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Questions tagged [evolution]

Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, migration, drift, and selection.

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Why did a lot of common insects evolve such a thin waist?

Something that doesn't quite make sense to me is why lots of insects like ants, bees and wasps have a such a small petiole when it connects many major organs to the rest of their body from a suddenly ...
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If mammals evolved to be nocturnal, then how did we get so staunchly diurnal in such short time?

Much of human health revolves around sleeping well through the night. We know about circadian and body temperature rhythms which make us sleepy at night, peak melatonin production in the middle of ...
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Do four-leaf clovers have some disadvantage in reproduction?

As far as I understand, four-leaf clovers are caused by genetics, so when reproducing, they should produce four-leaved children. I haven't found any disadvantages of four-lead clovers (e.g., ...
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Why do some foods do not taste good when eaten together that eaten separately would taste great

The way I understand it, 'good tasting food' is evolutionary concept e.g to be able to distinguish between high nutritional value foods and ones that have no nutritional value whatsoever. So if well-...
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What created the first ribosome

If a ribosome is made of protein, yet is used in protein sysnthesis, what created the first ribosome? What created the ribosomal RNA?
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How do mutations with very little fitness benefit get fixed?

I have one little issue with evolutionary theory that I have not been able to understand. Suppose genetic mutations happen from generation to generation. Nevertheless, from one generation to the next ...
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When we talk of functional macromolecules (e.g. proteins as enzymes, hormones, receptors, antibodies etc), towards what are they evolving?�

Actually this is a question which is given in a book and TBH,it has baffeled me.I'm not so much well versed with molecular evolution so my guess would be,say some sort of enzyme which could catalyse ...
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If mutations are random, why was there just one kind of finches on every Galapagos island?

When Darwin was observing the Galapagos finches he noticed that there was a different kind on each island. The biggest difference was in their beaks. Darwin concluded that the birds had evolved and ...
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Does low gravity exposure to early stages of human fetus have potential to unloc unused genetic information from earlier stages of evolution?

The title seems quite self explanatory but let me elaborate. New mutations do take a very long time and many generations to occure in the genetic code. But our genetic code already holds all the ...
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Why so ugly people live or have the instinct to survive and reproduce still? [duplicate]

Face it: it may be hard but ugly people -- men especially (since women choose) -- are bound to not naturally reproduce (sans rape maybe). Given such, why are people unfit to reproduce alive? If I ...
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Convergence compared to genetic distance

Is there an information (preferably in the form of a chart, though anything will do) comparing convergent evolution to how closely related the 2 species are on the tree of life. My searches for ...
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Evolution of motile autotrophs [duplicate]

What prevented the evolution of motile autographs - a mammal with chlorophyll for example,considering the fact that there are organisms like euglena?Is it just because only heterotrophs had the need ...
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What are mutator genes which cause copying errors in other genes?

Reading Dawkins' book "The Selfish Gene," I came across this line: "There are even genes--called mutators--that manipulate the rates of copying errors in other genes." (The context is his argument ...
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How can skull size difference alone explain behavioral differences using evolutionary theory?

I just started Robert Sapolsky lectures series on Youtube on Human behavior biology, and on the second lecture, at this point, he is explaining how evolutionary biology can be used to predict lots of ...
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Why did Trilobites evolve armor?

The Trilobite is probably one of the most successful created which evolved in the cambrian explosion. Though many sources stated the Opabinia has been hunting for Trilobites, this has yet been ...
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Why aren't leaves black?

I s'pose this is a variant of the age-old question, "Why are leaves green?" It's fairly easy to ask teh internets and find plenty of answers for that one. I have a different but related question: ...
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Are evolutionary algorithms calculated in polynomial time? [closed]

How complex are evolutionary algorithms? Also, what is the relationship between variational principles (Lagrangians, minima and maxima,) and evolutionary algorithms? Basically, how hard is it right ...
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What is the evidence that plants and animals had a common ancestor?

According to the theory of evolution (which I don't dispute), plants and animals evolved from a common ancestor, probably a eukaryote. I'd like to know how we know that to be true. Specifically how ...
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What is a synonym of the word design that can be used in context of evolution?

For example let's take two sentences; "engineer made a design for camera", "evolution made an X for eye". What is the best X that could be used? I need it for an essay about evolution.
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Balancing selection vs introgression?

Balancing selection can maintain polymorphisms in natural populations for extended periods of evolutionary time. However, in this paper, Dannemann et al. 2016 identify three archaic haplotypes in the ...
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(secondary) human/primate advantages over other animals? [closed]

I am trying to understand the advantages that humans have over other species, besides what you could call 'sentience-critical'. What I mean by this is, the first set of answers you'll get is "more ...
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Mild introduction to selective advantage of intelligence/nervous systems in animals?

I have a general understanding of why intelligence, i.e. nervous systems in animals, is advantageous: processing information allows an animal to adapt to its environment dynamically and perform ...
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Thermoregulatory characteristics

I have a question that probably is to obvious, or just bad wording.. The terms endorthermy, ectothermy, and heterothermy, are used to describe: A) cold and warm individuals B) the three layers of ...
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What happens between two nodes in an evolutionary tree?

Hey guys can you help me with this one!? What happens between two nodes (in an evolutionary tree) or a between a node and a tip? A) at least one character changes B) all organisms die C) ...
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What is difference between Incest and Inbreeding? [closed]

Are they the same? As both are related to sexual activity between close relatives.
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How valid are Koestler’s criticism of evolutionary theory?

