Questions tagged [human-evolution]

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

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146 views

In reconstructions, how are various shapes of facial features determined from skull only?

I have seen reconstructions (with skin, eyes, muscles etc) of some first humans based on skulls and skeletons. But how can the shape of nose (protruding part), shape of eyelids, shape of eyebrow, ...
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Largest direct ancestor of humans

Going back the genealogical lineage from present humans to the beginning of life, what was the biggest - in terms of body size or mass - animal in this sequence? More generally, what would a time vs. ...
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Is there any kind of “unintended consequence” in evolutionary systems?

In the social sciences, unintended consequences is a term used to describe an unexpected positive or negative effect of a particular action. This is obviously the wrong word to use in the context of ...
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321 views

Why do people feel shame when exposed nakedly?

Why do people feel shame? Meaning the kind of shame specifically related to exposing 'private parts'. Where does it come from (i.e. social factors due to upbringing, inherent in our genes etc.)? ...
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Is the “freeze response” really a remain of our reptilian past?

I'm looking for any reliable sources relating the common-known human reaction on a stressful situation, humans sometimes freeze and can not move. From some materials found on the internet I got that ...
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659 views

Fecundity per woman in early humans

The average fecundity per woman varies a lot from country to country. I call average fecundity per woman the average number of born children per woman. In Homo sapiens, what was the average fecundity ...
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160 views

Can the characteristics of an offspring depend on the locality of its conception also?

Transfer of characteristics from a parent to its offspring is explained in biology. When an adult male and female (of humans) who are displaced from their local environment to another (say, a ...
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45 views

Why do humans enjoy spices? [duplicate]

It seems that many flavor and food preferences can be explained in the context of regulating feeding behavior. Generally, organisms tend to enjoy those foods which are optimal for them to feed on and ...
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1k views

Why do women mature (physically) earlier than men? [closed]

All sources I've read (the first page) states that the fact that women mature (in the sense of physical maturing) earlier than man is caused by the earlier selective prunning in brain. Though, this is ...
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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 ...
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337 views

Questions about the evolution theory [closed]

I'm not sure whether I can ask those questions about evolution in one post or should separate them into multiple posts, but I am just curious about the evolutiontheory. (I am new here) Sorry for my ...
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Rationale behind Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)?

My main question is this - I heard Richard Dawkins say in a video that after 1000s of years, any given individual alive today will be either an ancestor to ALL of the humans (in that future time) or ...
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Do the recent findings of an ape-like creature in Europe with human-like teeth change the Out of Africa narrative?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/22/europe-birthplace-mankind-not-africa-scientists-find/ Two fossils of an ape with human-like teeth were discovered in Greece, and Bulgaria, and they are ...
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If I workout, will this inherited trait (of being stronger) not be passed down to my offspring (Lamarck's theory on evolution)?

I'm a student in biology and just recently learned about Lamarck's theory on evolution and how it has been disproved. While I understand that you cannot alter your genes, I'm still having a hard time ...
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What proportion of the people who lived 1000 years ago have genetic descendants alive today?

For context, I've been wondering about this for a paper I'm writing (in philosophy). Really, I want to figure out the chances that someone alive today will end up still having descendants 1000 years ...
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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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110 views

Will humans ever evolve to cope with the rising temperature of our planet? [closed]

I am a complete layman of this field(Biology).I went through an article about global temperature rise and i wanted to ask this question. Federal science agencies announced Wednesday that 2016 was ...
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DNA Analysis (AncestryDNA)

A recent1 AncestryDNA commercial highlights a customer who discovered that she was 26% Native American. Credit: ancestry.com/dna You can see the full commercial here. My question is, how can this ...
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136 views

How extensive was interbreeding among human species?

I have read this article about non-Africans interbreeding with Neanderthals, Neanderthals interbreeding with Denisovans, and Asians interbreeding with Denisovans as well. Now, I'm wondering what ...
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418 views

Which came first in hominid evolution: language or bipedalism? [closed]

I suspect both language-use and upright-posture have anatomical consequences. So does the fossil record show which came first? NOTE: To the folks who marked this question "homework": This is ...
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Have humans evolved to live longer?

Do people live longer only because of better hygiene, medicine, society etc or also because they're slowly evolving to live longer under same circumstances?
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“50% of the variance in antisocial phenotypes is the result of genetic factors” means what?

How can i understand the following sentence: Overall, the conclusions reached by these studies have been highly consistent in showing that approximately 50% of the variance in antisocial phenotypes ...
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Why do we have the tibia and fibula (a 2nd bone) in the lower leg?

Does fibula participate in rotational movement of ankle or not (just like the radius in forearm)? If not, what is the purpose of that bone?
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Speciation of humans? [duplicate]

Since we homo sapiens (and all other species) are continuously evolving, are humans undergoing speciation based on our environment? OR has there been any difference across people that could say ...
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Why don't primates have galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), but other mammals do?

