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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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 ...
6
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3answers
161 views

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 ...
3
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128 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 ...
3
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216 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 ...
7
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314 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 ...
7
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1answer
843 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, ...
4
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1answer
84 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 ...
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
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1answer
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 ...
4
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55 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 ...
3
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1answer
54 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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3answers
103 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 ...
4
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1answer
115 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 ...
6
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695 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 ...
3
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1answer
49 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 ...
10
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2answers
542 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 ...
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 ...
7
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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
58 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?
4
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85 views

Poisonous plants, animals, mushrooms: is this always a kind of defense?

I wonder whether developing deadly toxins in the organism's body is always or usually a defensive strategy rather than a by-product.
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340 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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1answer
45 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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1answer
86 views

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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3answers
768 views

What is the difference between eugenics and evolution by natural selection?

So with the working definition of Eugenics: "the aim to improve the human gene pool". What are key features that distinguish Eugenics from evolution by natural selection? I mean, besides that natural ...
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41 views

Gene duplication and subfunctionalization

I’ve been intrigued by gene duplication and want to learn more about it. I’ve read the following from here: several studies suggest that the proportion of duplicated genes retained in ...
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1answer
56 views

Are there multicellular isogamous species?

Are there multicellular isogamous species? Seeking through the examples of wikipedia I would tend to think that there are no multicellular isogamous species.
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50 views

Ancestral states of sex determination system

Most (maybe all?) species that reproduce sexually have either genders (anisogamy) or mating types (isogamy). There exist today many different type of sexual determination system. There is a whole ...
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85 views

What is most ancestral: isogamy or anisogamy?

Sexual reproduction can be feasible with anisogamy (gametes of different sizes i.e. genders) or isogamy (gametes of same size i.e. mating types) or with undifferentiated gametes (i.e. true random ...
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123 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = ...
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1answer
126 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? ...
3
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1answer
60 views

How many traits can a multivariate breeders equation handle?

The multivariate breeders equation (MBE) by Lande predicts the change in a trait $\Delta \bar z$ (response) as $\Delta \bar z = G \beta$ where $G$ is a genetic variance-covariance matrix and ...
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34 views

What do we know about the cellular structure, processes, environment, and immediate ancestors of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA)? [closed]

I am up for all scientifically sound speculations, and sources are highly welcome. I've looked into this quite a bit myself via scholar.google, the wiki article, and /r/askscience. I'm really looking ...
3
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80 views

Understanding the meaning of $s$ and $t$ in a population genetics equation

Sewall Wright in this article (1937) at the end of page 313 gives the equation: $$\Delta q = (s+tq)q(1-q) \space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space(1)$$ This equation is an ...
5
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2answers
512 views

Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without consuming other forms of life in some manner?

The title is the question. If additional specificity is needed I will add clarification here. Are there any multicellular forms of life which exist without requiring the consumption (destruction) of ...
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163 views

Simulating substitution rate of neutral mutations

I am trying to computationally simulate a population based on the Wright-Fisher model I would like to get to the classic result of the neutral theory of molecular evolution that the rate of neutral ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Simplest Biological Organism? [duplicate]

What is the simplest biological organism from which a DNA sample has been or could be obtained? Could the resulting DNA be processed and examined in such a way that the resulting information would ...
1
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1answer
89 views

Evolution, What would the first plants have been like?

I am curious what the first plants are thought to have been like, what they may have evolved from, and how much earlier (or later) than animals they are thought to have moved to land, if they even ...
2
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0answers
73 views

Does the Jungian notion of collective unconsciousness have any legitimacy in the light of modern neurobiology and epigenetics?

Carl Jung has long ago proposed a rather controversial notion of collective unconsciousness [1, 2, 3], a form of the unconscious (that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which ...
2
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0answers
201 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 ...
0
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1answer
97 views

What's the evolutionary reason behind decussation?

A bunch of stuff in the human nervous system decussates. Optical information inputs from the eyes cross over in the optical chiasm. Multiple sensory and motor pathways cross-over before ascending the ...
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1answer
98 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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2answers
137 views

are the spontaneous generation and evolution the same idea but in a different time scale?

I was in my biology class, learning the history of spontaneous generation and how this idea was discarded. I told my teacher that is the same as evolution but in a different timeline. I Argue that ...
2
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1answer
39 views

Somatic Mutations in meristem tissue in plants

In angiosperm, in which layer of the meristem does a new mitotic mutation occurring has chance to be found in a pollen grain or in an ovule? I also welcome some insights about non-angiosperm plants.
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24 views

Evolutionary reasoning behind redundancy of CST and RuST

According to my neuro-anatomy class, both the Corsticospinal Tract (CST) and the Rubrospinal Tract (RuST) control upper limb movement. What the evolutionary reasoning behind this redundancy and the ...
29
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4answers
6k views

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. ...
9
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2answers
853 views

What is the evolutionary explanation for bat's echolocation [closed]

The bat's ability for echolocation is amazing (so are other the abilities of other animals). I was wondering how all of it came to be.
2
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2answers
85 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 ...
18
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2answers
580 views

How is menstruation not suicide in the wild?

Watch any wilderness special for more than a few minutes, and you'll notice a familiar pattern: when a predator catches the scent of blood on the wind, the hunt is on. Wounded animals make the best ...
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0answers
31 views

Why men are stronger than women? [duplicate]

Is there a possibility that human males and females used to have the same strength? That maybe it is because for a long time men have been doing the manual labour and sports and women haven't and ...
3
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0answers
84 views

At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

How often does chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal rearrangements? I am interested about these kind of chromosomal rearrangements that are passed on to the ...