Questions tagged [human-evolution]

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

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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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397 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.
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106 views

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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1k views

Is there a biological basis for race (re: Nicholas Wade's article) [duplicate]

I just recently read this article by Nicholas Wade on Time Magazine's website about a biological basis for race. It all sounded very racist, but of course my Western liberal attitudes about racism ...
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288 views

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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2answers
185 views

Junk DNA and “random” mutations [closed]

I'm somewhat irritated by "mutation" generally being described as a fully random factor in evolution: pure randomness does not seem like something that can survive in a long evolutionary process. And ...
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111 views

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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5k views

Is there enough vitamin B12 in lakes, rivers and ponds, for humans not to need to take supplements?

Vegans will often say that having an animal-free diet is best for our health and is actually the diet that humans should be eating to function optimally. To which meat eaters will raise the issue of ...
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511 views

Why do depleted blood veins seem to appear near the surface (or skin) more frequently than blood vessels and arteries?

I could be wrong, but it seems like blue veins generally exist closer to the surface of the body rather than red blood vessels and arteries. And I'm also wondering if this is evolutionary because ...
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106 views

Books about human evolution [closed]

I want to read some books about human evolution and about other extincted types of humans. The book "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" writes about history of agricultural and scientific ...
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44 views

HAR1 speedy mutation

From wiki: Human accelerated region 1 (HAR1) is a segment of the human genome found on the long arm of chromosome 20. It is a Human accelerated region. [..] These 49 regions represent parts of the ...
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67 views

Is there any strong factor against human edible plants being widespread and easy to gather?

While many habitats have plants, fruits, nuts and berries available for consumption by humans walking by, most places (if any?) seem to require significantly more effort than simply picking our food ...
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33 views

Correlation between threat and odour, taste

Is there any sort of correlation between threat and taste/smell? Are we evolved such that things which are harmful to life taste and /or smell bad and things(food) which are useful to us taste, smell ...
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1answer
53 views

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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48 views

A missing endogenous retrovirus in humans, but present in gorillas and chimpanzees?

I have read an article about an endogenous retrovirus called PtERV1. It is present in gorillas and chimps, but is missing in humans (original study here). According to the article, this retrovirus is ...
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252 views

What evolutionary reason is there for hemolytic disease?

Nowawadays we have methods which allow us to overcome hemolytic disease of newborn or to prevent it to onset. The Rh or Kell conflict, but how is it possible that it is present? Why it haven't ...
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146 views

Lengthening muscles not good from evolutional perspective? Why do we do it with explicit stretching?

Stretching has many advantages, among other things it helps us to be flexible in our movement (which is an advantage?!). But why do we need to actively stretch, it seems that the body wants to ...
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139 views

Why aren't we immune to the “cold” [duplicate]

As far as I know, people suffer from the cold since ever. Why didn't and don't we evolve to resist it?
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14 views

Cauda equina (spinal cord tail) in other species than humans?

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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73 views

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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24 views

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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55 views

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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(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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33 views

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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82 views

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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40 views

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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71 views

What are the sufficient criteria that make an entity a living homo sapiens? [closed]

When I say criteria I mean like x biological functions or y genetics. If it were to be appearance,anatomy. A corpse completely looks like a man. Moreover a person who has had their 4 limbs amputated, ...
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61 views

Is it tautological that all living humans descended from a single male and single female human ancestor?

Many popular science articles cite high sequence conservation of mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome among living people as evidence that all humans are descended from a single male and single ...
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38 views

How to interpret a phenotypic frequency density plot

I just read a paper that ran an evolutionary agent-based simulations aimed to test how genetic preparedness and social learning affect survival in various environmental conditions (changing ...
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31 views

(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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155 views

What is the evolutionary advantage of getting hard nipples when being aroused? Why can they even be stimulated sexually?