I read in wikipedia that: Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, commonly known as alpha gal, is a carbohydrate found in most mammalian cell membranes. It is not found in primates, including humans. My ...
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Examples of chromosome fusions

One of the best "smoking gun" pieces of evidence of humans' close relation to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans is that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two primate chromosomes, with a double ...
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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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319 views

Why would pedophilia exist? [duplicate]

From an evolutionary perspective, why would anyone ever be sexually exited by small children who could not possibly have started puberty? Is it a confusion between some combination of sexual and non-...
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129 views

Why don't vegetables taste good despite being healthful? [closed]

This is more a question about the evolution of taste than about the chemical composition of vegetables. Why don't vegetables taste good despite being healthful?
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Are mosquitoes actually louder than similar flying insects, or have we evolved to hear them?

I've come across many flying insects smaller than the common housefly, but (anecdotally) the only such species that I can hear from an appreciable distance away is the mosquito, with its distinctive ...
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45 views

Around what time did dark skin disappear from Europe?

As Europeans gradually became lighter skinned, there would have been people that still had dark skin. Around what time period did Europeans become completely light skinned?
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299 views

Why do I have two kinds of pubic hair? [closed]

I feel silly even asking this question, but there's a quirk of my anatomy that I find interesting, and I can find nothing about it online. I am looking for information on whether this quirk is ...
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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 ...
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Is there any evolutionary significance of downward facing nostrils in human beings?

The nostrils in apes and monkeys are almost at the front, but in humans nostrils (external nares) face downwards. Also a lot of non-primate mammals like goats have nostrils at the front. Is it the ...
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588 views

Are humans getting taller, shorter, staying the same height?

This post stems from this question, and specifically this article, which was provided within a response. From what I gathered, the article attempts to make a correlation between the size of a ...
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446 views

Did the hyoid bone of Australipetichus afarensis have a hyoid bulla?

The hyoid bulla is present in Chimpanzee hyoid bones, and not in Humans. Does A. afarensis have a hyoid bulla?
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What is the biology behind human population dynamics?

A paradox: Human population growth looks a lot like a simple logistic growth pattern. But the simplest interpretation of logistic growth doesn't seem to fit. Is this peculiar to humans, or does it ...
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2answers
359 views

Did the capacity to be “knocked out” arise because it conferred an evolutionary advantage?

From first principles, it seems surprising that a blow to the head would cause unconsciousness rather than just impaired function. I've heard a lot of analogies to computers -- "Your brain has to ...
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354 views

growth limit on muscle

Is there any biological limit on muscle growth in human body, one can keep pushing body and keep growing more and more muscle but somewhere it must become diffcult for body to sustain those cells ...
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How detailed a construction of the family tree of known human fossils do we have?

For the sake of this question, by "human" I mean Hominina. The best I could find is this, which isn't very detailed. Of the dozens of paleospecies we'd seek to link up, do we have a more detailed tree ...
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199 views

Have people in Africa already started evolving resistance to AIDS?

Are people living in areas where AIDS is rampant (for e.g. Africa), less likely to die from it than they once were because some of the people without genes/mutations that give them resistance already ...
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2answers
261 views

Infer gene frequency within a species over time

I was reading Karlsson et al. (2014) and I came into this: A selected variant that increases rapidly in frequency in the past ~250,000 years can be detected as an unusual reduction in genetic ...
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1answer
124 views

How did people's liking of ceremonies evolve? [closed]

Habitual group activities are prevalent across many animal species, particularly in mammals, especially in primates. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. 'Ceremonies' take time, ...
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204 views

Reference to hypothesis about breast sexual attractiveness?

Some time ago there was a hypothesis published,suggesting evolution made breasts mimic buttocks for either primitive men being attracted to women when they started to walk on two legs, or to ...
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758 views

Are there genetic causes underlying the difference in circumference of the upper arm and foream?

Is there any genetic reason for the difference in size between the upper arm and lower arm (i.e., the forearm)? In most women, it seems that the upper arm is larger in circumference than the forearm. ...
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3answers
450 views

Did we evolve from monkeys?

Since I was young, I always understood that evolution taught that we descended from monkeys (or apes, not too sure a distinction was ever made). However, someone recently told me that this isn't ...
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1answer
108 views

Is the Lucy fossil really what scientists claim it is?

The New Scientist has an article talking about how a baboon bone was found in the Lucy skeleton. Creationist sites like this, https://christiannews.net/2015/04/23/evolutionary-embarrassment-part-of-...
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154 views

Endogenous retroviral insertions as evidence for evolutionary relationships among primates

A synopsis of a 2005 paper in PlosBiology by Yohn et al. states that: Searching the genomes of a subset of apes and monkeys revealed that the retrovirus had integrated into the germline of ...
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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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394 views

Why do humans retain two kidneys?

If one kidney can function just as well as two, why do humans have two kidneys? The cost of growing two kidneys must surely be quite high, especially since one kidney is all that is really needed.