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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Which phylum appeared most recently

I'm aware that our earliest records of many major animal and plant phyla come from the Cambrian or Precambrian periods, and I'm also vaguely aware of some of the objections raised with general concept ...
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1answer
112 views

A question about the intersection of evolution and thermodynamics

From this 2014 article in Quanta magazine by Natalie Wolchover there is a quote from a physicist with an intriguing idea about evolution: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine ...
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1answer
57 views

What is the outcome of a human population starting with only 2 individuals? [on hold]

Starting with a human population N = 2, is there any way the genetic variability seen today could have come about? I don't know that much about meiosis, but isn't there a very limited number of ...
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1answer
89 views

Are there any cases of observed extreme speciation [on hold]

Is there an observed (direct not indirect) speciation on record showing a species shift within the span of history of recorded science?
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1answer
120 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? I suppose that something puts pressure on men to be stronger than women, but I ...
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2answers
884 views

Why do humans find baby animals cute?

Why do humans find baby animals like cats, dogs, ... so cute? As these are potential competitors or even natural enemies (like e.g. tigers, leopards, ..), the protection instinct (reasonable for the ...
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1answer
32 views

How did the Chromosome #2 Fusion propagate?

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chromosomes of a common ancestor of chimps and humans as explained at wikipedia here Was it necessary for the common ancestor ...
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1answer
53 views

Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent?

Q: Do species which have a closer common ancestor to humans tend to be more intelligent? Our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, seems to be regarded as intelligent: Chimpanzees make ...
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1answer
87 views

Disproportion in cranial nerve innervation?

The cranial nerve innervation is highly disproportionate, as far as humans are concerned. I am not sure of the advantage of being innervated by cranial nerve versus being innervated by a normal ...
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38 views

Odds of Fusion of Chromosome #2

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chimp chromosomes (i.e. common ancestor of chimps and humans) as explained at wikipedia here The question is what are the odds ...
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2answers
141 views

Is this statement in agreement with Darwin's theory of evolution?

Is the following statement in agreement with Darwin's theory of evolution? The number of offspring is not related to fitness. If so, why? This is not a homework assignment, I just want to ...
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1answer
86 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, ...
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Soft and Hard selection

Seems to me that these two sources (M. Whitlock, B. Wallace) use different definitions of soft and hard selection. M. Whitlock: Soft selection occurs when the relative fitness of an individual is ...
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63 views

Why do hummingbirds build nests with live ferns instead of dead materials?

Hummingbirds prefer to build their nests with spore-bearing ferns, and mosses. This is helpful for the reproduction of the ferns, which are then better able to spread their seeds. But how is this ...
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4answers
875 views

Does pheomelanin have a useful biological function?

Melanin is a natural pigment that is categorized into two main forms, eumelanin and pheomelanin. It's well documented in the science literature that increased eumelanin levels reduces the risk of ...
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1answer
58 views

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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1answer
67 views

Has any creature ever devolved to be cold blooded? [closed]

Is this even possible? Because I have a non-scientific gut feeling that it is irreversible. Whales and dolphins are evolved from land mammals, and they've remained warm blooded while it doesn't give ...
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1answer
60 views

Senescence, immortality and evolution?

Many have heard about the fabled "immortal" jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, which doesn't die from aging (senescence) and can revert the aging process indefinitely. It is rather remarkable that only ...
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3answers
118 views

Why are there no tree-like plants that grow in lakes?

Looking at aerial photos of boreal forests, with dense woods clear-cut by quiet lakes, I wondered why exactly are the woods so clear-cut at the edge of water? Why won't trees develop adaptations that ...
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5answers
125 views

What are some examples of evolving networks in biology?

I'm a master student working on networks analysis in general. A network is something that has nodes and there are links between the nodes. Nodes and links could have attributes. An evolving network is ...
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57 views

Can human change its morphology or anatomy due to ecological changes?

According to Charles Darwin, as the surrounding environment changes, so changes the anatomy or morphology of a specific organism. But nowadays, humans have become very advanced in the technology and ...
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2answers
103 views

On evolution statistics [closed]

This basic evolution theory question has been haunting me since childhood and I'm kind of embarrassed that I can't explain it yet: Consider a butterfly. It's wings have evolved to look like the eyes ...
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2answers
643 views

Chromosome 2 fusion?

I read this article by Jeffrey Tomkins and Jerry Bergman claiming to debunk chromosome 2 fusion. Is there anything wrong with these conclusions? " 1.The reputed fusion site is located in a ...
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2answers
70 views

What is doubling of genetic material invented in flowering plants?

David Attenborough in his Kingdom of Plants 3D said, that flowering plants made two inventions: (1) doubling of genetic material and (2) symbiosis with animals. What was meant by "doubling of genetic ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
392 views

Is there evidence that some non-human species perform sexual selection based primarily on intelligence? How do they do this?

