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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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 ...
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84 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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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41 views

How to define “Quasifixation” in continuous approximation of finite population?

Background Many models including the famous very first models derived by Sir Ronald Fisher in his early career, assume infinite population size. In an infinite population, an allele can rise in ...
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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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35 views

What are parental antagonism & parental conflict?

I've been reading the chapter by Haig et al in The Genetics and Biology of Sexual Conflict. I think this chapter has them quite unclearly defined. Could anyone describe these two phenomenon more ...
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48 views

The origin of molecular machines

DNA holds genetic information and holds the key to the evolution of living organisms. Transcription and translation mechanisms enable living cells to process information encoded in DNA. To that end, ...
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126 views

Evolutionary reasons why you cannot tickle yourself but masturbate

There are obviously good reasons that explain why you cannot tickle yourself (see e.g. here). This got me thinking why it is possible to masturbate... Wouldn't it make more sense to not being able to ...
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63 views

Understanding the meaning of $s$ and $t$ in a population genetics equation

Sewall Wright in this article (1937) at the end of page 313 gives the equation: $$\Delta q = (s+tq)q(1-q) \space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space\space(1)$$ This equation is an ...
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69 views

At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

How often does chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal rearrangements? I am interested about these kind of chromosomal rearrangements that are passed on to the ...
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17 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 ...
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57 views

Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

It is known from theoretician in the field of kin selection that kin selection (inclusive fitness theory) and group selection are actually two sides of the same coin. In other words, these two ...
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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 ...
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37 views

Ancestral states of sex determination system

Most (maybe all?) species that reproduce sexually have either genders (anisogamy) or mating types (isogamy). There exist today many different type of sexual determination system. There is a whole ...
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21 views

What is most ancestral: isogamy or anisogamy?

Sexual reproduction can be feasible with anisogamy (gametes of different sizes i.e. genders) or isogamy (gametes of same size i.e. mating types) or with undifferentiated gametes (i.e. true random ...
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46 views

Does the Jungian notion of collective unconsciousness have any legitimacy in the light of modern neurobiology and epigenetics?

Carl Jung has long ago proposed a rather controversial notion of collective unconsciousness [1, 2, 3], a form of the unconscious (that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which ...
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48 views

What is the allelic frequency at mutation-selection-drift equilibrium?

mutation-selection equilibrium At mutation-selection equilibrium the expected frequency $f$ of a given locus is $$f ≈ \frac{\mu}{s\cdot h}$$ , where $\mu$ is the mutation rate, $s$ is the selection ...
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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 ...
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62 views

How to track and describe the evolution of a gene?

So I have a project student (undergraduate) who has been assigned a project to study the evolution of a gene (and possibly related genes) through species. I am not an evolutionary biologist, and hence ...
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45 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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86 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for depression?

Evolutionarily speaking, depression (both clinical depression and temporary sadness) is a curious phenomenon. Since being depressed is likely to increase the chance of a person with it to commit ...
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46 views

Inbreeding Coefficient and Coefficient of Relationship

Wikipedia gives the following formula to calculate a "path of coefficient of relationship" between an ancestor $A$ and an offspring $O$: $$\rho_{AO} = 2^{-n} \left( \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O} \right)^{1/2} ...
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26 views

Source of information on the evolution of aging/senescence

Do you know a good review (published peer-reviewed or an online course or whatever) that offers a good overview of all hypothesis explaining the various patterns linked with aging? I'd like this ...
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41 views

How did the roar evolve from snort?

When Lions roar, or Dogs show aggression, they do that snort-roar thing. They're producing sound while inhaling. How did that come to be when all (?) other forms of sound involve exhaling? Humans do ...
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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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22 views

How many traits can a multivariate breeders equation handle?

The multivariate breeders equation (MBE) by Lande predicts the change in a trait $\Delta \bar z$ (response) as $\Delta \bar z = G \beta$ where $G$ is a genetic variance-covariance matrix and ...
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21 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 ...
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31 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 ...
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34 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 ...
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31 views

Evolution of sexually concordant genetic variation on the X-chromosome

It was theorised in 1984 that sexually antagonistic genetic (SA) variation should more easily evolve on the X-chromosome. This is partly because female beneficial/male deleterious mutations face less ...
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75 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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$F_{ST}$ 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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35 views

Study case of the inheritance system of Oenothera

I've been told some interesting facts about oenothera. Apparently in this species some lineages have been through some translocations and in results to these translocations and in consequence, some ...
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17 views

Propagation of tool use in primates?

There are several famous cases of great apes demonstrating a surprising degree of wherewithal in communication and tool use - even monkeys can learn some tool use from each other observationally, even ...
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24 views

Triune brain model

I have heard about the triune brain model in biology class, but my teacher does not know much about it. What I'm curious about, is this model accepted by most of the neuroscientists, or is it just a ...
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46 views

Cambrian explosion and evolutionary arms race

I've seen many times mentioned in textbooks and popular articles that a reason of the Cambrian explosion is an 'evolutionary arms race' between predators and prey. But this isn't really a sufficient ...
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193 views

What are the ESSs among hawks, doves, retaliators, bully and prober retaliators?

In his book "The Selfish Gene", Richard Dawkins says that retaliator emerges as an evolutionary stable strategy. But I think dove is also a kind of retaliator and so if dove increases, the hawks and ...
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98 views

Why aren't antheridia and archegonia touching?

Antheridia and archegonia are the two male and female gametangia, respectively, and they are found in bryophytes. To cause fertilization, usually a thin film of water must be present for the sperm ...
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33 views

The skin color of bonobos

Why is that bonobos skin color on the areas not covered by hair are dark throughout life unlike the chimpanzee?
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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 ...
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31 views

Calculate generations since divergence

Can the formula $\mu = k/(2t + 4Ne)$ be used to calculate the divergence time for any two species given a mutation rate, generation time and sequence divergence value?
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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 $V_E$ ...
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Effects of Genetic Drift on Linkage Disequilibrium

From what I understood of @Canadianer's answer here... Genetic drift randomly causes negative or positive linkage disequilibria, by changing allele frequencies through random sampling. Natural ...
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Effect of natural selection on phenotypic variance

Short background Theoretically speaking, natural selection causes a decrease in genetic variance and because the environmental variance should remain unchanged, natural selection causes a decrease of ...