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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Conscious evolution

Does intelligence play a vital role in the evolution of an organism? In other words does an expansion of learning capacity increase the odds of evolution for the particular biological entity?
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What does “Mutational Variance” mean?

Background The concept of mutational variance can be found in many articles including this one for example. The mutational variance of a trait number $i$ can be found in the M-matrix in position ...
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50 views

Is there any evidence that soft tissue can be preserved for 65m+ years and if not what hypotheses exist to explain it?

I read an article on howstuffworks.com and they mentioned how we have found soft tissue in dinosaurs. According to the article even Mummies and Mammoths have no soft tissue left. Is there any evidence ...
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Why do most mammals have long snouts?

It seems like most mammals, e.g. dogs, have long snouts. My pet dog's snout would seem to me like an evolutionary disadvantage, since her canine teeth are way out at the end of her jaw, which acts as ...
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Evolution of sexually concordant genetic variation on the X-chromosome

It was theorised in 1984 that sexually antagonistic genetic (SA) variation should more easily evolve on the X-chromosome. This is partly because female beneficial/male deleterious mutations face less ...
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99 views

Main mechanism of the evolution of sexual dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism is very common and (normally) requires the evolution of sex-specific genetic variation/regulation so the genetic correlation between the sexes can be <1. Is there consensus as to ...
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45 views

Definition of Linkage Desiquilibrium (LD)

According to wiki, linkage disequilibrium $D$ equals $$D = x_{11} - p_1\cdot q_1$$ where: $$ \begin{matrix} \text{Haplotype} & \text{Frequency}\\ A_1B_1 & x_{11}\\ ...
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1answer
162 views

Does the fossil record disprove Evolution? [closed]

It is said by people opposed to Evolution, that the fossil record contradicts and disproves it. They say all the animals suddenly appeared, exploded everywhere, were fully formed, had no transitions, ...
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207 views

What is the point of having evolved two nostrils?

How would having two nostrils be advantageous to your sense of smell or your ability to breath? I already hypothesized that either one of the nostrils could act as a back up for when another gets ...
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Periodic Muscular Growth in Humans

If a healthy human is at a certain muscle state and then experiences muscular atrophy solely due to disuse/lack of exercise, is it easier to gain that muscle back than if the human had never reached ...
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1answer
95 views

Book recommendation on selective breeding?

I am looking for a good book that gives a nice overview of the science and technics of selective breeding. I am particularly interested in the use of population genetics to support decision in this ...
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80 views

Visualisation of phylogeography

I am working on phylogeography on one model species and I am a beginner. You can imagine one species that came on locality more than 5 mya (million years ago). It was a good environment, so the ...
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219 views

Probability of Extinction under Genetic Drift

Here is the Wright-Fisher model of genetic drift: $$\frac{(2N)!}{k!(2N-k)!}p^kq^{2N-k} \Leftrightarrow \binom{2N}{k}p^kq^{2N-k}$$ where $\binom{2N}{k}$ is the binomial coefficient. This formula ...
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125 views

What's the purpose of colorful mushrooms' caps?

What's the purpose for many mushrooms to have colorful caps? Is not it is in their interest to hide as well as possible? Or there are mushrooms that propagate by being eaten, like fruits? Why not all ...
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1answer
78 views

How would a different solar day affect evolution?

Has anyone theorized how evolution would be affected by a different length of solar day, what were the conclusions? The thought came from thinking about life on other planets/moons, but I'm initially ...
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151 views

If evolution is a gradual and continuous process, how can we say humans came about 200k years ago? What is so special about that point in time?

It just seems arbitrary to me to say "ok, now THIS is officially a human" when you could look at its parents and find no noticeable differences. At no point in the line of my ancestral history is ...
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49 views

Book Recommendation: Complex Traits and Complex Genetic Architecture

I am looking for a book (or any good source of information) that offers an in-depth discussion and models about the evolution and analysis of complex traits and complex genetic architecture. Do you ...
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Why have humans evolved much more quickly than other animals?

Humans have, in a relatively short amount of time, evolved from apes on the African plains to upright brainiacs with nukes, computers, and space travel. Meanwhile, a lion is still a lion and a ...
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Selection on linked loci in a diploid population

Let’s consider two linked loci $A$ and $B$ that are both bi-allelic. In consequence, we have four different possible haplotypes $A_1B_1$, $A_1B_2$, $A_2B_1$, $A_2B_2$, which frequencies are $X_1$, ...
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Convergent evolution of fruits

Many fruits are not homologous, originating from different parts of a plant. Yet they all have similar properties: Ripe fruits all have yellow to dark red color They all have a lot of water and ...
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Why Did 6 Great Ape Species Survive But Only 1 Hominid Species?

My dad asked this question when I explained some circumstances surrounding Homo sapiens survival against all odds. We know there is only one hominid species left in the world, Homo sapiens. We also ...
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Beginning of the urogenital system

Are any invertebrate nephridia (proto/meta) homologous with vertebrate kidneys in the sense that embryologically they also begin together with the genital system? When did the embryologic association ...
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2answers
132 views

Human Evolution in Modern Times

I understand that evolution occurred to form the current hominids from a common ancestor millions of years ago. As evolutionary processes take a long time, is there proof of evolution occurring with ...
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1answer
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Soft and Hard selection

Seems to me that these two sources (M. Whitlock, B. Wallace) use different definitions of soft and hard selection. M. Whitlock: Soft selection occurs when the relative fitness of an individual is ...
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Do men have more extreme variations than women?

