Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, migration, drift, and selection.

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Is it possible there were multiple origins of life? And, if so, why did the one which became the common ancestor between all organisms prevail?

I have learned that all currently-living organisms come from a common ancestor, which I theoretically understand. However, my professor in a class mentioned that there is a chance that there were ...
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0answers
64 views

How did the double circulatory system evolve from the single circulatory system

I already learned how the mammal circulatory system (double circulatory system) evolved from the reptilian circulatory system. How did natural selection evolve the reptilian circulatory system and the ...
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0answers
56 views

Why do we turn darker in the sun? [duplicate]

I tried the all powerful google to answer this question - but I am not getting the answer I seek. I know we turn darker because the skin produces melanin. The question remains - why darker? I am a ...
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3answers
142 views

How is genetic speciation defined?

What determines speciation at a molecular level? At what point does a scientist determine two lineages are different enough to be considered separate species? Does it have a margin of error?
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3answers
164 views

Why didn't humans evolve to reproduce identical twins all the time?

According to the selfish gene theory, it seems like because identical twins sometimes get produced, a mutation to a gene that says, "if you have an identical twin, be fully altruistic towards them" ...
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1answer
304 views

why didn't natives of south america evolve darker skin?

I understand that darker skin tone is caused by melanin which helps to protect against the extra UV radiation that comes from more direct sunlight. It evolved in Africa before we migrated away from ...
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0answers
48 views

How did the tendency to perform death rituals evolve?

Both elephants and humans perform rituals when deaths occur. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. The rituals take time, which apparently could be better spent hunting, foraging, ...
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553 views

Why do genetic drift generates negative linkage disequilibrium?

The very first sentence of the abstract of this article is: "In finite populations subject to selection, genetic drift generates negative linkage disequilibrium, on average, even if selection acts ...
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1answer
76 views

How did people's liking of ceremonies evolve? [closed]

Habitual group activities are prevalent across many animal species, particularly in mammals, especially in primates. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. 'Ceremonies' take time, ...
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1answer
72 views

History: Do evolutionary and ecological processes occur at the same timescales?

Classically, it was thought that evolutionary processes occurred at a much slower pace than demographic/ecological processes. Nobody, ever thought about incorporating both processes into the same ...
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2answers
128 views

Within and Between Allelic Class Diversity

I am reading Charlesworth et al. 1997. They talk about diversity within and between allelic classes. Nucleotide diversities ($π$) at each neutral site were estimated from the mean of $2 \sum z_t ...
4
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1answer
70 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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1answer
83 views

Extinction of species with extant descendants

From what I've seen, species such as Homo heidelbergensis which have extant descendants are classified as extinct, which makes sense as far as it goes. However, given that species exhibit a continuum ...
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1answer
76 views

Is it “easier” for researchers to detect evolutionary ancestry than distance in the evolutionary tree?

I'm a researcher in another field who has wandered into a problem with applications to biology. I hope to sell my results by making the following statement: Given two species X and Y, it is ...
5
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1answer
106 views

What was the evolutionary reason for cross lateralization of the brain?

In the human brain the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. What led to this development? Why doesn't the left side of the ...
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1answer
995 views

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain?

Why is the pituitary gland located in the brain in humans, instead of elsewhere in the body? Why would this be an evolutionary beneficial adaptation?
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1answer
97 views

What are the units of Phylogenetic Independent Contrasts (PICs)

PICs are a popular phylogenetic comparative method and I was wondering what units the actual contrasts are in. I want to say they are unitless but I am not entirely sure.
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0answers
24 views

Why does our body exhibit bilateral symmetry? [duplicate]

Externally, we (humans) look symmetrical. However, internal organs don't show the same patterns of symmetry (heart being on the left side while the liver is on the right side, etc.). It is a bit ...
3
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2answers
85 views

Evolution of protein and protein efficiency

Suppose we have a bacterial protein that performs a function and let's say we can measure the efficiency of the protein. Let's say we have two species, species A and B, both of which have this ...
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2answers
562 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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8answers
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Is there a biological mechanism for evolution encoded into our DNA?

Throughout high school, I remember learning about Darwin's theory of evolution as if it were near-fact. But something always seemed wrong about the ideas presented. Survival of the fittest Random ...
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1answer
64 views

How did evolution support sports, fun, entertainment etc [duplicate]

We know that many animals entertain themselves by playing games. But sports actually increases risks of death,or at least accidents. So why did evolution choose it? And why did evolution decide to ...
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2answers
160 views

Driving force for speciation for millions of species today

I would like to know if speciation really occurs (trans-speciation). Have we had enough time for millions of species? A creationist argument is that the slow changes in traits in organisms, taking ...
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1answer
186 views

Why does the number of mutations per individuals follow a Poisson distribution?

I was reading this review. On page 11, left column, first paragraph, one can read: [..] there is a Poisson distribution of the equilibrium number of mutations per individual, if fitness effects ...
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1answer
75 views

Is there a schema for how human behavior is genetically determined?

It seem one can distinguish three different kinds of genetic determinism of common patterns of human behavior: behavior that is directly wired into our nervous system, e.g. face-related mirror ...
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3answers
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What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...
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3answers
138 views

Why are sight and sound prerequisites for intelligence?

