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

2
votes
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
vote
3answers
81 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 ...
2
votes
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
vote
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
votes
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
votes
2answers
196 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
votes
1answer
125 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
votes
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
votes
6answers
1k views

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

What does "fit" mean in "survival of the fittest"?
8
votes
2answers
490 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
vote
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
votes
1answer
278 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
84 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
votes
2answers
136 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
votes
1answer
208 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
vote
2answers
115 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 ...
40
votes
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
votes
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
350 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
125 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
votes
2answers
85 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
votes
1answer
81 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
votes
1answer
308 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
133 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
votes
1answer
95 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
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
366 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
vote
3answers
198 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
votes
2answers
350 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
8k 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
votes
1answer
102 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
377 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
votes
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
382 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
vote
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
552 views

Mathematical Modelling of Natural Selection

I'm a math undergrad looking for some papers on modelling the process of natural selection. The only paper I've been able to find is by the pre-eminent mathematician Herbert Wilf from 2010, There's ...
13
votes
4answers
984 views

Are there any examples of sudden leaps in evolution?

As far as I understand, various abilities like flying, sight, hearing etc. were caused by slow evolution, where those with a greater ability to to these things had better chance of survival. (If this ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Reproductive isolation causing evolution

My course book says about reproductive isolation that it does not allow the interbreeding among the individuals of different species. It also says that it is a cause of evolution. How is this cause ...
0
votes
1answer
137 views

Why does the PR form of phytochrome exist?

I know how it gets converted because PR is more stable and when there is neither red or far red light PFR naturally converts to PR. But what is the point of it? If PFR is the biologically active one ...
3
votes
3answers
253 views

Is it possible to make bacteria vulnerable to antibiotics it's resistant to?

Since bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics after an unfinished course, is it possible to do anything to be able to get treatment with the same antibiotic again, and reverse the resistance in the ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

What's the Evolutionary Purpose of Religion? [closed]

I would imagine the answer to this question would be that religion tends to cause greater compliance of individuals within society, so it is pro-society. Plus these religions tend to incorporate some ...
6
votes
1answer
141 views

Alternatives to fittest-win and Moran processes as simple mathematical models of selection

When modeling selective sweeps as a micro-building block in models of macroevolution (not to be confused with misuses of this in creationist arguments), I use the fittest-win model of selection as a ...
3
votes
1answer
139 views

How might gene clusters like the lac operon evolve?

The obvious answer for a gene cluster is gene duplication and mutation of one or both genes. But the genes in the lac operon seem not be so functionally/structurally similar (as compared to the Hox ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What factors are known to affect evolution?

My understanding is that the possible mechanisms of evolution are: Environmental changes Cultural/mating preferences Population Immigration Genetic Mutation Am I missing anything? I've heard that ...
0
votes
2answers
127 views

Why do some people find vegetables so repellent when evolutionarily they should find them an attractive and thus tasty food?

Why do certain people (especially kids) find vegetables so "repellent" when evolutionarily they should find them an attractive and thus tasty food? I ask this question because if Darwin's theory of ...
0
votes
3answers
209 views

Can this theory on the evolution of human appearance be flawed?

This is what a friend of mine said: When there's human offspring, it will look a rough 'medium' between the two parents, with it sharing features from the two. well if the offspring of one set ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Agony, Hydrophobia and viruses in the light of evolutionary principles

I'm undergraduate physics student, but I've always been interested in biology. So I have a couple of questions about an application of the evolutionary principles to practice. Agony as the last ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Indestructible Super Shrimp

How are shrimp and other animals able to not be crushed by the 1000x greater pressure at the bottom on the Mariana trench? Wiki says the trench is home to "large living creatures such as a sole or ...