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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7answers
392 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 ...
3
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2answers
270 views

How can sex ratios remain Fisherian (1:1) in species where only the dominant male gets to mate

In certain species only the dominant male gets to mate (or given strong preference), and yet the sex ratio remains 1:1. (I'm thinking in particular of gorillas). How does this happen? It doesn't seem ...
2
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2answers
155 views

Why did Fair Meiosis evolve?

How and why did Fair Meiosis evolve? I can hardly think that it provided a fitness advantage to the individual carrying the mutation. Why would it? Or did it evolve through lineage selection? Or was ...
2
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2answers
179 views

Why are there so many medicinal plants?

Here is wikipedia page containing a list of plants used in herbal medicine. One might first want to argue that many of them actually do not have any medicinal/beneficial effect on heatlth. I think we ...
5
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3answers
2k views

How does Artificial Selection work?

As far as I know for evolution to work mutations are necessary. Mutations are the raw material on which natural selection works. But mutations are always completely random and human beings have no ...
7
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3answers
478 views

The evolution of dogs through domestication and artificial selection

I am currently reading Richard Dawkins's book 'The Greatest Show On Earth: The proof for evolution' and in the second chapter he talks very much about the evolution of dogs. He says centuries ago ...
4
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1answer
73 views

Randomness in living systems

The point of my question is not to talk about events that are uncontrolled by living organisms. My question is about controlled randomness, or I'd like to say adaptive random process. Process that are ...
9
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6answers
1k views

Human evolution: Where *exactly* did the first human come from, whose parents were not?

Layman here. So I have never really quite understood this facet of human evolution, (or any other for that matter), in that, I understand the evolutionary process, but I get lost on the 'border' ...
3
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2answers
327 views

Why Didn't Evolution Cause the Human Body to become Streamlined?

If streamlining makes movement/locomotion quicker and easier, why didn't the apes evolve into life-forms that had streamlined bodies (much like fish)?
10
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2answers
154 views

What is the Edward O. Wilson fuss about?

I have just read this article on E. O. Wilson and I don't understand what the difference is between what he is arguing and "standard" natural selection. I read "the extended phenotype" some years ago ...
6
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3answers
285 views

How does “be altruist to those who are similar to you” evolve?

There are many cases when people commit altruism. One is relationship. I am willing to die for 2 of my children or 8 nieces, say an evolutionary psychologist. Another is reciprocal altruism, which is ...
5
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1answer
186 views

What evolutionary pressures pushed Galápagos tortoises to mature so slowly and live so long?

I read that they take up to 40 years (in the wild) to reach the age of reproduction and are thought to live over 100 years, with one in captivity reaching over 170 years. Can someone explain in ...
1
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1answer
113 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 ...
2
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1answer
71 views

Are genes associated with obesity selected for?

I've read that there are several SNPs associated with increased risk of clinical or morbid obesity. I was wondering if there is any evidence that these are under positive selection. Would you expect ...
1
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3answers
74 views

Would it be possible/plausible for a type of spider to fly by weaving web between it's legs to create bat-like wings?

I've been thinking about this lately. Would it be possible for a type of spider to gain the ability to fly freely by weaving its web between it's legs and creating wings much like those of a bat? Is ...
1
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3answers
1k 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 ...
1
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1answer
50 views

Systematic difference of diversity between sister taxa?

When looking broadly at the tree of life, my feeling is that, after a divergence there is almost systematically one taxon that speciates way more than the other. (There will have some approximations ...
-1
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3answers
73 views

Could sex alone drive complexity?

Imagine that complexity is measured by a positive number $f_n$. If one has no prior knowledge about the positive number $f_n$ then from Bayesian theory one can assign $\log f_n$ an "improper" uniform ...
5
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2answers
181 views

Ecomorphs as evolutionary definitions

There have been demonstrations of ecomorphs in different taxa, where each morphology type is associated to a single environment. I know that it happens because special morphological characters ...
5
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1answer
123 views

Is (Brain Mass)/(Total Mass) still considered a valid indicator of intelligence?

I was reading this(1) and it led me back to ask a very basic question (I'm not a neuroscientist). All the way back to undergrad anthropology and neuroscience courses I remember being taught the ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Do animals exist with an uneven total number of digits?

I recently finished reading Contact by Carl Sagan. In the book they talk about a pattern in the transcendental number like pi or e, and comment that it is found in base 10 or however many fingers the ...
0
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6answers
1k views

What does “fit” mean in “survival of the fittest”? [closed]

What does "fit" mean in "survival of the fittest"?
8
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2answers
460 views

Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
1
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0answers
21 views

Living organisms with properties similar to both plants and animals? [duplicate]

Is there any example of currently living organisms that shows close resemblance to both being a plant and an animal? What is the plant with the closest possible resemblance to animals, and What is ...
3
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1answer
264 views

Is a “Fact” any theory for which there is overwhelming evidence in any field other than biology?

Evolution is often described as a fact, and a theory. Evolution is a heavily overloaded term, with one definition being the fact that, "changes in the frequency of alleles in populations of organisms ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Why does the apex of the human heart usually point to the left?

In the majority of human beings, the apex of the heart (left ventricle) points towards the left side of the body. Sometimes however (approx. 1/12000 births), a person is born with a condition known ...
2
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2answers
82 views

Can humans' ability to dive with only breathing modifications tell us anything about our evolution?