I recently read Arthur Koestler's 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine. In it, Koestler criticises the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution—beneficial random mutations preserved by natural seleciton—as ...
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How old is the action of sneezing?

Is there an estimate for when the ability of sneezing evolved? A little bit of research, and some critical review of my memories tell me that: Many, if not maybe all mammals sneeze. Some reptiles ...
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How does DNA code for the actual *shape* of individual body parts/areas (NOT segments or Hox genes)?

Just to save the trouble - I am not asking for general information on how DNA codes for proteins and definitely not how Hox genes work. I have a very good understanding of the evolutionary process and ...
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Will our biological bodies be changed after we’ve occupied and settled Mars? [closed]

I had this question in mind for very long time, and I could not find a clear answer on the Internet, so I was hoping that you might know the answer. If we will bring life to planet Mars and a few ...
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Why do simulations of dichromatic color vision portray medium wavelengths as yellow rather than green?

Please take the time to read & answer this at your own convenient pace. Is this even the right way to put this? Do you think this post better belongs in the Physics or Philosophy forums? This ...
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What is the meaning of 'state of nature' in On the Origin of species by Charles Darwin?

I have started reading "On the origin of species" by Charles Darwin. The beginning paragraph is: When we look to the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants ...
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Why does the HLA show a high degree of polymorphism?

I know how the HLA undergoes high degree of polymorphism (random genetic rearrangements), but I have not understood why it undergoes rearrangements. What is the advantage offered when HLA shows a high ...
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Evolutionary pressure related to social structures as opposed to natural selection

I'm interested in the effect social structures and dynamics have on evolutionary pressure, as opposed to natural selection. Has any research been published about the evolutionary effect of social ...
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Are bears related to dogs in a similar way to how cats are related to 'panthers'?

I've tried searching on Wikipedia but I couldn't find what family dogs belonged to. Ursidae is 'bears' and Canis is 'dogs' ; Panthera is big cats like:- tigers and jaguars is what I know.
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Why do so many parasites infect definitive and intermediate hosts rather than just one host?

Many parasites infect multiple host species, with one host species being the definitive host (where the parasite reproduces), and the other host species being the intermediate host (where the parasite ...
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How to determine the number of parameters in a phylogenetic model?

I want to calculate the AIC for a phylogeny that I inferred via maximum likelihood. To calculate the AIC I need to know the number of parameters in the model. But how do I determine this?
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What is an accessible book about plant evolution for a non-biologist? [closed]

I have an acquaintance interested in learning about the evolution history of plants. This person has a wide knowledge on botanics, from personal reading and taking care of plants, but E is neither a ...
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Why is melanin black? [duplicate]

I understand that the function of melanin is to protect individuals from sunlight, and that people living in sun exposed areas are darker due to increased production of melanin. But why is the melanin ...
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Is there any known reason why 6 leg mammals are only found in mutations? [duplicate]

Taking a look in internet you can find photos of mutated mammals with 6 legs. Some cows with legs in unnatural positions were shown in website versions of widely known newspapers (you can easily guess ...
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Mutation rate and Evolutionary rate?

What is the difference between then?I have read some jobs that describes analysis about mutations rates and another ones with evolutionary rates.I want to know the diferrence between then.
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Is evolution of gametangia in land plants and charophyceae convergent?

Is the presence of gametangia in both land plants and charophyceae a result of convergent evolution or are they of the same origin (and have been lost in other types of algea)?
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How to name hominids, monkeys and their ancestors, all together

What is the name (taxonomic/folk) for all species of apes, living (like gibbons, lemurs, colobos, orangutans, gorillas...) and extinct (like sivapithecus, proconsul, aegyptopithecus, dryopithecus...), ...
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Do biologists believe in the existence of an intelligent creator who designed the architecture of life ? [closed]

I am referring to the biologists who does not support the theory of evolution or Darwinism .
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speciation in a single population

Most examples of speciation describe a population splitting (via various mechanisms) into two or more populations that eventually become separate species from one another. However, what if the ...
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Do ring species exist?

In trying to understand evolution better, I have been looking at examples of speciation, and have thus come across the topic of ring species. I have tried to find concrete examples of how these work, ...
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Can I simulate a previous and next sequence of my fasta files?

I have fasta sequences of a virus protein that had suffered a mutation in 2008 and this mutant had increase it fitness when compared to wild strain (according to literature).I want to simulate if my ...
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How would inserting a nonfunctional protein impact fitness of an organism?

Producing proteins costs energy, and producing longer proteins costs more energy than shorter proteins. Producing proteins which have no function, would therefore presumably negatively impact the ...
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You need DNA to make RNA, and RNA to make DNA, so they had to come into existence at the same time?

A statement I recently read: 'Evolution is debunked and gives no basis for morality. Natural Selection throws away info, it does not add. You need DNA to make RNA, and RNA to make DNA, so they had to ...
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Can I make an population genetic analysis from incomplete protein?

I have an dataset of fasta sequences. This proteins are not complete (My sequences have 700 nucleotides,while complete sequences have 1725 nucleotides)I would like to know if i can make an population ...
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Are mutations a source of genetic variation?

Here is a question from the book SAT II Success Biology E/M (where the SAT is the exam taken by the American high school students): Which of the following statements is true about mutations? (A) ...