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 are the fertility rates of large predators kept low?

Predators at the top of a food chain, like lions, seem to have a relatively low fertility rate, which fits well to the ecosystem and avoids overpredation. But what is the mechanism that keeps the ...
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1answer
1k views

Female preference for males who are already in a relationship [closed]

A common saying is that women are generally more attracted towards men who are already in a relationship, and this phenomena does seem to have its own place in popular culture that is not matched by a ...
7
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4answers
613 views

If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?

Natural selection is a central tenet of evolution. However, most biologists seem determined to prevent the extinction of the species that have been selected against. Why is this? Preservation of ...
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0answers
32 views

Why does death exist? [duplicate]

The biological purpose of an organism is to reproduce and as soon as reproductive age is passed, aging kicks in and eventually leads to death. (This is what I learned from a gerontologist.) But then, ...
4
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1answer
78 views

Why do the proportion of predators increase at mass extinction events?

Why does predation surge with mass extinction? It is caused by extreme selective pressures over resource competition that forces certain species to adapt to predatory niches?
7
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1answer
120 views

What evolutionary advantages are provided by ovoviviparity?

I read that some sharks are ovoviviparous. What advantages and disadvantages are provided by this type of reproduction as opposed to egg laying and live birth?
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111 views

First documented beneficial mutation?

I've been reading up on beneficial mutations, and am curious when we discovered and documented the first one. Can anyone point me to the first documented beneficial mutation? Per request, let me ...
9
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3answers
295 views

Why did humans become bipedal?

Somewhere in evolutionary history homo started walking upright and became bipedal. You hear these hypotheses that, by walking upright, they could see better across the grassy savannas to escape ...
2
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2answers
151 views

Agony, Hydrophobia and viruses in the light of evolutionary principles

I'm undergraduate physics student, but I've always been interested in biology. So I have a couple of questions about an application of the evolutionary principles to practice. Agony as the last ...
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0answers
38 views

Do Parasaurolophus have hands with fingers to grab?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasaurolophus#mediaviewer/File:Parasaurolophus_cyrtocristatus.jpg I cannot tell if the hands have fingers strung together to form a hove, or fingers to grab. I have ...
3
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0answers
79 views

Up to date, extensive documentary about dinosaurs?

I just finished reading the Wikipedia page about dinosaurs, and I very much enjoyed it. I knew that much of what I learned in the 80's as a child is (and was) incorrect, and now that I am a parent, I ...
2
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0answers
73 views

Why did animals evolve genders? [duplicate]

The majority of animals have two genders, and both are needed in reproduction. It seems like it would be more advantageous for creatures to be hermaphrodites, since they could mate with any member of ...
7
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0answers
80 views

How to define “Quasifixation” in continuous approximation of finite population?

Background Many models including the famous very first models derived by Sir Ronald Fisher in his early career, assume infinite population size. In an infinite population, an allele can rise in ...
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1answer
23 views

Relation between a compound's toxicity and it's concentration level

I know that ammonia is toxic for the body since it disturbs enzymes of mitochondria. I want to know that why the ammonotelic animals don't get affected by it? I mean that even if there is plenty of ...
6
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1answer
89 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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5answers
599 views

Relationship Between Evolution and the Increase of Entropy of Earth

I was confronted by this question: Biological evolution of life on Earth, from simple prokaryote-like cells to large, multicellar eukaryotic organisms, A) has occurred in accordance with the laws ...
3
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1answer
122 views

Which of the two mitochondorial membranes relate to bacteria according to the endosymbiotic theory?

I seached for endosymbiotic theory in Wiki and I found this about endosymbiotic theory: Symbiogenesis, or endosymbiotic theory, is an evolutionary theory which explains the origin of eukaryotic ...
3
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0answers
71 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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1answer
61 views

Which came first in hominid evolution: language or bipedalism? [closed]

I suspect both language-use and upright-posture have anatomical consequences. So does the fossil record show which came first? NOTE: To the folks who marked this question "homework": This is ...
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1answer
107 views

Why do humans have eyebrows? [closed]

Why do humans have eyebrows? It seems that it isn't necessary but only humans have them, correct? So what is the use of them for humans? I hear that they protect our eyes. However, isn't that what ...
2
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1answer
482 views

Cell evolution: immortality vs reproduction

Many sci fi movies produce interesting ideas and technologies that we seem to be able to realize in real life at some point. "Lucy" was not one of those movies. But Morgan Freeman's speech in the ...
4
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1answer
70 views

Statistics on energy consumption breakdown per biological functions across organisms?

Are there any statistics available on how much energy organisms use for each biological functions (i.e. something similar to the line of "Bacteria spend X% of energy on information processing, Y% for ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Gradualism vs. Punctuationalism

TLDR? Just read the bold bits! I started with Darwin's Origin of Species, and then read Dawkins's first three books The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, and The Blind watchmaker (I just started ...
7
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1answer
307 views

Evolutionary reasons why you cannot tickle yourself but masturbate

There are obviously good reasons that explain why you cannot tickle yourself (see e.g. here). This got me thinking why it is possible to masturbate... Wouldn't it make more sense to not being able to ...
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1answer
146 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 alleles ...
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0answers
54 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 ...
3
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1answer
67 views

Mutation Rate in Multicellular Eukaryotes

I always hear people saying that the mutation rate is around $10^{-6}$ or $10^{-7}$. I don't even know if this number is the mutation rate of genes or of a single nucleotides and I actually (almost) ...
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2answers
107 views

What does to “evolve” exactly mean? [closed]

In this article, the author says: Evolution isn’t “leading up” to anything, it just drunkenly limps along using the same set of tricks in slightly different orders. On other occasions, however, ...
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0answers
198 views

Mutation-Selection-Drift Equilibrium

mutation-selection-drift equilibrium is one of the most important concept of population genetics. I could easily find the calculations for mutation-secltion equilibrium and for mutation-drift ...
4
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1answer
178 views

Why isn't Rh disease present in other mammals?

