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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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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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 (...
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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 $\beta$...
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85 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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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 "...
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112 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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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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99 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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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 ...
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87 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 protein....
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563 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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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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66 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
164 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
197 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
76 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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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
140 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
142 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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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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91 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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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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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
101 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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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, wolbachia-...
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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 ...
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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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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
564 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
115 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 ...
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1answer
82 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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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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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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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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401 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 (...
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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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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 ...
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403 views

Evolution of insects, spiders and jellyfish

Well we all learned at school the classic evolutionarily theory ...
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665 views

Do butterflies pass over migration patterns to their offspring?

So, earlier, I read online (http://io9.com/butterflies-remember-a-mountain-that-hasnt-existed-for-509321799) that Monarch butterflies veer east during their southward migration to avoid a mountain ...
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Theoretically, is domestication of (virtually) any animal possible?

Looking at ones that manage well alongside us human animals, such as dogs and cats, we see that this is possible for evolved, distant animals to have heritable, preferable traits around people. ...
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Forward versus backward numerical simulations in population genetics

My question is closely related to this post. There are a number of existing platforms to perform numerical individual-based simulation in populations genetics. An almost exhaustive list of such ...
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Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity? [closed]

Are humans more attracted to people from their own ethnic groups? I ask this because most of the time people have relationships with people of their own ethnicity, and I wonder if it's purely social, ...
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Has a new functional structure ever been observed arising spontaneously?

Have we ever observed a new functional biological structure arising spontaneously such as a new functional organ (sensory or otherwise. such as tracing some creature in the past few hundred years ...
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What is meant in biology by the term “evolved”?

A student asked me this the other day and I thought that I would ask it again here. If one organism is said to be "more evolved" than another, what exactly does this mean?
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42 views

Why do human have continuously-growing hair on their head? [duplicate]

Why do hair continuously grow on human heads, while the same doesn't happen on other parts of the human body? Where there are hair, they only usually grow to a fixed length; but they seem to have no ...
2
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1answer
106 views

System biology and evolution: Book-recommendations

I have relatively good knowledge in evolutionary biology and in population genetics. I am getting more and more interested in the evolution of ... genetic developmental processes gene interactions ...