Questions tagged [adaptation]

Adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
74
votes
8answers
16k views

Why do some bad traits evolve, and good ones don't?

If a trait would be advantageous to an organism then why hasn't it evolved yet? Conversely, if a trait is not advantageous or mildly disadvantageous, why does it exist? In other words why does ...
23
votes
1answer
12k views

Why does my room suddenly look 'reddish'? My eyes seem to adapt to color

To get the context of this question clear, I would like you to walk through some parts of my house. We'll start with one of my rooms as it appears normally - As evident, this part of my house has a ...
20
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Genetic Diversity and Adaptation

I am somewhat new to evolutionary biology, having studied it on my free time as a computer science student. There is one particular thing that has always bothered me for which I have not seen a good ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

What specific membrane adaptations do cells have for saline-rich environs?

Are the cells of marine animals and flora equipped with special ion exchange pumps to mitigate the effects of a saline-rich environment? Or have the cell's membranes adapted through structural ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do humans grow taller than their ancestors?

I'm taking the Introduction to Genetics And Evolution course and in the first lecture it was said that: Evolution in a biological sense is simply a change through time. And very importantly, that ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do rabbits often have white hindquarters?

There are several species of herbivores that have a very visible white hindquarters: several kinds of deer, rabbits, antelopes, etc. Does the white fur serve a functional purpose, or is it purely ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

Do any terrestrial herbivores use auditory crypsis for predator avoidance? [closed]

Some terrestrial predators "stalk" their prey: they sneak up on it slowly, maintaining a low profile, while keeping as close to silent as possible. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective: ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...
7
votes
1answer
9k views

What is the standing genetic variation?

I am reading this review. In the first part, the author introduces Standing Genetic Variation, described as: STANDING GENETIC VARIATION Allelic variation that is currently segregating within a ...
7
votes
2answers
416 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
242 views

Is Batesian mimicry more important for females?

Myrmarachne plataleoides is a jumping spider that mimics the Kerengga or weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) in both morphology and behaviour. However, the two sexes appear different: Myrmarachne ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How do individual plants adapt to changes in temperature?

If you grow a plant from seed in your nice warm house, then plant it out in your temperate garden, it will stop growing for a while, possibly die, and if not, subsequently resume growth. Standard ...
6
votes
2answers
231 views

Is addiction adaptive?

Addiction and addictive traits seem common amongst animals. A pubmed query shows it's been studied in everything from humans to worms. My personal favorite of these is: "Individual Consistency of ...
6
votes
3answers
900 views

Is there such thing as Animal non-verbal body language?

Have there been any studies done on the animal use of their bodies to signal, communicate or express their emotions, particularly to members of other species (ex: humans)? I've been observing a very ...
6
votes
1answer
462 views

Cross-integration of puma subspecies populations

A major concern of conservationists in south Florida is the population of native Pumas, the Florida Panther. Until recently, it was thought that the Pumas were a genetically distinct subspecies, ...
6
votes
2answers
211 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

Why is the floral biodiversity of grazed grassland higher than that of mown grassland?

I have collected some data to compare the biodiversity of a field in which the plagioclimax is maintained by machine mowing with a field in which the plagioclimax is maintained by sheep grazing. What ...
6
votes
1answer
164 views

Natural enemies boost deep evolutionary fitness?

"Two species that reduce one another's fitness on microevolutionary (short-term) timescales can increase each other's macroevolutionary (long-term) fitness" Opinions? Intuitive Examples: Body ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Evolution: How could all useful traits evolve simultaneously?

I have a basic question about evolution, for which I never found an answer. I understand how evolution works if we focus on one specific organ or trait. With each generation, some organism is more ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Can nociceptors die because of too much mechanical stress?

In martial art people hit their body (e.g., with small bean bags) to become more insensitive to pain. Can the sensory neurons die during this procedure? I think this is just an urban legend. Instead, ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

How to evolutionary explain menstrural cycles synchronization? [closed]

Sorry, I can not indicate the source, but I read that menstrual cycles of women who live in the same house over time sync. Is it true? How does it work?
5
votes
1answer
583 views

The ermine's colour and geographical range

Ermines turn white during the winter, with only the tip of the tail remaining black. However, in the southern regions of the ermine's range it clearly doesn't get so white. Encyclopedia of Life says ...
4
votes
2answers
276 views

Do Traits Have to be Adaptive in Order to Survive?

I'm reading Michael Pollan's book 'How to Change Your Mind', which is largely about psychedelic mushrooms. In discussing the biology of the mushrooms, he writes: 'Even if psilocybin in mushrooms ...
4
votes
1answer
932 views

What kind of owl does this moth look like?

I found this moth and I noticed that it looked like an owl to me and remembered something about how some moths camouflages look like predictors? What kind of moth this is and what owl does this moth ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does myopia tend to decrease the risk for later hyperopia?

It seems like being nearsighted for much of your life due to elongated eyes would make it easier in general to focus on near objects rather than far since the lens would not have to change much. Since ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Do lunar rhythms have really impact on plant growth?

