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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13
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3answers
2k views

Is vermiform appendix no more a vestigial organ?

The appendix has a role in the immune response. So is it therefore recently removed from the list of vestigial organs?
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1answer
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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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1answer
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Why is chlorophyll green? Isn't there a more energetically favorable color? [duplicate]

Chlorophyll being green means it absorbs light in the red and blue area of the spectrum. Isn't this the high and low energy light? Wouldn't plants get more energy if they absorbed light in the green ...
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1answer
252 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material (Big genome size)? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and energy)?...
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1answer
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Why are there nail growth differences between humans and other mammals?

When a cat is growing, his nails are growing with him to some extent. A grown cat has a fixed nail length that is not extending. By contrast, human finger nails just keep on growing, so we have to ...
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How did zootoxins evolve?

I've always wondered how toxins in certain organisms have evolved. Particularly, organisms that produce toxins as a deterrent to predators as opposed to organisms that use it to paralyze their prey. ...
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1answer
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Why do squirrels have twitchy bushy tails?

Whenever I see a squirrel in the woods, it is always the big bushy tail flipping around that gets my attention first. A pray animal with a big bushy flag calling attention to it's self seems to be ...
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Is there a dominant gene for right-handedness?

Has there been any definitive research about handedness being genetic? Also, why is right-handedness clearly dominant in humans? I'm interested in evolutionary theories, as well as any molecular ...
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1answer
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Why are humans and almost every species on earth symmetrical?

I admit I'm not very learned on the subject of evolution, I just started researching it for myself about a week ago. One of the things that I don't understand is why humans and almost every other ...
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Computational/mathematical models for predicting phenotype from genotype

Karr, Sanghvi, et al. (2012) propose a whole-cell computational model for predicting phenotype from genotype in Mycoplasma genitalium. Their model simulates myriad cell processes such as DNA ...
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1answer
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How to determine whether changes of an allele's frequency are due to genetic drift or selection?

Given that both natural/artifical selection and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms that influence how allele frequencies shift in a population: Are there ways to determine whether a frequency ...
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Why have humans evolved conciousness?

Why did humans/animals evolve to become self-aware of their own thoughts. That is, why don't humans act and compute like a machine, or walking zombie. In my mind, such creatures would still be as ...
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1answer
244 views

Learn Bioconductor the hard way!

I came to analyzing population genetics data from the background of a theoretician and a computer biologist but not with the standard tools that a bioinformatician (or empiricist in population ...
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Does an increased reproduction/mortality rate provide an evolutionary advantage?

If a species has a high mortality/birth rate, then it is able to adapt to changing environments more quickly than species that live for a long time. Without a high mortality rate, food and other ...
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Introductory books about evolution

This days I read some debates on evolution. That made me more interested to read something reliable on topic - I mean books. I'm christian - although I think it doesn't matter on that topic - and I ...
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1answer
885 views

Discrete vs Continuous Replicator Dynamics

The replicator eqn in the case of discrete non-overlapping generations and asexual reproduction is given by the discrete replicator eqn: $$x_i(t+1) = x_i (t)\frac{f_i(t)}{\bar f (t)}$$ where $x_i$ is ...
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Extraretinal photoreception in mammals? [duplicate]

A Finnish firm Valkee sells light-ear-plugs against thing such as jetlag. I asked a researcher in Aalto university how do they really work and he responded ...
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1answer
297 views

What are some useful (starter) metrics to use on phylogenetic trees?

I'm doing a computational biology project in which I simulate evolution under different inheritance rulesets and I am generating phylogenetic trees (beautifully visualised in Python with ete3). My ...
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1answer
632 views

Why insects are so small compared to mammals?

I was wondering what biological limitations make the dimension of the insects small compared to the dimension of the mammals. I know in other eras insect were bigger!
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2answers
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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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1answer
621 views

How to compare diversity between different ecosystems?

I've used the Shannon Wiener Diversity Index for a single ecosystem (species as categorical variables). Do you know any alternative indices, especially ones that compare diversity between different ...
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1answer
512 views

How to calculate the effective population size ($N_e$) with overlapping generations?

From this Source: If generations are overlapping, then the effective population size $N_e$ does not equal the population size $N$. I know mathematical formulations in order to find the effective ...
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1answer
119 views

Effective population size when the population sizes varies from season to season

Let's think of a species which has four generations per year and which population size changes from season to season so that the population size is 100 in summer, 200 in spring, 50 in autumn and 20 in ...
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Cancer and Evolution [duplicate]

Edit: just to clarify, I am asking what, if anything, the literature says can be gleaned about evolution by studying cancer, especially relating to how multicellularity evolved and the traits used to ...
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How quantitative is the theory of evolution right now? [closed]

We developed complex structures like eyes and brain, whose mechanisms rely on specific species of molecules and relevant chemical reactions. But we did not develop an enhanced night vision, the ...
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1answer
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Bootstrapping (symmetry breaking) in evolution [closed]

Many fascinating phenomena in nature show different behaviours on the micro and the macro level. Here I am especially referring to phenomena that are symmetric on the micro and asymmetric on the macro ...
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1answer
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Why can't humans drink sea water?

