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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11
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2answers
373 views

When did vision evolve for the first time?

Today I wondered what the first organism to evolve vision would have been. I assume that it would have been kind of primitive and basic, but of course extremely innovative and eventually useful to a ...
11
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1answer
639 views

How does evolution produce complex organs

I've been wondering lately how evolution manages to produce complex organs. It is pretty obvious to me how evolution would select some minor traits like size, resistnce to illness or climate. There is ...
4
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1answer
149 views

Why would deers keep crossing a river full of crocodiles while some of them have been killed?

I recently watched a clip on Discovery Channel, where I saw deers crossing a river full of crocodiles, ignoring the fact that some of them would have been killed doing so. What could be an ...
13
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3answers
2k views

When has an organism evolved enough to be called a new species?

Imagine that we take a population of horses, split them in half and place them in completely different environments. The two species will evolve separate from each other and because the environment is ...
3
votes
7answers
346 views

Introductory books about evolution

This days I read some debates on evolution. That made me more interested to read something reliable on topic - I mean books. I'm christian - although I think it doesn't matter on that topic - and I ...
5
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1answer
114 views

Is extreme cladism a mainstream position in the species debate?

In the philosophy of biology it has been claimed many times that a popular position regarding the question of what species are, among biologists, is cladism. For my current purposes, the defining ...
6
votes
3answers
599 views

Why *don't* all ants have wings?

Since the new queens-to-be have wings, it means that ants either evolved from insects that can fly, or insects that can fly evolved from ants, or that we have a case of parallel evolution (which is ...
3
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1answer
282 views

Can parents' learned traits be transmitted genetically?

I am wondering whether a behavioral trait (e.g. fear or stress experienced in the lifetime of the parent) can be transmitted genetically to its offspring? I understand that a behavioral tendency for ...
12
votes
2answers
335 views

Is there any reason for the variation in mitochondrial DNA size?

As my textbook An Introduction to Genetic Analysis points out, yeast mitochondrial DNA has approximately 78 kb of genetic data, while the human mitochondrial DNA contains 17 kb. Is there any evolution ...
6
votes
1answer
239 views

Computational/mathematical models for predicting phenotype from genotype

Karr, Sanghvi, et al. (2012) propose a whole-cell computational model for predicting phenotype from genotype in Mycoplasma genitalium. Their model simulates myriad cell processes such as DNA ...
10
votes
1answer
635 views

Is there an evolutionary advantage to crying when sad?

It seems as though the act of crying when sad does nothing to relieve that sadness. Is there an advantage to crying from an evolutionary perspective, or is it the end result of a different process? ...
6
votes
1answer
289 views

How and when did a dedicated immune system evolve?

I have recently been doing a lot of research into the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems in humans, and mammalian laboratory models. This has led to my reading some interesting ...
10
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2answers
152 views

Is there an “evolutionary species similarity calculator”?

Is there a website where I can input pairs of species and get an "evolutionary similarity score"? E.g. (numbers are completely made up) Input: Chimp and Human, Output: 97% Input: Cat and Human, ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Why does the butterfly have a cocoon stage in its life cycle?

Why does the butterfly have a cocoon stage in its life cycle? It could have simply grown up within the egg/cocoon, and emerged as a butterfly. Instead it is first an egg, then a worm, then a ...
7
votes
1answer
907 views

Why is the Kakapo more attracted to humans than its own kind?

The Kakapo can be seen in this video by BBC. It is said that the species is strongly sexually attracted to humans. Why could this be the case?
-4
votes
1answer
249 views

Why hasn't mother nature made us aware of our lizard brain? [closed]

In many personal improvement books I've read, people make a distinction between 2 parts of our brain: the logical brain, dealing with logic, judgement, thinking; what makes Humans different than ...
7
votes
2answers
125 views

Genetic Models for Natural Selection?

My question is simple: Given that evolution is described by random genetic mutations allowing certain members of a species to gain a reproductive advantage over others that coexist in the particular ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

How do archaea relate to eukaryotes and bacteria?

I've read that they all share some genes, internal structure, and behaviour with each other, but with different degrees of overlap depending of what the function is. E.g., archaea have some eukaryotic ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Features in individuals causing high population variation

As I understand it, a population with high variation is something sought after, since it makes the population better equipped to face a dynamic environment. Then, I guess features in an individual ...
22
votes
4answers
863 views

Why do men have nipples?

I'd be tempted to call nipples in men vestigial, but that suggests they have no modern function. They do have a function, of course, but only in women. So why do men (and all male mammals) have them? ...
3
votes
1answer
251 views

What are samples of “Outlaw Genes”

I read this in a paper Keller and Ross describe their greenbeard gene as an ‘outlaw’. Admittedly, the comment is only made in passing, but are they correct? In this context an outlaw is ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

Homologies to insect wings

All winged vertebrates have wings which are homologous to each other and to the forelimbs of the non-winged vertebrates. But what about insect wings? Are all insect wings homologous, and are there any ...
5
votes
1answer
481 views

How and why did mouth and nasal cavity evolve separate?

My initial objection is that nose filters air, mouth is for eating but is used for breathing also, plus they both are used to create sounds. What is the cause and reason in this case, why do we need ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is polyploidy lethal for some organisms while for others is not?