Can humans' ability to dive with only breathing modifications tell us anything about our evolution? For example, it is possible to imagine a human anatomy that would be destroyed by the pressure of a ...
5
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2answers
129 views

Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process?

Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process? Maybe in some way could it be a process of variation? Or would this idea be completely without support, if so, why? I don't mean that each case ...
11
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1answer
204 views

In which order did the cells of the immune system evolve?

Thinking about how complex the interactions between different types of immune system cells (T-helpers, T-Killers, Phagocytes, B-Cells etc.) are, it's fascinating how they all combine to get the ...
1
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2answers
111 views

Which texts are good for beginners to understand evolution on the genetic scope?

Are there good texts to study the evolution, how it works, and how mutations and changes lead to evolution of the organism ? And how does the information increase through the long time using ...
39
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2answers
1k views

Is there any evidence that sexual selection may lead to extinction of species?

Darwin suggested that sexual selection, especially by female choice, may counter natural selection. Theoretical models, such as a Fisherian runaway process, suggest that evolution of preference and ...
0
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3answers
76 views

What are the allowed evolution operators (on protein encoding sequences)?

What are the evolution operators, meaning allowed actions on the DNA sequence that encodes a protein. I assume all evolution of genes is a result of duplication errors. So an answer could look ...
2
votes
1answer
274 views

Why do humans bury their dead?

As far as we know Ape Men or the Neanderthal Man was the first to bury its dead. My question is why. I don't think they practiced religion or believed in spirits or faith or stuff like that. ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

Same 185th million grandfather?

I was watching a lecture by Richard Dawkins earlier today and he mentioned that “Your 185th million grandfather was a fish.” I started wondering about the following question, Is it true that my 185th ...
2
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2answers
81 views

Evolution after the development of sexual reproduction

My understanding of evolution is that genetic mutation occurs in individual members of a species, and they become a new species. Isn't a definition of species a group of genetically similar organisms ...
4
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1answer
80 views

What determined the evolution of different faces in humans?

The most distinctive characteristic of a human is it's face - it is unique among each individual (with the exception of identical twins). It is uncertain to me if whether we best identify other humans ...
-2
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1answer
274 views

Are we evolving to age slower, or to live longer aging at the same rate?

I wonder why most of us find senior people lovely and charming. Is it because to love grandpa and granny is vital to our survival as a species, in the same way as we love babies? If so, it would mean ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Can any species be bred selectively/engineered to become as diverse looking as dogs?

I've done some research and it appears that dogs are the most diverse looking single species of mammals. The questions that interest me is - are dogs special in respect to genes/gene activation ...
3
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1answer
66 views

Would non-human carnivores be able to survive on farmed foods?

Certain creatures that are considered carnivores are non-obligate carnivores and are technically omnivores (such as wolves/dogs). How different is the potential digestive ability of these species ...
5
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1answer
204 views

Experimental evidence for the selfish gene vs. the selfish individual

In the Selfish Gene, Dawkins makes the argument that a better view of evolution (i.e. more in accordance with experiment) is obtained if you view the basic unit of evolution to be the gene rather ...
10
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2answers
356 views

Is there any recent evidence for the aquatic ape theory of human evolution?

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 to ...
1
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3answers
190 views

Has medical progress stopped human evolution?

We can cure many diseases nowadays, and thus the natural selection is very limited. Plus, mankind spent the whole beginning of its existence in almost the same hostile environment, and that's where he ...
2
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2answers
325 views

Why is a slow worm not considered a snake?

Slow worms are considered lizards as opposed to snakes, both are reptiles. Now I get that there are traits that distinguish them (eye lids, ears ...). But snake species themselves vary already quite a ...
24
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do eukaryotic organisms have introns in their DNA?

We touched on introns and exons in my bio class, but unfortunately we didn't really talk about why Eukaryotes have introns. It would seem they would have to have some purpose since prokaryotes do not ...
4
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1answer
98 views

What are some examples of scaling laws in biology?

I've seen that metabolic rate scales logarithmically as function of mass for many animals over an extremely large span of parameters. What other scaling laws exist at the individual level?
3
votes
1answer
360 views

Why do sloths come down from the trees to defecate?

I'm under the impression that most sloths exhibit this behavior, but why? They are slow moving and so have no way of escaping from predators when on the ground. Not to mention the energy they expire ...
2
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1answer
89 views

The oldest common ancesstor of all human beings

Do all human beings have a single oldest ancestor (a man and a woman), or were there were many ancestors at the same time at different places on earth? This article sheds some light. Is there another ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Can two humans with 44 chromosomes produce viable offspring?

It is known that there are very few individuals having 44 chromosomes, not the usual 46 chromosomes. One example is a male in China: the first article, the second article. The other is a female in ...
10
votes
1answer
351 views

Is there are evolutionary explanation for why humans and primates are ticklish? How might it have evolved?

Tickling is a rather interesting phenomenon: When humans or apes are touched in certain areas like the armpits or sides, we respond with laughter AND frantic attempts to stop the assault. Obviously ...
1
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1answer
109 views

Lineage selection in plasmid evolution

I've been reading through Paulsson (2002) and I am not sure what he means by "lineage selection" in the second to last section. The paper deals with plasmid replication, and mostly concentrates on the ...