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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How much difference in genome is enough to prevent interbreeding? [on hold]

I am not a biologist. I am a software developer interested in genetic algorithms therefore i am probably talking to biologists who also have a knowledge of genetic algorithms. I need to "breed" ...
11
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1answer
340 views

The Origin of Mitochondria

For a long time I've just accepted, because it is just what everyone told me, that mitochondria became organelles in the cell when they were "engulfed" by another cell which acted like it's host. This ...
4
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1answer
34 views

How does the body “know” how to metabolize foreign substances

As a freshman biochemistry major, I find myself befuddled by our body's ability to perform complex chemical reactions to break down foreign substances. I can see how we would evolve explicit pathways ...
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0answers
57 views

How important is the womb's environment?

- Background - Talking about one phenotypic trait, the total phenotypic variance $V_p$ is decomposed into genetic and environmental variance for this trait, represented by the symbols $V_G$ and $V_E$ ...
3
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1answer
56 views

Statistics on energy consumption breakdown per biological functions across organisms?

Are there any statistics available on how much energy organisms use for each biological functions (i.e. something similar to the line of "Bacteria spend X% of energy on information processing, Y% for ...
2
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1answer
361 views

Why were dinosaurs not as smart as we are?

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaur, Dinosaurs were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years. They had a lot of time to evolve. My question is: why were dinosaurs not ...
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0answers
24 views

DDX11L2 Fusion Site (Human Chromosome #2) [on hold]

I've read a handful of articles by creationists with elaborate attempts to debunk the Human Chromosome #2 fusion site during our Evolutionary history. That being said, they claim that the fusion site ...
0
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1answer
67 views

Can someone help me analyze this article? [on hold]

I need to read this article — "Beyond the rainbow" by Marie-Claire Koschowitz et al., for an exam. Following are some questions for which I could not figure the answer out after reading. 1) Why ...
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3answers
68 views

Evolutionary chronology - if any, which species have evolved in the last 100 years

I heared somewhere, I cannot remember where, that there has not been an evolution observed in our lifetime. In life science class, right at the start, we was doing the usual MRSGREN (how to tell if ...
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3answers
85 views

Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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4answers
178 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 ...
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0answers
19 views

Coniferous trees in temperare rain forests

In temperate rainforest, the dominant plant form is often coniferous trees (source). However, coniferous trees are also the dominant plant form in a very different climate and form a different biome ...
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2answers
177 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 ...
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3answers
53 views

Evolution: One big population vs. many small populations

Let's say I want to evolve a bacterium that is resistant to an antibiotic. I want to do this by growing initially clonal populations of bacteria in presence of this antibiotic for a long time. I have ...
1
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1answer
40 views

Deciduous trees in tropical rainforest

Some books says the dominant plant form in tropical rainforest biome is broad leaved evergreen trees. Other books say it is broad leaved evergreen trees and deciduous trees. What is the most accepted ...
9
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2answers
103 views

Is there any evolutionary advantage of selection of L-amino acid over D-amino acid?

After listening to a scientific talk, I had this question that why in the natural selection process, are the L-amino acids selected over the D- form. However, we still we produce D-amino acids; ...
6
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1answer
194 views

What percentage of the (additive or not) 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
41 views

What are the common methods to estimate additive genetic variance?

Additive genetic variance can be estimated in a number of ways, and is a key concept in evolutionary biology and quantitative genetics. What are the typical methods (experimental designs) used to ...
2
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1answer
371 views

Why are urban birds still scared of humans?

I understand that animals are naturally scared of humans because we basically slaughtered every living thing we found in our way for millennia. How long does it take for them to genetically 'forget' ...
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1answer
27 views

What is the evolutionary purpose of white spots in nails and how can they be characterised due to Leukonychia? [closed]

Suppose you haven't hit your nails so the white spots are due to Leukonychia. Are the discoloration i.e. the white spots due to lower porosity (less minerals absorbing) or some other factor? I ...
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2answers
44 views

What is Environmental Robustness? Is it different from plasticity?

Hansen (2006) in his review uses the concept of environmental robustness independently of the other concepts of robustness (at pages 139 and 140) without defining ...
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1answer
29 views

Reason why sedative drugs stem from eastern countries and stimulating drugs from western ones [closed]

I was wondering if there's a linkage between the geographic distribution of drugs and their effects. There's nicotine, caffeine and cocaine, all originating from south-america and all of them have ...
0
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1answer
22 views

Would humans eventually evolve to fight off fatal diseases if we didn't treat/vaccinate for them? [duplicate]

I am definitely pro vaccination, and the question is a bit morbid because people would die, but assuming that we didn't treat or vaccinate people for fatal diseases such as Ebola or the black death, ...
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6answers
794 views

How is evolution possible in contemporary humans?

I would like to know if evolution is continuing to happen in modern humans, assuming things like existence of the nuclear family structure, fidelity to one partner, etc. It seems to me the answer ...
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1answer
39 views

Speciation of humans? [duplicate]

Since we homo sapiens (and all other species) are continuously evolving, are humans undergoing speciation based on our environment? OR has there been any difference across people that could say ...
4
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1answer
175 views

Body size, what are the evolutionary trade-offs?

