Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. Major mechanisms include drift, natural selection, mutation, and gene flow (migration).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

9
votes
3answers
548 views

What is the evolutionary advantage of death?

I know death and cancer doesn't hurt humans' reproductive success. It's not helping either. Why do we die? Why dying humans (all of us) are common? What's the point of dying?
8
votes
2answers
126 views

How can a three-base codon evolve from a two-base codon?

Inspired by this question among others. It's widely suggested that the current 3-base codon system of encoding protein sequences in DNA evolved from an earlier 2-base codon system. This makes sense ...
3
votes
4answers
554 views

What evolutionary reason is there for having the urinary duct and reproductive organs so close together?

As the old joke goes, "God must have been a civil engineer. Who else would put a waste facility straight through a recreational area?" But maybe it wasn't God. Is there any evolutionary reason (or ...
3
votes
2answers
543 views

Why do some animals have 8 Limbs (e.g. Spiders, Octopuses)?

Octopuses have 8 tentacles, spiders have 8 legs. Is there something special about 8? It seems like an animal that needs 360° mobility has 8 legs.
2
votes
2answers
67 views

Are humans still competing in the same way now that the first life forms did?

I'm not sure if this is actually a philosophical question, but I was reading a timeline of life on earth and I came to this: 4500-3500 Ma The earliest life appears, possibly at Alkaline vents ...
17
votes
2answers
669 views

Why Is Most Life Symmetrical Externally But Not Internally?

Mammals, reptiles, arachnids, insects, etc are all as far as I am aware symmetrical in appearance. Take a human for instance, make a line from the top of our head right down the middle. However, ...
4
votes
1answer
143 views

Evolutionary explanation to why we have such large memory capacities?

The scientific consensus is that no one ever fills up their memory capacity by learning facts and so on, even in the information age. My question is therefore, is there an evolutionary reason as to ...
4
votes
1answer
210 views

Why are eggs “egg” shaped?

Is there a reason as to why chickens lay "egg" shaped eggs, as opposed to spherically shaped eggs (or a random shape)? <--- Main Question For extra points (actually just to add more words in ...
13
votes
2answers
321 views

Evolution in 37 years, is it possible?

I am confused, can evolution ( speciation ) really occur in such a short time ? In 1971, biologists moved five adult pairs of Italian wall lizards from their home island of Pod Kopiste, in the ...
11
votes
3answers
447 views

How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Would ovoviparous to viviparous mutation have been gradual? How would that work?

It seems unlikely that an ovoviparous ancestor of mammals long ago could have had a viviparous offspring in a sharp one-generation dividing line, but what would be the gradual steps between egg birth ...
3
votes
1answer
483 views

Chromosome 2 fusion?

I read this article by Jeffrey Tomkins and Jerry Bergman claiming to debunk chromosome 2 fusion. Is there anything wrong with these conclusions? " 1.The reputed fusion site is located in a ...
3
votes
2answers
683 views

What is the evolutionary rationale for palm sweating?

Sweaty palms seems to be a reaction to stress, anxiety, etc. For our forest-inhabiting primate ancestors sweaty palms could cause unwanted side-effects such as slipping off tree branches under ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is Galapagos island so special?

I am not a biologist so the question may be very stupid. I have no idea. Why did Darwin formulate his theory of evolution just after his visit to the Galapagos island? Why is it so special from the ...
4
votes
4answers
590 views

Which came first: The Chicken or the Egg? [closed]

Has there been any serious scientific inquiries into answering this age old question?
2
votes
1answer
111 views

How can I compare rates of evolution for two sets of proteins?

I have a list of candidate proteins as the result of my analysis. I am now trying to find various characteristics that they have in common. One of the things I would like to check is if my candidates ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Colonial Cells Demonstrating Cell Specialization

Are there any living examples of cellular colonies demonstrating very primitive cellular specialization? If so, what do we know about how they assimilate? How independent are the individual cells ...
9
votes
1answer
405 views

What is the modern state of the theory of evolution?

When I studied biology at my medical school we used to learn things about a century old: the famous Darwin's voyage on "Beagle" to the Galapagos Islands, the classical triad of his Theory of ...
7
votes
2answers
143 views

What measures are commonly used for the complexity of an organism?

I'm aware of measures like number of distinct cell types being used as a measurement of complexity in biology, for example in the G-value paradox. But this doesn't really help for unicellular ...
2
votes
2answers
849 views

Is there any complex organism that is both autotroph and heterotroph?

Possibility also include "adaptation mode" if such exist. I don't discern whether autotrophic/heterotrophic part play only minor role either.
4
votes
3answers
114 views

Good book on Origin of Life [closed]

What is a book that goes into reasonable detail (but isn't textbook-level technical) about the origin of earth and in particular the origin of life on earth? Something intended for a broad audience, ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Nucleotide frequencies in Kimura's two-parameter model

Here's an excerpt about Kimura's two-parameter model from Felsenstein's Inferring Phylogenies: "The model is symmetrical, and one can immediately see that, after enough time has elapsed, it ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Is there a timeline for the frequency of evolution of any species?

Evolution is traditionally spoken of as an inherited change over generations. Does evolution happen one change at a time - or are there multiple changes occurring between two successive generations? ...
2
votes
1answer
144 views

What are evolutionary implications of contraception and reduced childhood mortality rates worldwide?

I've heard the following idea this morning: Before the introduction of contraception, humans conceived quite a lot of babies (there was little to do to avoid that), but the population was kept in ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

What preceded ATP synthase?

