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I'm firmly of the option that if anything at all will survive the next 10,000 years - it will be tardigrades

18:34 UTC


Is it true that the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas was likely bipedal?

I heard this from a professor a few years ago, but I've never been able to find concrete information about it. He said that the wrist bones and gaits of knuckle-walking chimpanzees and gorillas are significantly different, which indicates knuckle-walking evolved independently in each lineage.

He also said something about humans lacking evidence for knuckle-walking ancestry and that bipedalism was a useful trait for arboreal species. Therefore, he said, all signs point to bipedialism being the 'original' trait of the chimp-gorilla-human ancestor.

Does anyone know if he was wrong or right? Anyone have information about this? Thanks!

16:17 UTC


Metrics for speciation

My prof showed two measures of speciation, two acronyms TFS that stand for time for speciation and BGF that I don't remember what it stands for, by means the time needed for a branch on a phylogenetic three in order to become stable. Sadly I can't find any article or source on Google, and I'm thinking these are not even a thing. Do you know where these metrics come from and some sources?

13:23 UTC


We're looking for Papers of the Week!

Got a new or old publication you'd like to discuss? Come across a paper you think's of interest to the folks at r/Evolution? We're looking for papers of the week!

Any level of involvement is more than welcome, from helping chair a discussion to just pointing us to a paper you think is interesting.

And as always, don't forget our Verified Flair system.

00:29 UTC


If our stomachs' are so acidic, why do we get food poisoning?

This may seem like a biology question, and it is, but I'm posting here cause I actually thought of this question after looking into human evolution. Herbivores have very high pHs which decrease in the order of carnivores, omnivores and scavengers. Humans have very low stomach pH, comparable to scavengers, suggesting that over the course of evolutionary history, we were at one point, scavengers. This makes a lot of sense to me, with early humans scavenging meat to increase nutrition to develop our brains.

But what confuses me is why we get food poisoning so often if our stomach pH is so low. Our stomach should be capable of killing most pathogens, at least way better than our pets dogs and cats which are carnivores. But somehow we seem to get food poisoning and other diseases through ingesting food and I was wondering if there was some other factor leading into this.

06:06 UTC


Is there any sort of theory about other planets with life but they used up all their resources and caused their own extinction?

What subreddit would this be more appropriate for?

22:16 UTC


When did our conciousness start?

If this is better suited for speculative evolution or maybe a more psychology based sub or something, let me know. But it came up while thinking and I need answers.

When did our conciousness, as we know it, start? Was it only homosapians or did the species that we evolved from have the same mind as us?

Simularly, though a different question, where the other hominid species conciousness? I remember talking to a coworker once, and he stated that because we dont find Neanderthal pyramids means they were probably more animal than human. I've always assumed conciousness was a human trait, though maybe my assumption of other hominids veing human is wrong.

09:06 UTC


Why menopause?

Since menopause happens exclusively after the mother finishes giving birth, any mutation associated with menopause would not passed on. So how did it evolve?

02:37 UTC


Can mass extinction be an endpoint of evolution?

Has any academic considered evolution to be a self-limiting process? For example, can one species evolve to a point where it causes mass extinction and leads to its own demise? One only needs to look at the effect of our own species on the planet to see the evidence supporting such a theory. Are there any examples of such an event naturally occurring in the past? I appreciate the feedback!

Edit for clarification: I don’t believe my initial question was clear enough. Allow me to reframe it: is it statistically inevitable that eventually a species in an ecosystem will become so successful that it will interrupt the food chain and cause a mass extinction, thereby also causing its own demise? Is this the natural cycle of evolution?

21:11 UTC


How did bees survive natural selection if every time they sting something, they die?

I apologize in advance if this isn’t the right subreddit.

20:16 UTC


Did humans/an ancestor of humans have more than 5 fingers?

Okay, this is a bit of a random thing, but something reminded me of my highschool biology teacher and how she told us once that humans originally had 7 fingers instead of 5, and that apparently there are some vestigial remains that show up on xrays and can be felt in some people etc. Now this was a LONG time ago so the stuff we were taught then would be outdated af today, but I got curious.

Is any of this even remotely accurate? I myself know about as much about evolutionary biology as my neighbors dog does about black holes, and I can’t find anything on google that isn’t some mega complex science essay that goes way over my head.