Polyploidy is the multiplication of number of chromosomal sets from 2n to 3n (triploidy), 4n (tetraploidy) and so on. It is quite common in plants, for example many crops like wheat or Brassica forms. ...
9
votes
1answer
652 views

How does population stability evolve?

The number of individuals constituting a population is called population size. Over time population size does not remain constant, it fluctuates to different extent over generations because of ...
17
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2answers
287 views

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?
1
vote
1answer
279 views

What animals stop other members of their species from mating and why?

(In particular primates) I know chimps do. Powerful alpha males chimp would beat up omega males that they caught mating. I know gorillas do. Powerful alpha males gorillas would beat up omega males ...
0
votes
1answer
175 views

What is the similarity between how cells organize themselves to form a human and how humans organize themselves to form a society? [closed]

Some things I have gathered. Common properties - individuals - communicate - local view - selfish - specialize - organize - replicate - cooperate - emergence Terminology cell ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Productive turnover and generations in the fruit fly

I was reading about the Lenski experiments on the evolution of E. coli bacterium and Dr. Elders's experiments on the evolution of the guppy. These two experiments absolutely fascinated me, and seemed ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Are there other mechanisms for mutation besides imperfect DNA replication?

I was reading http://www.askamathematician.com/2012/05/q-is-quantum-randomness-ever-large-enough-to-be-noticed/ and saw: [...] the evolution of entire species can be changed by a single mistake ...
19
votes
1answer
225 views

Evolutionary origin and exogenous cues of ~28 day infradian rhythm?

The most obvious example of an approximately monthly biological cycle is the human menstrual cycle. My questions are the following: Is it known when and where this cycle or one like it arose? What ...
8
votes
2answers
139 views

Are there any structures in mammals that are used only by males?

There are examples of structures which only serve a purpose in females, but it seems like the opposite could also be true. Are there any structures which exist in both mammalian sexes and only serve a ...
10
votes
2answers
160 views

Did we first have swimming birds or flying birds?

Looking at the swimming birds building nests just across my garden, I suddenly wondered how evolution came to swimming birds and whether flying birds started swimming or whether swimming bird like ...
14
votes
3answers
450 views

What is the most difficult feature to explain evolutionarily? [closed]

I wonder what are examples of organs/structures/behaviours/cooperation that evolutionary biologists themselves find most difficult to explain -- to explain how they could appear evolutionarily -- ...
11
votes
3answers
324 views

How did the human brain evolve?

A common question posed is, "how did the eye evolve?", because the eye is so complex. However, this has been answered rather clearly and there are several examples around the world of animals in ...
10
votes
1answer
120 views

What advantage would the initial 'donor' in horizontal gene transfer by conjugation have received?

I am struggling to think why horizontal gene transfer between bacteria would have persisted during the course of evolution as surely it puts the 'donor' at a disadvantage? For example, consider a ...
7
votes
2answers
163 views

Is there a dominant gene for right-handedness?

Has there been any definitive research about handedness being genetic? Also, why is right-handedness clearly dominant in humans? I'm interested in evolutionary theories, as well as any molecular ...
13
votes
5answers
306 views

Can species back-evolve?

One of the tenets of Darwin's theory is the survival of the fittest, ie adaptation of features that allow a species to adapt better to its surrounding environment. I am wondering that given the right ...
15
votes
1answer
391 views

How did viruses come to be?

My question is out of curiosity and got me thinking. How did viruses with the head, tail and tail fibres actually evolve? These viruses look more like machines than biological entities. Are there any ...
-3
votes
1answer
297 views

How To Avoid Macro-Evolution Confusion? [closed]

I regularly encounter students who believe humans came from amoebas and when asked why they often say Macro-Evolution has been scientifically proven. Macro-evolution is defined as evolution at or ...
8
votes
1answer
141 views

What do we know about LUCA?

All life on Earth (bacteria, archaea, eukarya) is thought to have evolved from a common ancestor, or last universal common ancestor (LUCA). What do we know about the characteristics of LUCA based upon ...
5
votes
1answer
150 views
9
votes
2answers
247 views

Are there differences in DNA between humans of today and humans from 2000 years ago?

Are there any significant differences in our genome compared to the genes of our ancestors from 1000-2000 years ago? And if there are significant differences, do they result in significant ...
9
votes
3answers
571 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
463 views

Did human hairs actually evolve from scales?

What is the evolution of hairs? Did they evolve from scales?
4
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1answer
218 views

What did pangolin scales evolve from?

Were they developed anew or a heritage from fish?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the closest species to humans in animal kingdom?

I presumed chimpanzees were the closest relatives of us. However, after watching this TED Talk, it seems bonobos are closer to us both in skeleton and behavioral similarity than chimpanzees. I once ...
11
votes
2answers
282 views

Why do pandas have a high probability of giving birth to twins?

According to the BBC documentary "Wild About Pandas", about half of panda birth result in twins. Why do they have such a high probability compared to other mammals? What factor(s) control that ...
18
votes
3answers
353 views

Good source that explains the evolution of single-celled organisms “from scratch”

Are there any books or sites that detail, step-by-step, the evolution of the first single-celled organisms (bacteria, archaea) from a Miller-Urey-like beginning? That is, assumes only amino acids, ...
9
votes
1answer
475 views

Why are there nail growth differences between humans and other mammals?

When a cat is growing, his nails are growing with him to some extent. A grown cat has a fixed nail length that is not extending. By contrast, human finger nails just keep on growing, so we have to ...