It is commonly known that lunar rhythms have influence on plant growth, and there are even lunar calendars to know when planting, pruning, transplanting, harvesting, etc. I know that the lunar cycles ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there any complex organism that is both autotroph and heterotroph?

Possibility also include "adaptation mode" if such exist. I don't discern whether autotrophic/heterotrophic part play only minor role either.
3
votes
1answer
160 views

What of Gould's contributions to evolutionary biology are still accepted in the mainstream?

I have been reading Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea, in which he picks apart many of Stephen Jay Gould's criticisms of neo-Darwinism, particularly in the chapter 'Bully for Brontosaurus'. ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

insect paralysis in response to predator echolocation frequency

I remember a case in which some insect had evolved an adaptation in response to a predator's (bat's?) echolocation frequency. In mid-flight, it's wing muscles would become paralyzed and it would ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

recolonize earth desert with plants : which plants first?

if willing to recolonize earth desert , let's say sahara or any dehydrated and sterile land, without intensive human intervention, what would be the first plants / algae / fungi /bacteria to grow ? ...
3
votes
1answer
191 views

Competition with other individuals of the same species vs. adaptation pressure from predators

It is often said "You don't need to outrun the cheetah, just the other gazelles", thus emphasizing that greater part of the adaptation pressure comes from competing with other individuals of the same ...
3
votes
2answers
423 views

How can just random mutations explain mimicry? [closed]

I have been reading this article on drug resistance which explained that how random mutations in a bacterial colony can lead to development of drug resistance among some organisms in that colony. A ...
3
votes
0answers
592 views

How do coyotes remove cactus needles from their paws?

Here, in Arizona, coyotes roam and hunt in the desert. While hiking with dogs, I often see spiny bits of Teddy bear cholla cactus on the ground. Dogs often step on these and get stung by the ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Why aren't there any transitional animals today?

You have probably heard this question before and in different formats. Usually, it is used as a "proof" to disprove the theory of evolution. I understand that the apes we descended from are not the ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Are we evolving as fast as the oxygen is depleting?

How much oxygen saturation have we lost in the last 100 years? As oxygen levels dwindle and industry, deforestation, and population increases, at what year and saturation will the low levels of ...
2
votes
2answers
409 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

What to call a trait that has current utility but unclear evolutionary origin?

I'm looking for a commonly used term to describe a trait that has clear current utility but an evolutionary origin that is uncertain and that we do not necessarily wish to emphasize in our description ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Why is Thermus aquaticus and Taq Pol stable?

What is the molecular basis of the stability of the bacterium Thermus aquaticus and the enzyme Taq Pol it produces ? I have tried googling this but did not get a good answer.
2
votes
1answer
86 views

What is the adaptive significance of temperature dependent sex determination?

Why do some reptiles have TDSD ? Is it because one of the genders is healthier than the other that only they, can survive high temperatures?
2
votes
1answer
67 views

What is this passage trying to say about Darwin's difficulty in explaining variation?

This passage, from the book "How humans evolved" by Robert Boyd, says that one of the problems Darwin had at the time was that he struggled to convincingly explain how variation could be maintained; ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Does sociality evolved before or after the ability of motility?

According to book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions o Evolution. (Lane, N.;2010), Motility has indeed transformed life on earth in ways that are not immediately apparent, from the ...
2
votes
0answers
52 views

What natural defence mechanism does the human body have against lead poisoning?

It is known that lead ion takes place of necessary ions, like calcium, in the body, but does not perform their task, hence wrecking the system. So how does the body eventually recognise this threat ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Does Batesian mimicry rely on constant reinforcement?

If the species being mimicked, the monarch butterfly, for instance, were to become extinct, would the species mimicking it loose all of the benefit gained by their Batesian mimicry immediately? I ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

Which organisms require the least fluctuation in ambient temperature?

Note that I am NOT asking "which organism can survive the most extreme temperatures." Many extremophiles like the tardigrade can survives extreme heat, but also extreme cold. Many heat adapted animals ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Adaptation by standing genetic variation and fitness variance [duplicate]

I've read a couple of paper on Fisher's Fundamental Theory of Natural selection that states: $W(t+1) = W(t) + Var_{W}(t)$ Given a population with some degree of genetic variability, and assuming that ...
2
votes
0answers
29 views

Did the number of rods changed from ancient time?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I know that rods work under limited light conditions only. But now we are in a world that always have lights everywhere unlike ancient time when humans had to deal with ...
2
votes
0answers
405 views

Bergmann's rule and Allen's rule: endotherms and ectotherms

Surface area to volume ratio (in terms of heat conservation) is not the only mechanism, but it is still an important mechanism for explaining Bergmann's rule and Allen's rule. Given that, I want to ...
2
votes
0answers
1k views

Why is Pilobolus phototropic?

Pilobolus is a fungal genus whose fruiting bodies consist of a stalk ending in a spore mass that is launched via turgor pressure to disperse the spores. The fruiting bodies grow towards light, which ...
2
votes
0answers
218 views

Among xerophyte plants, which one grow faster and consume water the least? [closed]

In an effort to select for the most suitable plants to possibly colonise desert and stop its expansion, what would be the xerophyte plants that grow the faster and expand on surface, while using the ...