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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4k views

Why don't mammals have more than 4 limbs?

Arthropods have 6 or more limbs and arthropods with 6 limbs appear to move faster than arthropods with 8 limbs so I wonder whether this might have something to do with fast and efficient locomotion. ...
3
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1answer
128 views

Empirical evidence for Group Selection?

A controversial concept in Biology "Group Selection", has caused confusion and conflict amongst scientists since the since the mid 1990s. The more general realm of study is termed the "unit of ...
2
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0answers
49 views

At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

What I am asking I am asking how often does mutations (in the broad sense) such as chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal translocations? I am interested about these ...
1
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0answers
12 views

Evolutionary reasoning behind redundancy of CST and RuST

According to my neuro-anatomy class, both the Corsticospinal Tract (CST) and the Rubrospinal Tract (RuST) control upper limb movement. What the evolutionary reasoning behind this redundancy and the ...
11
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2answers
119 views

How is menstruation not suicide in the wild?

Watch any wilderness special for more than a few minutes, and you'll notice a familiar pattern: when a predator catches the scent of blood on the wind, the hunt is on. Wounded animals make the best ...
1
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0answers
77 views

Can plants evolve into animals given enough time? [on hold]

A joke is that humans share 40% of our DNA with cabbage. I'm interested if it is possible for what we think of as plants to evolve into something we can classify as animal given enough time (a billion ...
8
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2answers
787 views

What is the evolutionary explanation for bat's echolocation [on hold]

The bat's ability for echolocation is amazing (so are other the abilities of other animals). I was wondering how all of it came to be.
1
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1answer
27 views

Definitions of robustness and canalization

The concepts of robustness and canalization are fashionable today in the biology literature. However, I am not sure of their definitions and I am not sure either that all authors actually use the same ...
9
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3answers
586 views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
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7answers
3k views

How did the first self replicating organism come into existence?

When people try to explain evolution, they tell me that evolution is a cumulative result of mutations & natural section of the more superior individuals of a particular species. I think I'm fairly ...
5
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1answer
69 views

When did CRISPR/Cas9 evolve and what is the likelihood that a superior system for live cell genome editing has already evolved on earth since then?

I've read that CRISPR/Cas9 is currently being implemented and tested for its ability to edit genomes in live cells, and that it is supplanting other genome editing tools in labs, such as TALENs and ...
4
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1answer
29 views

Is there an association between environmental and mutational robustness?

The robustness of a genotype is the ability of this genotype to resist (always produce the same phenotype) to various parameters such as mutations and environment. The ability of a genotype to resist ...
3
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1answer
296 views

Why are men stronger than women?

What are the evolutionary explanations for why women are weaker than men (on average), and is this difference adaptive? See figure one here. I suppose that something puts pressure on men to be ...
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0answers
31 views

About physiological processes in crossbred animals [closed]

Regarding the resolution of important physiological process that are 'similar' in a fertile female and male that are of similar but distinct species. If these processes are similar but have important ...
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0answers
27 views

Why men are stronger than women? [duplicate]

Is there a possibility that human males and females used to have the same strength? That maybe it is because for a long time men have been doing the manual labour and sports and women haven't and ...
14
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5answers
1k 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 ...
2
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2answers
92 views

What governs the size of animal bodies?

Million of years ago there lived dinosaurs up to 36 m high. About 10,000 years ago lived Machairodontinae -compared to cats today they were huge. About 400,000 years ago lived Mammuthus trogontherii: ...
2
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2answers
94 views

Do couples having children later in life act as an evolutionary mechanism?

Ok, this may be just wild nonsense and I have to warn that my knowledge on the subject is limited. I was reading about how in some countries people choose to have children later in life. After that ...
2
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0answers
28 views

How likely is it that through dog breeding, tail-wagging has been disassociated with happiness?

I am not a biologist, so sorry to anybody for misinformation in this post. If I understand correctly, dogs evolved the ability to show emotions through various sounds and tail-wagging in order to ...
13
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2answers
2k views

How and why did mammals go back to the oceans?

If I understand evolutionary biology correctly, mammals first evolved on land as small, rodent-like creatures, in a time when reptiles were dominant on land. Eventually, they diversified into the ...
7
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1answer
104 views

Fisher's Geometric Model for Dummies

Fisher's geometric model is still today one of the most important and fundamental model in evolutionary biology but it seems to me that most student in evolutionary biology don't really understand it ...
4
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1answer
29 views

Definition of “structural underdominance”?

In Stathos and Fishman (2014), the authors refer to the concept of structural underdominance. The first time they mention it is in the first paragraph of the second page (left column) and the term is ...
12
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4answers
1k views

Why would a single celled organism evolve to be multi-celled?

I read a story this week on Richard Lenski who has been 'evolving' E. coli for more than 50,000 generations now. One comment I read was from someone who doesn't accept Evolution who pointed out that ...
3
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0answers
16 views

Evolutionary motivation behind number of neurons in DCMMP

I'm studying neuro-anatomy right now and I was surprised to learn that there are only three neurons along the Dorsal Column Medial Lemniscal Pathway (DMLP) which relays mechanical sensations from the ...
7
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2answers
96 views

Why does botulinum toxin seem to be more dangerous to humans than to other mammals?