I have read about Rhesus D Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn, sometimes called "Rh disease". It's rare, but it can happen when an Rh+ baby is conceived by an Rh- mother. This raises many questions. I ...
4
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1answer
186 views

A colony of humans are sent to an alien world, at what point would the descendants evolve to be genetically incompatible with Earth humans? [closed]

I recently heard about the evolution of the London Underground mosquitoes, and how they have changed genetically enough that they almost can no longer reproduce with above ground mosquitos. Since this ...
4
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1answer
140 views

How to calculate the effective population size ($N_e$) with overlapping generations?

From this Source: If generations are overlapping, then the effective population size $N_e$ does not equal the population size $N$. I know mathematical formulations in order to find the effective ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

Why can't we call dog breeds different species?

I understand this question might fall into opinion based, but I'm trying to write it so that it meets the "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience" part and not ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Is there any knowledge of physics can be applied in to evolution?

I have asked a similar question in Biology.SE (What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?), but it just about organisms and ecosystems, not evolution. After watching ...
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2answers
469 views

Can you answer Ray Comfort's question on Biological Evolution? [closed]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ There's this video on Youtube about biological Evolution that has gone viral. I'll paste it above for your convenience. To cut to the chase, Ray Comfort ...
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1answer
43 views

Coniferous trees in temperare rain forests

In temperate rainforest, the dominant plant form is often coniferous trees (source). However, coniferous trees are also the dominant plant form in a very different climate and form a different biome ...
2
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1answer
238 views

Why are some fungi poisonous?

There are many poisonous fungi in nature. For example Amanita Phalloides. What reasons could a fungus need poison for? Some species, like venomous snakes, use poison to kill other species as prey. ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is dimethyltryptamine (DMT) being released during death?

I'm not very well informed about all the things related to biology and the current achievements of science in this field so if I'm wrong in anything I say, please let me know. Many times I've come ...
10
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3answers
187 views

Formation of Life

Originally, life evolved from non-living matter. Why is life only generated from other life nowadays, and why doesn't it evolve from inanimate matter, like it did originally billions of years ago, ...
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2answers
179 views

Phylogenetics and the Tree of Life

As far as I understand, evolution is nowadays pretty much analyzed through phylogenetic trees, that is cladograms. These are constructed using the available records and taking some key structures and ...
2
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0answers
44 views

How does the population fitness changes after a change in mutation rate

The mean population fitness as given by mutation load theory depends only on the genome-wide mutation rate ($U$). My question is: how many generations is needed to reach a new mutation load ...
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0answers
53 views

Why do we have butt hair? [duplicate]

Why do we have hair on our butts? From what I understand, hair is generally used for warmth, but it seems like our buttox would be one of the last places on our body that would need warmth. Moreover, ...
7
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1answer
73 views

Hamilton's derivation of direct fitness from his 1970 paper

In his 1970 paper "Selfish and Spiteful Behaviour in an Evolutionary Model", Hamilton uses Price's equation to derive his well-known rule $rb -c >0$. My question is about one of the steps in his ...
19
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1answer
3k views

Why do we have five fingers?

Humans (and other humanoid mammals) have five fingers in each hand. Curious to know, why five? Wouldn't more fingers be more useful? Is there any evidence that it used to be different and natural ...
4
votes
4answers
162 views

Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?

Short summary I am a researcher in origins of life, a field that deals with hypotheses about evolutionary processes that took place before LUCA (the last universal common ancestor), and with the ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How did giraffes develop their rete mirabile failsafe?

Giraffes, being one of the tallest mammals in the world, have a failsafe called rete mirabile to prevent them from dying from excessive blood pressure while lowering their head.[1] Due to their long ...
4
votes
2answers
118 views

Can I force evolution in a group of cells by removing all the smaller cells?

I actually have algae growing in water in a container. I was thinking if it was possible to filter the water so that all the small cells will be filtered out and only the bigger ones will remain to ...
1
vote
2answers
180 views

Evolutionary history: did any organs start out as autonomous organisms?

I've read that the cell nucleus was once an autonomous organism that was "enslaved" by the larger cell at the time of the Eukaryotic Revolution. Are there any organs in the human body that we know of ...
3
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1answer
59 views

What is the most recent well-attested common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans?

Humans and chimpanzees are related and thus have a most recent common ancestor. Of course pinning down this precise point is essentially impossible, so I'm interested in close ancestors of this most ...
3
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1answer
109 views

Fecundity per woman in early humans

The average fecundity per woman varies a lot from country to country. I call average fecundity per woman the average number of born children per woman. In Homo sapiens, what was the average fecundity ...