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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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 ...
8
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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
187 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
564 views
3
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72 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 ...
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2answers
200 views

How quantitative is the theory of evolution right now? [closed]

We developed complex structures like eyes and brain, whose mechanisms rely on specific species of molecules and relevant chemical reactions. But we did not develop an enhanced night vision, the ...
5
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2answers
72 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 ...
10
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2answers
747 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 ...
6
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1answer
77 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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
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2answers
67 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 ...
8
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2answers
213 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 ...
10
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2answers
14k 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 ...
12
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3answers
375 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 ...
11
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3answers
4k views

What is the evolutionary reason behind the fragility of teeth?

Almost all organs in the human body have a rather large threshold within which the organ or tissue is capable of repairing itself using materials supplied by the body, whether it's made from organic ...
4
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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 ...
-3
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1answer
82 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 ...
21
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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 ...
-1
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1answer
56 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 ...
50
votes
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 ...
7
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4answers
311 views

How does Darwinian Evolution work?

Let me explain... A friend and I read some articles, part of a Biology book, and watched a video on evolution. We then tried to explain what Evolution is to each other. My friend said that Natural ...
29
votes
8answers
538 views

Has there been any observation of species adapting the evolution process?

I am very interested in the evolution of the evolution process itself. There are of course a lot of things that influence how evolution will work, but for this question, I am interested in things that ...
1
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1answer
7k views

Cats, Dogs and Bears - how are they related?

What is the ancestral relationship between cats, dogs and bears? I presume they are more closely related to one another than other paraphyletic clades of mammal. Which came first? What did their ...
3
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1answer
203 views

Does modern theory of evolution include modification of physical environment?

Does any branch of modern evolution theories include aspects of evolving organisms modifying the physical environment? An example from the evolution of life could be early stage introduction of ...
2
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1answer
229 views

Did modern alligators and caimans come from prehistoric crocodiles?

I know that crocodilians have been here since the time of the dinosaurs. I also know that crocodiles came first. But alligators have been here for a good 37 million years. Did alligators come from ...
9
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1answer
203 views

What do we know about the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA)?

All life on Earth (bacteria, archaea, eukarya) is thought to have evolved from a common ancestor, or last universal common ancestor (LUCA). What do we know about the characteristics of LUCA based upon ...
2
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1answer
49 views

What is the difference between the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Synthesis?

The NCBI talks about "Evolution beyond neo-Darwinism: a new conceptual framework." (source). What is the difference between the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Synthesis?
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0answers
163 views

Why are hybrid offspring mostly sterile? [closed]

Hybrid infertility is a common trait in cross-species offspring. Most are sterile, as they do not produce viable gametes. Examples of this can include Ligers and Mules. Could modern advancement in ...
5
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2answers
439 views

Why cannot there be multiple sources for same species origins?

We often associate Africa as the geographical location of the origin of humans. Why cannot there exist multiple geographic locations of origin (given same environmental conditions)? The same ...
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1answer
121 views

Are there different species of modern day humans? [duplicate]

I've been watching nature shows on Netflix (Wildest series) and different animals of the same "family" are actually different species. e.g. Asian elephants vs African elephants. Asian elephants are ...
4
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1answer
66 views

Which Darwin book (and today edition) is illustrated by his own drawings?

I am interested in buying Charles Darwin books and mostly drawings (nowadays editions, I am not a collector). Please, can you advise in which book and which edition I can find the most of his ...
3
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1answer
157 views

Do the claims in this paper have any degree of validity?

The paper The waiting time problem in a model hominin population talks about a problem of waiting time, etc. Is the methodology of this numerical simulation, and the conclusion right or is it wrong? ...
0
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1answer
184 views

How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs? [closed]

The theory of evolution claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs only by mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection. However, it seems to me that wings were not selectively advantageous ...
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0answers
25 views

Resources for similarity between embryos

Is there a scientific paper/reputable image resource out there which I can use that the embryos of different organisms (vertebrata) are similar in their early developmental stages(without falling into ...
3
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0answers
35 views

Games with non-uniform interaction rates

Background: Many models in evolutionary game theory assume uniform interaction rates. For instance, consider the $2\times 2$ game: \begin{array}{l c c} & A & B \\ A & a & b \\ ...
1
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1answer
87 views

Does the modern synthesis theory of evolution deny that acquired characteristics can be inherited? [duplicate]

The following is an wikipedia article on Lamarckism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism According to Ernst Mayr, any Lamarckian theory involving the inheritance of acquired characters has ...
6
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0answers
62 views

Variance in Fst in the infinite island model

The most famous result in the study of structured populations come from Sewall Wright. He showed that in an island model, where each subpopulation is of size $N$ and the migration rate is $m$, then ...
2
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0answers
25 views

Replicator equation for mixed strategies?

The the replicator equation is usually defined for pure strategies. More specifically, the replicator eqn for $n$ strategies is given by: \begin{equation} \dot x_{i} = x_{i} \left( \sum_{j=1}^{n} ...
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3answers
73 views

Cancer a method for early Earth Evolution? [duplicate]

Something I have been wondering for a while is looking at cancer from an evolutionary standpoint. It's easy to conclude (from observations today) that cancer is something we would rather avoid. ...
1
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1answer
79 views

term for species that produces males only to mate with mother or sisters

In reading about unique reproductive strategies I've run into two closely related and comparatively unique mechanics. Both involved a female who was born 'pregnant' with at least a male, but the male ...
0
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1answer
19 views

Why Can't the passage of acquired behavior be considered acquired inheritance?

While reading about a cross-fostering experiment conducted on Male California mice and Peromyscus californicus, I came across the fact that the behavior acquired by a generation of mice due to ...
1
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1answer
49 views

Using evolution of bacteria against themselves

We know that mutations happen regularly in bacteria and also that one bacteria might get the mutation and become stronger than the others and thus survive, causing antibiotic resistance as well. Can ...
-1
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2answers
72 views

Why both sexes of the species don't show equal level of Competition? [closed]

In most species, it is seen that either males or females have evolved to be aggressive towards approaching members of the same species of the same sex and maintaining strict territorial boundaries. ...
2
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0answers
107 views

Why did humans evolve the ability to feel such a high level of heat pain? [closed]

It's probably because our ancestors were frequently around 300°C metal which badly damages flesh in a fraction of a second because they made fires to cook. I don't see why that would cause natural ...
4
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0answers
36 views

How “old” is a specific snake venom?

This is a World Building question, but it's biology specific (I think). I'm looking for an approximate answer on how long, evolutionary, a specific venom has been roughly the same. Is it pretty much ...
3
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1answer
168 views

Do mammals and birds have a common warm-blooded ancestor?

Is it homogeneous or did they converge? Did we both evolve from warm-blooded reptiles that are extinct maybe?
32
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3answers
3k views

How could humans have interbred with Neanderthals if we're a different species?

To be clear, I'm not doubting that homo sapiens and homo neanderthalensis did interbreed: of that much I'm convinced. Within the past few years I've seen an upcropping of pop-sci articles discussing ...
2
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0answers
52 views

Front versus back in animal anatomy [closed]

Throughout various species, there seems to be a clear distinction between the front and the back. The musculature of the front, when engaged, closes or curls up the body, protecting it, while the ...