Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, migration, drift, and selection.

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Symmetry of species [duplicate]

I've got a silly question, sorry for that. I know, that we probably have no the right answer and the current answer could be "that's evolution, external conditions". I'd like to speculate, why most of ...
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2answers
88 views

Evolution of spider webs?

Web making seems like a fairly complex behavior built from a pretty strong material. So how exactly did it evolve? Do we have any clues about what kind of features/behaviors preceded web making and ...
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1answer
100 views

How does the value of K determine number of local optima in NK model?

BACKGROUND The NK model of fitness landscape considers N states which can interact with K other states. For example N is the total number of genes in a haploid genome and K is the number of other ...
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1answer
60 views

What makes animal to continually reproduce? [closed]

I was reading about Trypophobia and reached to Surinam Toad's reproduction methods. Then I had this doubt- Why would animals want to reproduce so much? In case of humans we mostly have the offsprings ...
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1answer
77 views

What are some useful (starter) metrics to use on phylogenetic trees?

Im doing a computational biology project in which I simulate evolution under different inheritance rulesets and I am generating phylogenetic trees (beautifully visualised in python with ete3, which I ...
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0answers
16 views

Are Betaproteobacteria more 'simple' than Gammaproteobacteria?

More generally, are all proteobacteria named in order of complexity (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon)? If so, would it be right to say that Betaproteobacteria can survive in lower nutrition / more ...
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3answers
495 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, ...
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1answer
514 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
214 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 ...
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2answers
162 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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136 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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2answers
65 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
580 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
4k 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
3k 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
103 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
133 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
73 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 ...
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1answer
107 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
322 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
199 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
189 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
255 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 ...
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0answers
49 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
120 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
209 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
163 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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276 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
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6k 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
203 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
576 views
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74 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 ...
5
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2answers
73 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
755 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
80 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
130 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
73 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 ...
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2answers
214 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 ...
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2answers
15k 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 ...
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3answers
398 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 ...
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1answer
56 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
100 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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
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1answer
114 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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1answer
57 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 ...
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4answers
4k views

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: ...
4
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4answers
2k views

How did this spider evolve to mimic exactly a human face and arms?

So I came across something terribly amazing today, that is, a video showing this species of peacock-spider, that literally, transforms into a human face waving his arms about. What could have ...