This question was considered unsuitable for Skeptics and I think it is more suited to BIology than Cognitive Sciences I was reading this article which I found interesting. It is not supported with ...
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51 views

What is a sex-biased gene?

How do you define a male-biased gene and a female-biased gene as they are found in the abstract of this article.
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1answer
95 views

Definition of Sexual Selection?

How do you define Sexual Selection (SS)? (One might want to subdivide SS into intra- and inter- SS to answer) Is SS clearly different from Natural Selection (NS)? Is SS nested within NS or are NS ...
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Haidinger's brush: Is this a by-product of the eye's physics, or are there any evolutionary grounds for it?

The human eye is, very subtly, sensitive to the polarization of light. This is an effect known as Haidinger's brush (see Wikipedia article of this name). What, if anything, is known or at least ...
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341 views

Extinction of species

I barely know anything about biology and realize that this might be a stupid question, but I'll ask anyway! I know that species "transform" into other species through the process of evolution. Many ...
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2answers
94 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 ...
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3answers
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Is there an evolutionary purpose to armpit perspiration?

Given that most Americans seem to do fine using anti-perspirant, it got me wondering: is there an evolutionary purpose to underarm perspiration? I can't imagine it acts to attract the opposite sex. ...
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Questions about the Evolution Theory [closed]

I'm trying to understand more about evolution theory. (I am coming from a mathematical background) What i understand till now is that the "improvement" of the dna is a purely random development and ...
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1answer
34 views

Is it possible for bacteria to acquire family-wide antibiotic resistance?

If there is bacteria, lets say Enterococci that is sensitive to: Amoxycillin-Clavulinic acid Ampicillin-Sulbactam Ofloxacin Ciprofloxacin Is it possible to ...
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0answers
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Inbreeding Coefficient and Coefficient of Relationship

Wikipedia gives the following formula to calculate a "path of coefficient of relationship" between an ancestor $A$ and an offspring $O$: $$\rho_{AO} = 2^{-n} \left( \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O} \right)^{1/2} ...
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Conservation Genetics - Book recommendations

Can you please give me some advice for a book in (evolutionary) conservation genetics that offers an in-depth review of the mathematical formulations used in this field. I read the book Evolutionary ...
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1answer
133 views

Two-fold cost of sex and r/K selection theory

This article cites a bunch of articles (I haven't been through them) that the effect of the two-fold cost of sex is "reduced" in stable environment or in K-selected environment. It says: [..] the ...
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1answer
29 views

Periods of Heavy Speciation

I have a set of microRNA ages with corresponding labels suggesting which clade they first emerged from. For instance, for hsa-mir-1, let's say, it would have an age of Eutheria. I have several peaks ...
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1answer
32 views

Does documentation exist that shows the evolutionary connection between common horses and the okapi?

I'm trying to put together some documentation on the relation between the common (modern) horse and the okapi. I've found a tree that shows that connection but it has no references. I'm hoping that ...
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Why do Mangoes have a single large seed, and not multiple small ones?

I was just thinking about this, wouldn't it make more sense for a mango to have multiple seeds, as it would allow more seed propagation?
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How did the horned lizard evolve?

It's a lizard that has the ability to burst blood vessels in it's eyes and shoot blood as self defense. How can this behavior be explained evolutionary? Wouldn't it mean that there had to be some ...
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Horizontal gene transfer versus convergent evolution

There are several often noted examples of convergent evolution (eyes, bat/bird wing evolution etc.) How do we rule out horizontal gene transfer in these cases?
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Height and natural selection in humans?

I watched the documentary "Evolve" recently and in the segment on "size" Scott V. Edwards, Harvard evolutionary biologist mentioned the idea that humans might evolve to be 7' tall in 'hundreds of ...
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Lost Ability to Regenerate Body Parts during the Transition from Amphibians to Mammals

Why have higher-order animals lost the ability to regenerate body parts during evolution? Wouldn't it be better for survival? What is the evolutionary theory behind it?
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Where are the evolutionary “inbetweeners”? [closed]

The problem I've always had with evolution is the actual lack of variation between animals. More specifically, the lack of observable gradual change between species. Take for example the hammerhead ...
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538 views

Which phylum appeared most recently

I'm aware that our earliest records of many major animal and plant phyla come from the Cambrian or Precambrian periods, and I'm also vaguely aware of some of the objections raised with general concept ...
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A question about the intersection of evolution and thermodynamics

From this 2014 article in Quanta magazine by Natalie Wolchover there is a quote from a physicist with an intriguing idea about evolution: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine ...
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1answer
97 views

What is the outcome of a human population starting with only 2 individuals? [closed]

Starting with a human population N = 2, is there any way the genetic variability seen today could have come about? I don't know that much about meiosis, but isn't there a very limited number of ...
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1answer
121 views

Are there any cases of observed extreme speciation [closed]

Is there an observed (direct not indirect) speciation on record showing a species shift within the span of history of recorded science?
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3k views

Why do humans find baby animals cute?

Why do humans find baby animals like cats, dogs, ... so cute? As these are potential competitors or even natural enemies (like e.g. tigers, leopards, ..), the protection instinct (reasonable for the ...
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How did the Chromosome #2 Fusion propagate?

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chromosomes of a common ancestor of chimps and humans as explained at wikipedia here Was it necessary for the common ancestor ...