I'm a biology amateur, but it seems like sexual selection is almost always performed based on physical characteristics, the outcome of physical contests, or some sort elaborate courtship. But do any ...
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1answer
894 views

Difference in length of Okazaki fragments

The length of Okazaki fragments in the lagging strand is about 100-200 nucleotides in eukaryotes and about 1000-2000 nucleotides in prokaryotes. What (molecular mechanism, enzyme type ) ...
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3answers
727 views

Why don't all ants have wings?

Since the new queens-to-be have wings, it means that ants either evolved from insects that can fly, or insects that can fly evolved from ants, or that we have a case of parallel evolution (which is ...
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1answer
58 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?
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37 views

$F_{ST}$ and the genetic variance in metapopulations

From this video (21'15''), the speaker gives the following formulae in order to calculate the between and among populations genetic variance from the $F_{ST}$: $$V_{Among Pop} = 2 F_{ST}V_G$$ ...
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3answers
87 views

Are hens and roosters the same species?

I know that one is a female chicken and the other is male chicken. Are the chickens laying eggs considered the same species as those that we use for poultry meat? Or, are they different sub-species, ...
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1answer
62 views

Why are hens so different from other birds? [closed]

Hens lay many eggs during their lifetime (at least, I don't know of one which can lay more eggs) and they can't fly. Compared to other domestic animals it seems to me they are the least capable of ...
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3answers
679 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, ...
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0answers
29 views

Does healthcare and therapy affect natural selection adversely? [duplicate]

In the last 200 years or so, healthcare and therapy has been revolutionized. Mortality rates are going down everywhere. Even if the disease is terminal, medicine can prolong life for quite a while. ...
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191 views

Have we ever observed two drosophila lineages that evolved reproductive isolation in labs?

Background The standard definition of species refers to the concept of reproductive isolation. If two lineages are found to be reproductively isolated, then we consider these two lineages to belong ...
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22 views

Assumptions of the models for haploid and diploid selection

For a bi-allelic locus, the model for haploid Natural Selection is: $$\frac{dp}{dt} = \frac{pW_A}{pW_A + (1-p)W_B}$$ , where $p$ is the frequency of the allele $A$, which relative fitness is $W_A$. ...
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1answer
32 views

$F_{ST}$ when considering a multi-allelic locus

Sewall Wright defined the $F_{ST}$ in a metapopulation as being: $$F_{ST} = \frac{\text{Var}(p)}{\bar p (1-\bar p)}$$ , where $p$ is a vector of frequencies of a given allele and $\bar p$ and ...
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2answers
252 views

Help with the Price equation

The Price equation describes mathematically the evolution of a population of units from one generation to the next. $\bar{w}\Delta \bar{z}$ = $Cov (w_i,z_i) $+$ E(w_i\Delta z_i)$ I would like ...
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4answers
660 views

Refutation of Darwin's Random Evolution Theory [closed]

I saw this refutation online of Darwin's Random Evolution Theory and cannot see any holes with the logic. Can anyone crack this simple refutation? Refutation of the Theory of Random Evolution ...
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1answer
47 views

Why are some scorpion species fluorescent under UV light?

It's known for some scorpion species such as Pandinus imperator, Heterometrus Petersii etc. to be shining under UV light. That makes them easier to capture and collect by humans. Is there any ...
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4answers
96 views

Bad Eyesight and Evolution

Why do many humans have bad eyesight, such as near-sightedness, which hampers performance in a wide variety of tasks? Shouldn't there be evolutionary pressure towards better eyesight?
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1answer
31 views

Metapopulation structure - book recommendations

What book would you recommend me to study: the dynamics of metapopulations, the structure of metapopulations, the evolution in structured metapopulations? I am not looking for an introduction ...
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1answer
31 views

Distribution of fitness in wild populations

If I get out in the wild observe wild populations and measure the distribution of fitness $f(w)$ in a given population. What will I find out? Will I observe a Gaussian distribution, a Poisson ...
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30 views

Definition of Sexual Selection?

How do you define Sexual Selection (SS)? (One might want to subdivide SS into intra- and inter- SS to answer) Is SS clearly different from Natural Selection (NS)? Is SS nested within NS or are NS ...
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25 views

What is a sex-biased gene?

How do you define a male-biased gene and a female-biased gene as they are found in the abstract of this article.
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3answers
3k views

Were there any flying dinosaurs?

I've seen some articles which came in contradiction with each other. The first article was talking about flying dinosaurs, dinosaurs with feathers and so on. A couple of other articles are talking ...
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1answer
32 views

What is the evolutionary reason behind human preference for salty foods?

It's been established that food palatability is related to it's caloric density. This hypothesis is used to explain why humans are partial to sugar and fat. But it is also said that humans are partial ...
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1answer
37 views

What is the difference between these terms: clade, monophyletic group and taxon?

Wikipedia definitions for these terms are pretty similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monophyletic_group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxon They sound like the ...
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1answer
75 views

What is the evolutionary cause for various finger lengths?

Why are the lengths the way they are with middle finger the longest?
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1answer
68 views

Evolution of Chromosome Numbers

Some species have different numbers of chromosomes, as we all know. Throughout evolution, how was a species able to survive with an extra chromosome? How was this organism able to breed successfully ...