I try to understand the evolutionary advantages of the body reactions of nipples and penises/vaginas. I'm confused, because I can explain the evolutionary advantage in a logical & consistent way ...
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24 views

Are there any open phylogenetic projects that don't require coding to make a contribution

I am stay at home learner, not pursuing education formal education and currently doing a part time job. I've however completed masters in biotechnology and I'm studying to pursue PhD in molecular ...
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144 views

What is the biological/evolutionary advantage to baldness? [duplicate]

Male pattern baldness is a common genetic trait. With a distinctive pattern/ density gradent (as apposed to general old age thinning as the body ages) Hair has an advantage of protection from the sun/...
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38 views

What percentage of a complete Denisovan genomes lives on in the union of the sets of overlapping pieces in extant humans

In studies like this one mapping out distributions around the world or the analysis described in this article (suggesting a contribution from a non-Denisovan but Denisovan-like unidentified hominin to ...
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226 views

How did ancient human deal with biting insects like mosquitos? [closed]

How did early humans, once hairless, but before clothes and ointments. I understand that hairlessness was an advantage against parasites but it it seems like a disadvantage antagonistic for mosquitos ...
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59 views

Sub-saharan africans (Andamanese, Semang) have the ancestral hair-type, do they also have pediculus humanus capitis lice?

Do humans with the ancestral hair-type also have pediculus humanus capitis lice? Pubic hair lice, Pthirus pubis, are adapted morphologically to cling onto coarse body hair, and originates from ...
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53 views

In this poisson distribution in olfactory receptor (OR) pseudogenes neutral mutation rate, how is the mean used?

The 2005 paper A comparison of the human and chimpanzee olfactory receptor gene repertoires describes a poisson distribution, with a mean of 0.701 From that mean, how is the gene disruption rate of ...
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204 views

Are there hyoid bones of Homo habilis in the fossil record?

Hyoid bones have been found for Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, Australopithecus afarensis, and some more hominids. Have hyoid bones been found from Homo habilis? References: Capasso, L., E ...
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63 views

Different number of flaps in heart valves

Can anyone tell me why the different valves of heart have different number of flaps is it in any way related to evolution of homo sapiens.
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56 views

Is it possible to genetically alter human beings to see parts of the infrared? [duplicate]

Most electron transitions take place in the infrared region,The ability to see this part of the electromagnetic spectrum without reliance on sophisticated technology would have tremendous advantages. ...
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141 views

What were the Neanderthal innovations?

At some point the neanderthal and modern human lineages diverged. I'm not sure what exactly their most common recent ancestor was (I see some sources suggesting homo heidelbergensis), but in any case ...
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76 views

Why were the earliest humans hunter gatherers instead of fruit eaters living on trees?

How is it that the earliest humans who evolved from primates (who live on trees and mostly eat fruit) became hunter-gatherers (which seems like a harder, more stressful and more dangerous way to find ...
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1answer
224 views

What factors cause males to be more common than females in humans, from an evolutionary perspective? [duplicate]

Fisher's principle states that there should be a 1:1 ratio between males and females born on average for a population. However, if you look at birth statistics your find that boys are slightly more ...
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382 views

Why don't half of us have situs inversus?

I don't see any possible evolutionary disadvantage in situs inversus(the condition where major organs are mirrored from their normal positions) when people with situs inversus can have a normal ...
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1answer
66 views

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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2answers
318 views

Why are (some) male humans sexually attracted to the breasts of female humans?

Many male humans are sexually attracted to the breasts of female humans. Is there an evolutionary reason for this?
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1answer
57 views

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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1k views

Evolution of the (phenotypic) facial features of the indigenous people of (west/central) Africa

I am not even remotely an expert in this field; I just got curious, so help me. First of all, let us remove all human sentimental attributes from this question (such as connotations of scientific ...
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1answer
73 views

How much time does it take for an evolutionary change to take place?

I think I've read that in humans, it takes either 50,000 or 100,000 years for a mutation to fixate. But I've looked into the books I thought it mentioned it and I can't find it. I know there are ...
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33 views

Are genes known or at least conjectured to evolve cyclically ?

I observed recently that some people born the same year in not too distant areas (say, in the same country whose size is not too big, like France) share similar phenotypical features, for example they ...