Background Considering just the "Kingdom Animalia" branch of organisms. It is clear that bigger does not necessarily mean better - there is large variation in body size... From the 94 µm long ...
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2answers
121 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: ...
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3answers
2k views

What evolutionary adaptations cause trees to grow tall?

I think there are some obvious costs for trees to grow tall. Carbon and other nutrients costs, maintenance cost, energy cost (for growing, to bring water (and nutrients) up to the higher leaves, ...
3
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1answer
82 views

Inbreeding depression and dominance

From this article, second paragraph of the second page A classic theoretical result is that the mean of a character controlled by a single locus i with two alleles Ai1 and Ai2 is only affected by ...
9
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1answer
144 views

Are there specific features of birds that cats/small predators are attracted to?

I've recently heard a podcast, in which a professor describes one of the theories as to why we like abstract art. In his talk, he mentions an experiment with seagull chicks, in which the seagull ...
3
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2answers
111 views

Why do we have to exhale (or inhale) in order to speak?

Every time we speak, sing, or make any other kind of advanced noise with our throats, we exhale, or to put it that way, blow air through our throats. Why is this required? After all, speakers do not ...
1
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0answers
43 views

What is the origin of DNA? [closed]

Deoxyribose nucleic acid underpins most life on this earth. It seems to me that the structure of DNA is already reasonably complicated and a certain degree of evolution may have already occured rather ...
23
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4answers
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. ...
6
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1answer
73 views

Reformulation of Hamilton's rule

Who (and in which article) was the first to reformulate Hamilton's rule using the letters $B$ and $C$?. See below comments on this reformulation. Hamilton, in his 1964's article gave a mathematical ...
7
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2answers
130 views

How does Natural Selection shape 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 ...
2
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1answer
228 views

Is sexual selection evolutionarily advantageous?

Our biology teacher says that peacocks will soon become extinct because of bigger and bigger (and harder and harder) tails. Why natural selection did not eliminate sexual selection?
4
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1answer
67 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

Humans and apes have somewhat obvious similarities, these must have been apparent to natural philosophers before the possibility of a common ancestry was first proposed in the mid-1800's. These ...
5
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0answers
103 views

Model for fluctuating selection

Is there any mathematical model to predict the behaviour and long-term consequence of counter-acting selection at different time scale? For example, let's consider the bi-allelic gene A, with alleles ...
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0answers
21 views

General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model

I would like to get suggestions for the books related to General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model etc. Specifically the mathematical treatment of these topics and concepts ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Is eating cooked food an evolved behavior or rather an intelligent one, passed down via culture?

I was just eating a rather rare steak when I started wondering whether eating foods cooked was something I would instinctively want to do if the practice hadn't been taught to me. So, is cooking food ...
1
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1answer
70 views

Possibility of Human cloning

Technology has evolved so much as to clone animals. But, what about human cloning? Is it really possible to create humans in lab? Or is it that technology has not advanced to that level..? Why cant ...
2
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1answer
48 views

Duration of selection and survival of the fittest

I feel there is a part of the theory of evolution I'm not understanding correctly or maybe I'm missing it, but would like cleared up. From what I understand, over time random mutations occur which in ...
3
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1answer
42 views

What is the most recent well-attested common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans?

Humans and chimpanzees are related and thus have a most recent common ancestor. Of course pinning down this precise point is essentially impossible, so I'm interested in close ancestors of this most ...
4
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1answer
203 views

Do any birds beside the family Columbidae (or any reptile or mammal) feed their young “Crop Milk”

Birds from the family Columbidae (e.g., doves and pigeons) produce a fatty, milk-like substance in their crop. The secretion is often referred to as "crop milk." They feed crop milk to their young ...
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6answers
1k views

Human evolution: Where *exactly* did the first human come from, whose parents were not?

Layman here. So I have never really quite understood this facet of human evolution, (or any other for that matter), in that, I understand the evolutionary process, but I get lost on the 'border' ...
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0answers
33 views

How does the rate of iterations affect evolutionary outcomes? [closed]

I understand that biological creatures evolved through perhaps billions of iterations to get to where we are today. It is easy to see that the more iterations or generations, the stronger and more ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
2
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1answer
65 views

Poisonous plants, animals, mushrooms: is this always a kind of defense?

I wonder whether developing deadly toxins in the organism's body is always or usually a defensive strategy rather than a by-product.
2
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1answer
42 views

Why do human ears have a lower boundary for the lowest energy perceivable signal than eyes?

I am currently hearing a lecture about human machine interaction. The lecturer is not a biologist (neither am I, we are both computer scientists), but he makes some statements about biology which I ...
2
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1answer
41 views

What can myelination tell you about the evolution of sensory receptors?

I am reading Avi Chaudhuri's Fundamentals of Sensory Perception and wondering if the information given about the somatosensory system could tell us anything about the way it evolved. It seems (at ...