18:41 UTC


How did Multicellular reproduction evolve?

One thing I'm a little puzzled about, is how did the process of multicellular reproduction in organisms evolve? From sperm to eggs to an entirely new organism. If evolution is a product of gradual changes and mutations, something as complicated as '2 simple cells contain the blueprint and DNA for an entire organism and trillion other cells to develop' seems like a very vast and complicated leap.

Unicellular organisms can just copy their DNA and divide, but when multicellular organisms (That aren't just moss colonies or fungi) started doing so there'd have to be a genetic mutation in one of the organism's cells that allowed it to retain information of the entire organism right? But this would have to occur twice- atleast in organisms that have 2 sexes.

What's baffling to me is how this occurred a result of gradual evolution. You couldn't really do it with say a single improvement to an existing cell at retaining information of the organism- the act of procreation and recreating an entire organism (With all the thousands of cell types and complex organs) is very complex and I cannot imagine a mutation that allows a sperm/egg good enough to reproduce '1%' of a multicellular organism for instance or to become slightly better at it overtime.


Because the very first generation that happens, the entirety of the previous predecessor organism is pretty much entirely lost or defunct and will be for all subsequent generations. I.e., you cannot develop sperm or germ cells that only carry 1 chromosome of the organism and are forgetting a couple organs or crucial parts of the organism the next generation, that seems impractical.

It won't be copied after that and thus won't survive or reproduce further. The germ cell has to take into account somatic cell types in the organism it forms- blood cells, nerve cells, skin, immune systems, thousands of different cell types and their proper organ structures, but carrying this information for a germ cell seems far too complicated a process for a single mutation or series to have constructed gradually overtime to lead to sex. Yet a 0.1% improvement or gradual improvement towards this seems impossible, since copying a multicelluar species seems kind of all-or-none. Maybe for trees and fungi, since it's mostly uniform without too many cell divisions or organs? But in animal taxonomy that's very problematic.

How did multicelluar reproduction evolve exactly to get around this?

02:34 UTC


Why do Humans, exclusively, possess intelligence far superior to other animals?

Hello. I don't really know much of anything when it comes to evolution, just some videos I've watched on YouTube, and a few paragraphs in a biology textbook when I was younger. But if macro-evolution is a thing, does it make any sense that ONLY humans would evolve to have such a high level of intelligence? I'm aware that dolphins, crows, elephants, etc. do exhibit higher intelligence than most other animals. But none of them even come close to the intelligence humans possess. What are the chances we would be the only species with intelligence such that we can build skyscrapers and manufacture smartphones? Doesn't this disprove macro-evolution? Or am I missing something here?

19:59 UTC


Has natural selection generally speaking in the human world decreased its importance thanks to medical advancements?

Before medicine was prevalent natural selection was the prime determinant factor in human populations. According to Darwin's theory of evolution, the ones with the traits that suit their environment survive and reproduce. While the ones with unfit traits die off.

I ask this because now that we have significant medical advancements, does this mean that we can treat diseases that normally we would die of and not have offspring. Thus downplaying natural selection's role in human populations?

15:16 UTC


We all know about “survival of the fittest,” but why did anything ever evolve to live/survive at all?

It’s hard to accurately ask my question.

We all know that life evolves via the traits of survivors passing down and breeding and their dna with other survivors, but what is the opinion of science when it comes to why life came to be at all and why it “decided” to survive?

Obviously the life that “wanted” to survive was the life more likely to pass down its dna, but….what caused life to even do that? Just random arrangements of dna until something “wanted” to survive? How did dna even come to be?

Is this a case of “monkeys typing randomly on a keyboard until they write Shakespeare?”

13:47 UTC


How do we know exactly what evolved into what?

Take the evolution of whales as an example. How do we know that the evolution of the whale started at the Indohyus and then went to the Pakicetus? How do we know that it wasn’t the other way around, and the Pakicetus evolved into the Indohyus? How do we know that the two are even related at all to each other AND to modern Whales? I’m not trying to “d1Spr0V3 Ev0lUt1oN” but I’m genuinely curious how scientists manage to answer all these questions

04:27 UTC


What was our evolutionary purpose? What niche did humans fill?

Why are we here? Why do you exist?

How am I talking to you? In what way does complex speech benefit our way of survival?

