Questions tagged [human-evolution]

The study of evolution with a particular focus on questions about the evolution of modern humans.

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Why is the human nose so sensitive to vanillin?

After reading the extreme low detection threshold of the human nose to the presence of vanilla, with the detection threshold at 200 picograms per decimeter cubed of air, compared to the 6000 picograms ...
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Definition of Species in accordance to biology [duplicate]

I am confused regarding something my LS professor said in class today and about what my batchmate brought up. Teach said that 'interbreeding must occur in nature' (and not in a lab) for two species to ...
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Humans Evolved to Live Longer than They Could at the Time

Why and how did humans evolve to have a lifespan that was longer than that was actually 'achievable' in the conditions through which we evolved? I'm not saying ('recent') evolution is the cause of the ...
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Is modern medicine selecting for weaker immune systems?

I know that sometimes genes are selected against if it becomes evolutionarily useless for example in humans with respect to our vitamin-C-producing enzyme GULA due to us getting plenty from our diet. ...
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Is there any species of mammals where males can feed the offspring with milk?

It seems to me that an evolutionary path where not only females, but also males could feed the offsprings is entirely plausible: the males anyway have niples, so it is easy for the offsprings to ...
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Do human lungs have more protection against smoke compared to other animals?

Our ancestors have used fire for more than a million years. Wood smoke is not good for the lungs, but our ancestors were depended on fire. Especially in colder regions of the World like in Europe, ...
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Tribes outside humanity

All humans are a group with common ancestry but some humans distinct themselves into sub-groups by "distinctive ancestry" and tend to ask other humans "where are you originally from&...
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On the Origin of Homo Sapiens

Paleoanthropologists are certain Homo sapiens originate from Africa. However where in Africa is still contested. Could you give the reasons why it is thought that Homo sapiens evolved in Eastern ...
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Where in Africa did Homo sapiens evolve from? [closed]

I’m aware that the possible oldest homo sapiens fossil was found in Morocco. The vast majority of our fossils however is found in Eastern Africa. In recent years,a controversial study on mitochondrial ...
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Do mutations that cause the loss of a complex trait occur more often than mutations causing gain of a complex traits?

The Wiki entry on the evolution of biological complexity states that "[m]utations causing loss of a complex trait occur more often than mutations causing gain of a complex trait". There is ...
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What were the three dinosaur evolutions and do they imply that bipedalism could have evolved multiple times in hominins?

At this pop-sci article transcribing an interview with Jeremy DeSilva, they state: "If we’ve learned anything about evolutionary trends, it’s that good ideas evolve over and over again. For ...
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Which others human species/subspecies are known to have coexisted in the past with anatomically modern humans?

According to this article, interbreeding between archaic and modern humans There is evidence for interbreeding between archaic and modern humans during the Middle Paleolithic and early Upper ...
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What's the most recent common ancestor of reptiles and humans?

In the Phylogeny of humans and reptiles, what is/are some of the most recent common ancestors?
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What are evolutionary reasons for humans' limited regeneration abilities? [duplicate]

As far as I understand (I am not a biologist), a ability of a species arises during the evolution if: It increases reproduction chances It is not too energy expensive It is physically possible At ...
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Does mitochondrial eve have to exist?

Suppose we took all living humans and found the set of their mothers, mothers' mothers, etc. and then traced down as far as possible. Is there a logical reason that this tree has to converge to one '...
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How can monkeys be ancestors to people when they are herbivores? [closed]

How monkeys can be ancestors to people when monkeys are herbivores but humans are omnivorous? Maybe it is monkeys that evolved to become omnivorous gradually? How does the generally accepted theory of ...
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Common ancestry of our cells to the first unicellular cell

If we start the chapter of life with low fidelity self replicating RNAs forming exactly identical copies of themselves, which then later evolved to form the first primordial basic cells which further ...
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Why is transferrin saturation so low?

Transferrin Saturation (TS) is a common laboratory test and its values can be used to diagnose a variety of medical conditions. In healthy humans, and I assume it is the same for other species, TS is ...
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Are there any medical treatments which no longer work because humans have evolved?

(Not sure if this should be on the medicine SE) There've been plenty of medicines that no longer work because the target pathogen has evolved resistance, e.g. penicillin is no longer an effective ...
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Evolutionary selection pressure for human hair patterns?

Are there hypotheses or conjectures that postulate any selection pressures or benefits that account for the patterns of non-pubic human hair? Particularly: Humans do not grow notable (i.e., non-...
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Why did the indigenous peoples of northern Asia and America not evolve the same physical characteristics as people of Nordic ancestry?

I was watching DW's documentary on the Arctic the other day, and I was struck by how the indigenous peoples of the far north seemed - visually speaking - to fit into two categories. On the one hand, ...
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Are humans more adapted to "light mode" or "dark mode"?

I was discussing with a colleague about using dark-mode vs. light mode and remembered an article arguing that humans vision is more adapted to light-mode rather than dark-mode: I know that the trend “...
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Why do apes still exist? [closed]

If we are evolved from apes, why don't all ape evolve and become human. Or Why the today's ape stop evolving to become a human?
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Why is the spinal cord shortened in some vertebrates (cauda equina) but not in others?

Hodos, 2009, mentions that the "spinal cord tail" that humans have is not present in most vertebrates. This page mentions cauda equina is not present early on in human embryonic development, ...
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confusion in types and kingdom system of classification

I am a high school student and I want to ask: is the 'kingdom system' of classification (two-kingdom, three-kingdom etc.) different from artificial or natural classification? I am asking this because ...
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What is the evolutionary advantage of breathing and heart beats syncing between partners?