Various mammals seem to get away with eating parts of carcasses that we would prefer to not even touch, and that we assume will make us sick. Because of that, I assume botulinum toxin is more ...
9
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3answers
120 views

Why is green fur not a thing?

In most biomes on earth, and certainly in the most densely-populated, the best camouflage color or pattern for an animal would be a variant of green, so as to blend in with the leaves and grasses of ...
15
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2answers
4k views

How many humans have been in my lineage? Is it almost the same for every human currently living?

If I were to count my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and so on up till, say chimps, or the most common ancestor, or whatever that suits the more accurate answer, how many humans would ...
6
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0answers
139 views

What percentage of the total genetic variance is explained by the $n$ most important loci?

Standard models in population genetics look up at the evolution of few loci which impact fitness. The variance in fitness is determined by the genetic variance and the environmental variance (and the ...
2
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0answers
6 views

Mutation-drift equilibrium and among loci variance in heterozygosity

At mutation-drift balance, the increased heterozygosity brought by new mutations is exactly equal to the loss of heterozygosity due to genetic drift. At equilibrium, the expected heterozygosity for a ...
0
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0answers
25 views

Why do spiders have a leaf at the bottom of a piece of web?

I've lately seen a lot of instances where a leaf is dangling from a piece of web coming down off a tree. What purpose/s does this serve for the spider? Is it some sort of mechanism for the spider to ...
4
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1answer
110 views

Why isn't RH disease present in other mammals?

Basically, I have read about RH disease, Its rare but it can happen when an RH + baby is conceived by an RH - mother. This raises many questions. I have heard this problem only happens with humans, ...
0
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1answer
23 views

Regarding inherited fertility in animals

If an animal is fertile does it follow that both its parents of the same species (not necessarily the same species of the offspring)? Was it Mayer who said a fertile male and fertile female of two ...
1
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1answer
28 views

Evolutionary support for parenting book “The happiest baby on the block”

The book by Dr Harvey Karp (MD) The Happiest Baby on the Block proposes that the duration of human gestation has evolved as a tradeoff between cranial size and development of the infant. He ...
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1answer
57 views

Can we influence evolution by teaching primates to control fire? Should we?

Most people with a strong interest in biology will have heard of Kanzi the Bonobo, the ape that has the wherewithal to collect fuel for a campfire and play pac-man. But is it conceivable to influence ...
2
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1answer
73 views

How closely related are two parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis?

How closely related (from the evolutional point of view) are parasites Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis? Giardia genome is about 12 Mb and its major cellular proceses are rather simple. ...
5
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1answer
60 views

What is the “Spandrels” debate about?

In a former question, as a side question, I asked a clarification about the "Spandrels" paper. Being not a biologist, it was the first time I encoutered it. Subsequently I tried to collect some ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Why do baby mammals tend to play?

Why do babies of any mammal tend to play ? From humans to small dog pups, cubs of a lion, baby bears, etc. *I am not sure if the tag I chose is correct or not. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
1
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1answer
61 views

Did spiders respond to light for building webs before artificial light was invented?

I have noticed that during summer, beautiful spider colonies grow wherever a strong light is: I'm wonder whether spiders evolved to seek naturally lighted areas where they build nests (before ...
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1answer
64 views

Evolution 15 + 15 [closed]

If I flap my hands for say, about 1hr everyday, and I teach my future children to repeat this and so on, theoretically (at least), how many generations would it take for my grand [sons ...] to be ...
5
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1answer
28 views

Components of the concept of Developmental Noise?

Developmental noise is a concept that correspond to the amount of possible phenotypic variance of a given genotype in a given environment. Intrinsic noise (aka Cellular noise) is a component of ...
17
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3answers
839 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 ...
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2answers
57 views

Is the mutation rate in organisms in general consistent over the genome?

Coming from computer science with an interest in genetic programming (a process emulating evolution) I'm curious about whether the rate of mutation is homogeneous across the whole genome, or if some ...
0
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3answers
78 views

Conscious evolution

Does intelligence play a vital role in the evolution of an organism? In other words does an expansion of learning capacity increase the odds of evolution for the particular biological entity?
6
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1answer
70 views

What does “Mutational Variance” mean?

Background The concept of mutational variance can be found in many articles including this one for example. The mutational variance of a trait number $i$ can be found in the M-matrix in position ...
1
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2answers
96 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

Thanks for looking. I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who ...
3
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0answers
38 views

How does Natural Selection Shapes Genetic Variation?

Background Importance of the additive genetic variance As stated here, the fundamental theorem of Natural Selection (NS) by Fisher says: The rate of increase in the mean fitness of any organism ...
8
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2answers
128 views

Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
11
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6answers
2k views

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 ...
1
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1answer
114 views

Why has our nose evolved with the nostrils facing down?

For most animals, the whole bottom of their face sticks out and they have a snout with a mouth and nose at the end. But humans have a flat face and just a nose that sticks out. We used to have the ...
6
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2answers
163 views

Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?

In every non-life example I can envision, a copy of a copy is always a degraded or less pure version of the original unless some outside influence acts to correct the copy back toward the ideal ...