I could have been the stupidest ape thing struggling in nature, eating berries off a branch and not worrying about taxes, and fulfilled my evolutionary purpose to procreate like another normal animal.

Did higher intelligence pay off more in the long run?

Evolution coulda gave some ape crazy stupidity and rapid reproduction capabilities, and they would have wiped Homo Sapiens off the map by outcompeting them before they could spread anywhere.

edit: okay guys, I get it, I wasn't sober when I made this post, I'm not trying to "disprove" evolution, I just couldn't word this well.

03:31 UTC


Did sharks ever have bones?

Sharks' skeletons have very similar structures to that of animals with bones. So did sharks have bones at some points and then transformed them into cartilages? Or is it the other way around and other animals had cartilages that turned into bones? Or did we both evolve from animals with neither bones nor cartilages and our skeletons just converged to have similar structures?

00:39 UTC


Why did mitochondria come before chloroplasts?

Why did it evolve before chloroplasts? How do we know?

20:49 UTC


Why haven't more mammals evolved papillae on their tongues like cats?

Anyone who's had a cat knows that felids have rough tongues due to tiny tooth-like structures on their tongues called papillae, which serve two evolutionary purposes: to assist cats with grooming and to scrape flesh off of the bones of their prey. It seems like there are plenty of other mammals, especially carnivora, that could benefit from this; canids, for example, also lick themselves and the members of their pack, and they could also have a need for scraping flesh off of bones, yet their tongues are smooth. As far as I know felids are the only animals who exhibit this trait. Why is this?

20:12 UTC


Human Evolution?

So if Humans and Apes are on a huge bush of a family tree, then wouldn’t there be a mass amount of other species? Like are mythological species like Elves and others. Were those human species? Did we kill them off to gain dominance?

Secondly if the creation of species is all about luck mutations, then how accurate is it to say we couldn’t come from apes, not saying that generally we did but if it’s a mutation thing why couldn’t a ape lineage slowly become like humans literally?

13:54 UTC


Why did we evolve cool undertones vs warm undertones in similar skin colors?

If skin colors evolved as a response to sunlight levels/distance from equator, why did we evolve cool vs warm tones of skin? Does the undertone (warm, cool, neutral) affect vitamin D absorption?

04:52 UTC


Paleoanthropologist Dr. Steven Churchill on Homo naledi, Australopithecus sediba, and Human Evolution

00:57 UTC


What are some good ways to learn about evolution?

I want to learn more about evolution and I´m wondering if anyone knows some good ways of learning evolution in a comprehending way. Books, youtube, websites, anything.

18:39 UTC


Do you think humanity will be able to realize that it has "changed" species?

It is to be expected that in thousands, tens of thousands, millions of years, evolution will take us to a taxonomically distant place from where we are.

Every day we see articles about the effects of evolution such as the absence of wisdom teeth, the appearance of epicanthic folds, lactose tolerance, etc. At some point these changes will accumulate until we can consider ourselves another species.

Even though there is no first being of this "next species", we now have ways to record our evolution. We have photos, videos, books. We would no longer need to compare fossils, we would have the evolutionary process practically in real time.

How do you believe this process will take place? How long do you think it will be "being another species" before someone says, "Hey, I guess we're not human anymore"? And in the case of evolution in isolated groups, how controversial would it be to say that a certain group is "no longer human"?

00:36 UTC


can we see evolution happening right now?

Through antibiotics that doesn’t work anymore because the bacteria evolves to withstand the harm antibiotics do to them and we have so much in common with apes and have a common ancestors and are the only primates that can both swing for a long time and looking back at earlier humans we look even more like apes then too and I feel like saying apes aren’t our common ancestors is like saying peoooe don’t have cousins it’s just that we’re far separated now we don’t look a like. I don’t know how people can deny evolution just based on those points alone and I feel like we can see evolution just based on those points. What do you think ?

16:47 UTC


Why did it take organisms so long to evolve multicellularity, but then it occurred in many separate lineages all around 1.5-0.5 billion years ago.

From what I've read, it has occured at least 20 times. This includes plants and animals, which I've read have a unicellular common ancestor.

It just seems strange to me that life spent more than 3 billion years as single cells, but then made the jump to multicellular complexity many times, when it seems like it would be a very "difficult" jump, just based on the amount of time it took.

02:16 UTC

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