Tagged Questions

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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2answers
229 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 ...
2
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1answer
96 views

Earliest ancestor of humans who could integrate into modern society

Assuming the current model of human evolution to be correct, approximately when did the earliest ancestor of humans live, who was intelligent enough, that if raised from a young enough age, could ...
2
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1answer
439 views

Advantage of being deuterostome

We know that most of the so called "Advanced" organisms are deuterostomes (i.e., development of gut starts from anus). Is there any evolutionary advantage of that? If not, why and how did it evolve?
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3answers
83 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 ...
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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 ...
5
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1answer
128 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 ...
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6answers
2k views

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

What does "fit" mean in "survival of the fittest"?
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2answers
175 views

Eusociality and Natural selection?

Eusociality, particularly focusing on the presence of certain altruistic sterile organisms within the social set-up creates questions as to why would the process of natural selection have favoured the ...
6
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2answers
118 views

Is there theory that connects longevity, time-scale of environmental disturbance, and adaptation?

I'm thinking here about environmental disturbance or like climate change-driven warming. It seems as if there are two macroevolutionary ways to deal with environmental change: 1) Have short ...
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2answers
231 views

Does evolution destroy functional sequences much faster than it creates them in any large-genome animal with low reproductive rates?

Recently I have found myself in a discussion with a guy that isn't a creationist, but denies evolution. He cites several studies that show problems like this one, but I do not have the knowledge to ...
2
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0answers
22 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 ...
4
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4answers
386 views

What is the viability of Intelligent Design as a supplement to chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution?

First of all I am not endorsing Intelligent Design (Wikipedia link); I'm asking this because I (someone who does not have a background in biology, organic chemistry, or philosophy) got into a ...
8
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1answer
452 views

Could humans and chimpanzees hybridize?

In some cases two species can hybridize. For example, Tigers and lions can hybridize to produce "Ligers". Would it also be possible for humans and chimpanzees (or any other species) to hybridize ? ...
4
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1answer
99 views

How animals maintain their body shape after development to maturity?

I've recently read a book on evolutionary-developmental biology for laymen, and it described how a fetus is progressively divided into more refined zones of genetic activity. These zones, kinda like ...
2
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2answers
87 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
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2answers
140 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 ...
3
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1answer
335 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 ...
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2answers
117 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the differences between G+ and G- bacteria?

The distinction between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria is based upon the Gram staining method, that reflects the bacterial wall physical properties. However, this classification involves ...
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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 ...
6
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1answer
127 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
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1answer
517 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. ...
2
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2answers
89 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 ...
6
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2answers
141 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 ...
4
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1answer
85 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 ...
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1answer
376 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 ...
3
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1answer
99 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
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1answer
232 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 ...
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4answers
121 views

How did the activities of protocells become inheritable?

I have learned that first a protocell came to exist and its characteristics came to be passed on by genetic material. So how come genes for all the activities come to incorporate into genetic ...
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3answers
202 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 ...
4
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1answer
114 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?
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2answers
380 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 ...
6
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4answers
501 views

If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?

Natural selection is a central tenet of evolution. However, most biologists seem determined to prevent the extinction of the species that have been selected against. Why is this? Preservation of ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the evolutionary reason behind the fragility of teeth?

Almost all organs in the human body have a rather large threshold within which the organ or tissue is capable of repairing itself using materials supplied by the body, whether it's made from organic ...
4
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1answer
456 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 ...
3
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1answer
213 views

Macroevolution vs. microevolution

Where is the line usually drawn between macroevolution and microevolution? I thought that, although similar processes govern both, the line was at the species level, with macroevolution being changes ...
35
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3answers
2k views

Why are there no wheeled animals?

In physics, "almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few unimportant holes." (See Jolly.) Therefore, on Physics SE, people are veering off into different directions: ...
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1answer
114 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 ...
9
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1answer
282 views

Structure of fitness landscapes in the NK model

The NK model of rugged fitness landscapes consists of $N$ sites where fitness contribution of each site depends on its state $\{0,1\}$ and is epistatically affected by $K$ other sites. When defining ...
3
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1answer
186 views

Are there natural selection experiments that quantitatively agree with theoretical modeling?

Has anyone ever conducted an evolution experiment and quantitatively compared it to theory? For example, has anyone ever put bacteria in a million petri dishes filled with antibiotics and calculated ...
6
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2answers
212 views

Is local equilibrium a reasonable assumption for evolutionary processes?

Whenever I look at discussions of fitness landscapes (in particular, Kauffman's NK model) the questions tend to resemble: The population is at a local equilibrium, but another equilibrium of ...
2
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1answer
90 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 ...
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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
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1answer
166 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 ...
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1answer
144 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 ...
3
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3answers
266 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 ...
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1answer
186 views

Cyanobacterial photosynthetic oxygen yield

I am somehow not convinced that biotic factors are solely responsible for creating 21% of atmosphere (around 40 million moles of oxygen). There may be additional issues here. Since cyanobacteria ...
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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 ...
3
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1answer
214 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 ...
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2answers
150 views

Effect of zero selection (pressure) on the population health

Evolution naturally produces better features: stronger muscles, teeth and minds. Killing the weakest, evolution wipes defective genes out of populations. The mutations are necessary for advance. ...