ...
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290 views

Why does sex last so long?

I wonder why (especially human) sex lasts longer than just a few seconds? My thought is that the shorter it takes a man to ejaculate, the lesser is the risk that he gets interrupted by a rival or a ...
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Are there any known mutual symbiotic relationships that has more than two agents?

We are all familiar with the examples of symbiotic relationships in nature consisting of two agents, like lichen or the co-evolvement between certain birds and flowering plants. Do we know of any ...
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80 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 ...
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162 views

Do wolves bury food like dogs?

Many breeds of domestic dogs seem to like burying food, presumably in preparation for leaner times. Assuming that dogs evolved from animals similar to the modern wolves through a mix of natural and ...
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833 views

Which sex has higher variance of reproductive rate in modern societies - male or females?

Who has a more varied reproduction rate in modern western societies - men or women? The average rate is the same of course, but I wonder which sex have higher variance - higher variance means that ...
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32 views

Is genetic drift necessarily deleterious?

I read that genetic drift is random variation in the relative allele frequencies of a population. This question however seems to pin genetic drift down to increasing deleterious allele ...
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53 views

Comparative leg sizes

When I was a child, my father showed me the classic essay "On Being the Right Size", J. B. S. Haldane. It talks (among other things) about how large animals need stockier legs to support their ...
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48 views

Confusion regarding niches in evolution theory

This is the definition of a niche from Crash Course: An area of the environment that requires a special set of skills or traits to extract food and reproduce. Obviously, this version of the ...
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79 views

Why don't fish groom each other?

Fish are often plagued by external parasites, which are presumably difficult for them to remove. There are well known cases where large fish come to coral reefs and allow smaller fish to pick off ...
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60 views

Definitions of robustness and canalization

The concepts of robustness and canalization are fashionable today in the biology literature. However, I am not sure of their definitions and I am not sure either that all authors actually use the same ...
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119 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material (Big genome size)? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and ...
4
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71 views

Drake's Law. What is the genome-wide mutation rate and what are the estimates?

Drake's rule Drake's rule states that the genome-wide mutation rate is more or less constant across all species — from E.coli to the house sparrow. Data From what I think being Drake's original ...
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263 views

Why did humans lose their fur?

The little amount of body hair humans have don't seem to be of much use for keeping warm. Our Simian cousins on the other hand sport thick furs. At which point during the species evolution and why ...
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39 views

Why are the genomes of some trees so large?

For example, the current longest known genome belongs to a tree: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-largest-genome-ever-sequenced-belongs-to-a-tree I have heard that this could potentially be ...
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1answer
762 views

How do I calculate the change in allele frequency in a haploid population under selection?

From this book For simplicity, let us consider a haploid organism and assume that the frequencies of alleles $A_1$ and $A_2$ are given by $x$ and $y=1-x$, respectively. We also assume that the ...
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111 views

Hill-Roberston effects and effective population size

From this article, first page, middle of the second column: Even if harmful alleles do not become fixed, they can still reduce the efficacy of selection on neighbouring loci through a process ...
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366 views

Why is the strength of genetic drift inversely proportional to the population size?

I saw a concept on the Internet that says "the strength of genetic drift is inversely proportional to the population size". I don't know why they are inversely proportional? Can somebody explain? ...
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1answer
41 views

Does sociality evolved before or after the ability of motility?

According to book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions o Evolution. (Lane, N.;2010), Motility has indeed transformed life on earth in ways that are not immediately apparent, from the ...
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Why are there no wheeled animals?

In physics, "almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few unimportant holes." (See Jolly.) Therefore, on Physics SE, people are veering off into different directions: ...
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750 views

Which came first: The Chicken or the Egg? [closed]

Has there been any serious scientific inquiries into answering this age old question?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the progressive evolutionary advantage that leads to flying?

As far as I understand, all life started as non-flying and flying came about by natural selection. What is the evolutionary advantageous "path" to flying? Or is there something else to explain this?
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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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152 views

Are fish and reptilian scales homologous?

Wikipedia: Fish scales are dermally derived, specifically in the mesoderm. This fact distinguishes them from reptile scales paleontologically. So aren't reptilia scales also dermally derived?
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How prominent is the gene-centric view of evolution among professional researchers?

Richard Dawkins famously advocated a gene-centric (as opposed to organism-centric) viewpoint on natural selection, most notably in The Extended Phenotype. However, I have also heard "on the grapevine" ...
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Is there any complex organism that is both autotroph and heterotroph?

Possibility also include "adaptation mode" if such exist. I don't discern whether autotrophic/heterotrophic part play only minor role either.