I recently read that partners who are close to one another usually when touching have their heart beats and breathing in sync. Why does this occur? What is the benefit of it occurring? How does this ...
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What motivates children to start walking?

Crawling is a way we first learn to translocate but , in all our lives, there comes a point where naturally try standing up and try to walk.. but why? What really pushes us over the edge to start ...
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Why didn't more muscles evolve the endurance of heart muscle? [closed]

The heart is a muscle capable of both the quick contraction of white muscle cells, and also the endurance of red muscle cells. Why haven't more muscles in the body adapted the same combo of abilities? ...
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Why do humans need pillow to sleep better? [closed]

As far as I know, no animal sleeps with a pillow/support under their heads. Why then do we need to keep a pillow?
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Shrinking size of Y chromosomes

I read on the web that the size of Y chromosomes decreased in earlier period of time and the picture below tells that it is still occurring. So basically I want to know what caused this shrinking and ...
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Did humans evolve the ability to swim? Or is it just luck that we are able to swim?

Many animals like ducks have evolved features to be able to swim. Even not so aquatic animals like a tiger evolved so that its feet can act as paddles. In humans I don't see any direct feature that ...
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Disproof mitochondrial eve is 6500 years old

Some creationists, such as Roger Liebi, actively exploit this article: A high observed substitution rate in the human mitochondrial DNA control region (published in Nature Genetics, April 1997). This ...
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Why is it that only humans are ashamed of certain critical biological activities

Humans are ashamed of certain activities that are critical to our survival. Examples: mating, defecation, exposing certain parts of our bodies This restricts some activities from being performed while ...
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When did humans or their ancestors gain the instinct to take shelter?

I was going to ask if seeking shelter in a constructure dwelling or natural formation was instinctive to modern humans or if it is a learned sociatal behaviour. By shelter I mean seek routine ...
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Why do humans have flat faces, as compared to chimps?

Apparently adult, particularly older human faces resemble infantile chimps more tham they resemble any other adult hominid. And adult humans even have as many body hair follicles as infantile chimps. ...
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(Soft) Lay Survey of human natural history

I am looking for an introduction to the natural history of humans. I had originally thought Sapiens until I found out it is more a history and archeology book of dubious scientific accuracy. The Sorts ...
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Can there be significant new changes in physical features of Humans due to evolution in 10000 years of span? [duplicate]

Humans migrated from Africa about 60000 years. And in these years humans physical features undergone significantly in terms of skin color, hair, eye color and facial features. So, with this we can ...
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Is the backward positioning of photoreceptors bad design?

(Several questions have been asked about this topic but most are quite old and there has been at least one study since then that has attempted to answer this in a new way) Since photoreceptors are ...
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Does technological developments terminate the evolution of human species? [duplicate]

One of the most agreed upon mechanism for evolution is natural selection.Changing environmental conditions necessities development of variations that enable the survival of that particular species....
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Are there "old" neuron types in the neocortex?

"Old" may mean a neuron type that appeared early in the tree of life, and it may mean – going together – that it comes early in the lineage tree of neuronal cells, rooted in the fertilized ...
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Why do many humans, including myself, find cats so cute? [closed]

After all, they are descendants of big, dangerous lions and other wild cats, which doubtlessly have eaten many humans in the past, and probably continue to do so in some places even today. Yet we for ...
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Genetic variance for a behavioural trait among human populations

From this article from The Guardian: We instinctively assume that differences in behaviour that are in fact due to culture must be linked to – even caused by – characteristics of appearance. That ...
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Was there ever a very first Homo sapiens?

My friend keeps saying that there was a first Homo sapiens. Meaning, there was a very first human being that was ever born. I can't really understand what she means to say from a selection/gene ...
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Isn't it an evolutionary disadvantage to have a single organ perform so many essential functions?

This is in reference to the human liver, responsible for not only the production of bile, but also the filtration of blood, metabolization of drugs, detoxification and so on. Liver failure is often ...
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Which theory has more evidence, humans appeared in Africa 200,000 years ago, or there were already humans in Europe at least 210,000 years ago?

This theory Modern humans originated from a woman who lived in modern day Botswana says Every person alive today descended from a woman who lived in modern-day Botswana about 200,000 years ...
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Biological & Evolutionary Reasons for Palm (Bi)Symmetry

The fingers of the human palm exhibit a (bi)symmetrical pattern with regards to their size, in the sense that the thumb and the pinky are almost the same size, and the same holds for the index and ...
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Has human intelligence evolved as a costly male signal?

In this video at 42:06, Daniel Dennett posits that our big brains are: The human artifice or version of the peacock's tail. Peacocks have sexual dimorphism - it's males who exhibit the costly signal ...
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What is the scientific consensus on whether humans were monogamous during the period of evolutionary adaptedness?

The book The Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller asserts, as part of its thesis, that humans were not monogamous in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness. I found the book vivid and persuasive, but ...
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Does Japan have an ageing population? [closed]

I often hear Japan has a declining/ageing population. It seems to be the prime example for this kind of thought. Yet after moving to Japan and after having been there for travel several times already. ...
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Do pale skinned people show other low light adaptations?

So, pale skin is, fundamentally, an adaptation to living in low light conditions. Pros: reduce energy spent on producing melanin, increase vitamin D production. Cons: more vulnerable to sunburns and ...

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