Edward O. Wilson, in The Diversity of Life wrote (emphasis mine): Ninety-nine percent of the animals find their way by chemical trails. […] Animals are masters of this chemical channel, ...
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1answer
133 views

What is variation in Speciation

I read a lot about speciation. To my knowledge, A species is often defined as a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature and produce fertile offspring. Speciation is a ...
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110 views

Evolution of the Redundancy of the Genetic Code

In short Looking at the genetic code, it appears that most redundancy is on the third letter rather than on the first or the second letter of the codon. Why has it evolved this way? Longer version ...
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3answers
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There aren't any animals like hornets that hunt large prey (like a rabbit, or even up to a deer), right? Why not?

There aren't any eusocial animals (hives of wasps, ants, termites, etc) that hunt large prey, are there? I'm thinking prey in the size range of, say, a rabbit, or even a deer. I can't see a rabbit ...
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3answers
90 views

Why is there a seeming dichotomy between mobility and photosynthesis?

At least among more complex organisms, I cannot think of any examples of highly mobile species (like animals) that also incorporate photosynthesis. Perhaps there are examples that I'm unaware of, but ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
83 views

What form of reproduction did the first land animals use?

What form of reproduction did the first animals on land use*? Were they hermaphrodites, or did they have male and female sexes? [Is there a proper term for sexual separation in a species?] Were any ...
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0answers
97 views

Why are there no complex hermaphrodite land animals? [closed]

The title says it all. I know that 'complex' is a pretty ambiguous term to use, but I can't think of a more scientific term/definition for my meaning. I can't think of any large (larger then a small ...
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1answer
5k views

Why can't humans drink sea water?

Why can't humans drink sea water? It would seem to be a huge evolutionary advantage for an animal to be able to drink sea water rather than have to rely on fresh water, and it's provably not ...
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28 views

Wolbachia - cytoplasmic incompatibility

I read that cytoplasmic incompatibility in Wolbachia occurs when wolbachia-infected male insects mate with wolbachia-free female insects and produce non-viable offspring. By contrast, ...
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21 views

What chordata evolve first limb

I try to search when and what specie develop first bone limb. I also want to know when second pair develop. And first pair was front or back one? And why it stop only at 2 pairs. Are there any fish ...
3
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1answer
74 views

why do marine organisms orient with their bellies facing downwards?

why do marine organisms orient with their bellies facing downwards (like most creatures) given that they have relatively fewer constraints on their orientations than land or air organisms?
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58 views

Name/Examples of Traits whose benefit is non-obvious and/or which evolve despite apparent mal-adaptivness?

I'm a graduate student in cognitive science doing work on people's explanations and learning, particularly having to do with natural selection. Often, students misunderstand natural selection as a ...
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4answers
561 views

Why people like to see pornographic scenes, but do not feel the same about eating scenes? [closed]

This question may seem funny, but I think biology must have good answers. I think no more explanation is needed. I really thought about this and searched for an answer, but there is nothing yet. If ...
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3answers
106 views

What fraction of sites are expected to be polymorphic?

Question Consider a very long (eventually infinite) DNA sequence of neutral sites. Consider a panmictic population of constant size $N$ with a per site mutation rate of $\mu$ where all individuals ...
7
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1answer
79 views

How does chromosome fusion get fixed in the population?

It's well known that one of human chromosomes is the result of fusion between two chromosomes in a primate ancestor. If we put anthropocentrism aside, it becomes clear that fusion events happened a ...
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0answers
82 views

Saline solution for animals

A popular "well-known fact" is that all creatures on Earth consist mostly of water (i.e. H2O). Indeed, a liquid called "normal saline solution" is just a solution of 0.9% sodium chloride in distilled ...
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5answers
2k views

Why did life not evolve to use radio?

We use electromagnetic communication everywhere these days. Cell phones, wifi, old-school radio transmissions, television, deep space communication, etc. I'm curious about some of the possible ...
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38 views

Why does bacillus thuringiensis produce bt toxin?

Background : B.thuringiensis produces an inactive crystalline toxin during sporulation which when ingested by an insect, gets activated and causes pore formation in gut , subsequently leading to death ...
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1answer
372 views

Where do most mutations come from, mitosis or meiosis?

According to this (old) paper there are 10 times more mutations during meiosis than during mitosis. One reason for that is that recombination often causes replication error and therefore mutations. ...
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Why do humans find baby animals cute?

Why do humans find baby animals like cats, dogs, ... so cute? As these are potential competitors (when grown up!) or even natural enemies (like e.g. tigers, leopards, ..), the protection instinct ...
5
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76 views

Understanding F-statistics in population genetics

I am reading a classical Weir and Cockerham 1984 paper about Fst estimation. At the beginning (first page, right column), they define 3 statistics. $F$ is the correlation of genes within individuals ...
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1answer
175 views

Are there any theories why such an imbalance in chirality of molluscs?

Most gastropods exhibit sinistral (right hand) winding of their shells. But very few species are anti sinistral. Have there been any theories as to why such a great difference?
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Were we able to create vitamin B12 in past?

All herbivores produce vitamin B12 de novo. Gorillas, for example, are "vegans" so I suppose some human ancestor was also herbivore. Have we ever been B12 self-producers? If so, why have we lost that ...