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

1
vote
1answer
143 views

Why are some fungi poisonous?

There are many poisonous fungi in nature. For example Amanita Phalloides. What reasons could a fungus need poison for? Some species, like venomous snakes, use poison to kill other species as prey. ...
6
votes
4answers
496 views

Are there any scientifically based predictions or theories of future human evolution?

Reading this question of the stack exchange got me thinking. I believe human evolution is an ongoing process and will not stop. Are there any predictions/theories about the phenotypes and genotypes of ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Why is duck fat less saturated than cow fat?

Why does the composition of fat in animals vary? Is there an evolutionary advantage to producing fat that is less or more saturated?
3
votes
2answers
305 views

How can sex ratios remain Fisherian (1:1) in species where only the dominant male gets to mate

In certain species only the dominant male gets to mate (or given strong preference), and yet the sex ratio remains 1:1. (I'm thinking in particular of gorillas). How does this happen? It doesn't seem ...
2
votes
2answers
196 views

Why did Fair Meiosis evolve?

How and why did Fair Meiosis evolve? I can hardly think that it provided a fitness advantage to the individual carrying the mutation. Why would it? Or did it evolve through lineage selection? Or was ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Randomness in living systems

The point of my question is not to talk about events that are uncontrolled by living organisms. My question is about controlled randomness, or I'd like to say adaptive random process. Process that are ...
2
votes
2answers
256 views

Why are there so many medicinal plants?

Here is wikipedia page containing a list of plants used in herbal medicine. One might first want to argue that many of them actually do not have any medicinal/beneficial effect on heatlth. I think we ...
-3
votes
3answers
589 views

How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems? [closed]

I hold to the truth of Evolution, but I've encountered several problems with it, that I can't answer, and I can't find an answer for, despite much research. If would be great if anyone can answer ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

Population genetics and the fitness probability distribution. Why is the arithmetic mean all we need?

When recording change in allele frequency in diploid, bi-allelic, infinite and panmixic population we usually use this kind of equation: $\delta_p = \frac{p * q *( p (w11 - w12) + q * (w12 - ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Origin of human intelligence and thought

I've been debating this topic with a friend of mine and we can't get to a common answer. She argues that we don't descend from any Chimpanzee or Orangutan because, if we did, they would also have the ...
9
votes
2answers
152 views

Why is venom more common in fish and snakes than other vertebrates?

Reading this question, I wondered why is it that we associate vertebrate venoms so often with snakes and fish, and more rarely with lizards, amphibians, mammals, and birds (apparently never, in ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do parasites sometimes kill their hosts?

It's bothered me for a while now. I understand why a parasitoid would do this, as it only temporarily requires the host, and that not all parasites kill their hosts. There seems to be no evolutionary ...
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
984 views

Why are there no organisms with metal body parts, like weapons, bones, and armour? (Or are there?)

Reading this question, Why are there no wheeled animals?, I wondered why no organisms seem to make use of the tensile and other strengths of metal, as we do in metal tools and constructions. I am ...
-1
votes
3answers
75 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
239 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
votes
1answer
97 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
votes
1answer
453 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?
1
vote
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 ...
17
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
0
votes
6answers
2k views

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

What does "fit" mean in "survival of the fittest"?
1
vote
2answers
176 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
234 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
votes
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
votes
4answers
394 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
votes
1answer
484 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
votes
1answer
101 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
142 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
votes
1answer
340 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
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
votes
1answer
557 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
votes
2answers
90 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
votes
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
votes
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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
392 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
votes
1answer
100 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
248 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
123 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Has medical progress stopped human evolution? [duplicate]

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
votes
1answer
118 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?
2
votes
2answers
388 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
votes
4answers
506 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 ...
10
votes
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
votes
1answer
466 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 ...