ATP Synthase is ubiquitous throughout life on earth and so most probably evolved within the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) before that lineage diversified into the various kingdoms of life. ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

Fossils of intermediate stages?

If Humans are evolve from Monkeys, there must be stages in the evolution process, when it was 1% human and 99% monkey, 2% human and 98% monkey and so on. This is because evolution was a very slow ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

What selective factors drove the evolution of lactose in lactation?

As far as I can determine, lactose, and the monosaccharide galactose have few biological uses outside of mammalian lactation. It not only required enzymes for its production, but enzymes in offspring ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

Is better healthcare a bane to the long-term survival of the human race?

The theory of natural selection has it that individuals with better genes tend to survive and reproduce, passing their genes to their offspring. This gradual process results in a population more ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does so much variation exist within species?

My last phrasing of this question did not go down well, so I will try again. The genotype of species is not always the same. If you ask yourself why not all of these possible expressions except one ...
8
votes
1answer
88 views

Predators faking to be not hungry?

I believe that there are predator/prey combinations where the prey can easily spot that the predator is not hungry and will not try to flee from it. I’m thinking, for example, of gazelles who will ...
9
votes
2answers
261 views

Is there any evidence that a virus can modify human evolution

I was just reading Evolution of lactose tolerance, and in it one line says "But there was a time in human history when our diet and environment conspired to create conditions that mimicked those of a ...
6
votes
3answers
216 views

Are there genes in humans from the common ancestor of all organisms?

How long ago can human genes be traced? Are there any genes that go back unchanged to the beginning of life on Earth? And if so, how many?
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Were there lifeforms before LUCA?

This question got me thinking about something. LUCA is the last universal common ancestor of all current living organisms, which is a very different definition from the first-ever living organism. Is ...
13
votes
1answer
132 views

Has the human 7-day week had any impact on the evolution of species?

Most (if not all) industrialized countries follow a 7-day work week now, such that we are bound to follow a certain weekly trend in matters such as pollution generation, where to go (e.g. stay in town ...
8
votes
1answer
752 views

Disadvantages of unihemispheric sleep

Is is well known fact that marine mammals and some birds can sleep with one brain hemisphere at a time, since it's essential for their survival. However, at least in my opinion, such mechanism would ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Biology view on trait variability

In reading the annotated Origin... I have come to the following note by Costa on p. 168: Again, modern biologists would disagree with Darwin's idea that especially well-developed traits vary to a ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Preserved alpha complementation over evolutionary time?

Has the result of alpha-complementation ever happened via mutation through evolutionary time, and been preserved in modern day organisms? In other words, has a functional gene product ever been split ...
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Can epigenetic changes affect reproductive success?

This is prompted by niallhaslam's answer to this question [Since Darwinian times, has there been any striking/notable effects of evolution on humans?]. A comment by Alan Boyd asks whether epigenetic ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there an evolutionary reason for the 5 electron transport complexes in plants and animals?

The electron transport chains of both the light reactions of photosynthesis (in plants) and oxidative phosphorylation (in animals) both contain 5 complexes including ATP synthase, as shown below. ...
4
votes
3answers
132 views

Since Darwinian times, has there been any striking/notable effects of evolution on humans?

I understand that evolution is constant process that acts on a population in successive generations. Thus, it is obvious that evolution is happening. However, I'm curious as to the stricking examples ...
6
votes
1answer
130 views

Is it possible to increase lifespan through controlled evolution?

A few years back when I was reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, there's this short passage where he theorizes about a way to achieve an increased lifespan through controlled evolution. The ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

Why was polyploidy not lethal in certain octodontid rodents?

As discussed in Why is polyploidy lethal for some organisms while for others is not?, polyploidy is normally lethal in mammals. However, two species of Octodontidae (South American rodents), are ...
4
votes
1answer
233 views

Why did mammals evolve to have two testes?

What makes mammals tend to evolve to have two testes?
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Have proteins been observed to come into existence through mutations and natural selection?

What is an example of a functional protein that has been observed (in real time) to have come into existence through mutations and natural selection (not through an existing one being made defective). ...
11
votes
1answer
254 views

How do members of cryptic species know who to mate with?

According to Wikipedia: In biology, a cryptic species complex is a group of species which satisfy the biological definition of species—that is, they are reproductively isolated from each ...
11
votes
3answers
459 views

Is Behe's experiment (evolving the bacterial flagellum) plausible in the lab?

[Warning: this question is motivated by a prominent proponent of "intelligent design": Prof. Michael Behe. I'm not interested in debating creationism.] According to Wikipedia[1]: In Darwin’s ...
9
votes
1answer
818 views

Why are some berries poisonous?

In my understanding, the evolutional function of berries is to be eaten and pood out somewhere else, so that the seeds of the plant spread. Is this so? Then why are some berries poisonous?
0
votes
1answer
180 views

From which ancestor species did humans inherit orgasm?

From what ancestors did humans inherit orgasm? Do fish experience orgasm? Are the male and female orgasm the homologues that can be traced to the time when there was no difference in sex between ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Is vision a vestigial sense for deep ocean species?

Sunlight doesn't penetrate beyond a couple of hundred feet from the surface of the ocean. Species that exist at greater depth probably live in a state of perpetual night; yet from a quick google image ...
11
votes
1answer
219 views

Evolution of long necks in giraffes

In this question, the OP uses giraffe necks as a supportive example of evolution. Is the mechanism described in this post accurate? At some point, I thought I remember hearing that giraffes did not ...