Why can't humans drink sea water? It would seem to be a huge evolutionary advantage for an animal to be able to drink sea water rather than have to rely on fresh water, and it's provably not ...
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5answers
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Are there any examples of sudden leaps in evolution?

As far as I understand, various abilities like flying, sight, hearing etc. were caused by slow evolution, where those with a greater ability to to these things had better chance of survival. (If this ...
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Evolutionarily, why do male rats and horses lack nipples?

Developmentally male rats don't have nipples because (reddit) Testosterone release in the fetal male rat happens before the stage of mammogenesis where the teat is formed whereas other species halt ...
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Formation of Life

Originally, life evolved from non-living matter. Why is life only generated from other life nowadays, and why doesn't it evolve from inanimate matter, like it did originally billions of years ago, ...
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Can species back-evolve?

One of the tenets of Darwin's theory is the survival of the fittest, ie adaptation of features that allow a species to adapt better to its surrounding environment. I am wondering that given the right ...
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The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
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Can we make a rough estimate of the number of generations since the origin of life?

According to what we've learnt : we can approximate the number of generations since the first human pretty much like us (depending what / who we talk about). we have an idea of the series of life ...
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2answers
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Why isn’t Haemoglobin a plasma protein, rather than being encompassed by the erythrocyte?

Erythrocytes (red blood cells) are a common feature of almost all vertebrates. What evolutionary advantage do they provide in containing haemoglobin, rather than it being just a plasma protein? In ...
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What is the closest species to humans in animal kingdom?

I presumed chimpanzees were the closest relatives of us. However, after watching this TED Talk, it seems bonobos are closer to us both in skeleton and behavioral similarity than chimpanzees. I once ...
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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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2answers
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The Assumption of Weak Selection?

I was reading this question and I failed to fully understand the introductory part of it. The OP (@Artem Kaznatcheev) says: Most analytic models like to assume weak selection because it allows the ...
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2answers
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What preceded ATP synthase?

ATP Synthase is ubiquitous throughout life on earth and so most probably evolved within the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) before that lineage diversified into the various kingdoms of life. ...
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Why don't mosquitoes evolve towards muting themselves?

Quite certainly, muted mosquitoes would be much more effective as far as their blood-sucking pursuits are concerned, since mosquito sound is predominantly responsible for sealing their fate (between ...
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What is the viability of Intelligent Design as a supplement to chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian Evolution?

First of all I am not endorsing Intelligent Design (Wikipedia link); I'm asking this because I (someone who does not have a background in biology, organic chemistry, or philosophy) got into a ...
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Why would lethal genes evolve?

I've been reading through 'The Selfish Gene' by Dawkins. At a few places in the book he states that incest is damaging because it would give a very high chance of lethal recessive genes becoming ...
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Is there any biological evidence that is not suggestive of or seems to disprove evolution?

Often, in science, when we have evidence that doesn't fit our paradigm, we bend it until the paradigm collapses. Although there is plenty of decent evidence for evolution, is there anything that does ...
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Hamilton's derivation of direct fitness from his 1970 paper

In his 1970 paper "Selfish and Spiteful Behaviour in an Evolutionary Model", Hamilton uses Price's equation to derive his well-known rule $rb -c >0$. My question is about one of the steps in his ...
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Why do most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: From changing environments. Mutations. Possibly even genetic ...
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Why do our eyes close when we sleep?

Why do our eyes close when we sleep? Is it to relax our eye muscles? How can it be explained from an evolutionary point of view?
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1answer
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Variations in Genome Sizes

Why is there wide variation in genome size amongst groups of protists, insects, amphibians and plants, but less variation within groups of mammals and reptiles?
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Do animals have different taste preferences within the same species?

Humans (especially children...) seem to dislike certain foods or drinks, that other humans seem to like. Common examples are coffee, french cheeses, olives, milk, fish and cabbage. Are there examples ...
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What's the benefit of the average human body temperature?

Why would the body choose a resting temperature of 36.1c to 37.2c? It seems a very inefficient mechanism of survival considering the typical ambient temperatures on Earth. If there is a benefit to ...
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1answer
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How do I calculate the change in allele frequency in a haploid population under selection?

From this book For simplicity, let us consider a haploid organism and assume that the frequencies of alleles $A_1$ and $A_2$ are given by $x$ and $y=1-x$, respectively. We also assume that the ...
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1answer
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Is diarrhoea advantageous to the microbe?

Diarrhoea is a common side effect of many feco-orally transmitted bacterial infections. How does diarrhoea help the pathogen? Should it not have a selective evolutionary advantage? Do all symptoms of ...

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