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On the Origin of Species

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So echinoderms are more related to chordates and vertebrates than they are to all the other invertebrates. W h y?

I know echinoderms have tiny hard bits sticking around their body, but how are they more related to a monkey than they are to an arthropod? Also, i got curious. Tunicate larvae look like boneless fish, so are tunicates and larvaceans related to fish? Because tunicate life cycle is like a fish unfishing and becoming a 90 degree living, pulsating, pipe that kinda freaks me out when i see them

I am not a professional and just a grade 5 with no biology classes

12:42 UTC


Thinking/Intelligence is expensive..

Let me cook… Currently taking Psychology (Just finished my 1st year). While showering I thought about the how often people don’t practice critical thinking and asked “Why?” and I came into a conclusion that thinking/Intelligence is expensive.

In a Psychology Standpoint, I used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in understanding the decisions made by people especially those who are considered lower class. In my observation, their moral compass is askew (e.g I often thought why people would succumb to vote-buying where we can elect people who can change the system).

I try to rationalize it and understand that they would rather take the money because their basic needs aren’t even fulfilled (1st stage). I’m privileged to have both of my basic needs and security needs met enabling me to write and think critically.

In an Evolutionary Standpoint, I asked why does animals does not just copy our evolutionary strategy of intellect. Until I realized, Having the same “brain power” or level of intellect is very expensive in the wild. Our brain consumes more calories just to function making it a liability in the wild where food sources are inadequate. And let’s talk about babies, we need 9 months in the womb and 10 years outside just so we can function (are brains are not even finished until the age of 25).

I came into conclusion that thinking/intelligence is expensive. It helps me to understand people and their questionable qualities and patterns of behavior and I want to just have a discussion regarding this.

TL:DR: Thinking and Intelligence is expensive as in psychology you need to met the basic needs to be able have a clear mindset on thinking. In an evolutionary perspective, Intelligence is a liability in the wild rather than an asset

08:38 UTC


What is the closest living relative of plants?


22:30 UTC


Are cats closer related to lions/tigers than dogs are to wolves?

I posted this on r/cats first but I don't think it was appropriate. Might fit better here on this sub.

I've had dogs growing up and I constantly would laugh and say "how did you used to be a wolf?" Now that I have a cat, I'm constantly thinking I have a mini tiger or lion roaming around my apartment. So which is more like its ancestor? My bet is that cats aren't much different than lions and tigers, aside from the random attempt on your life after loving it for 15 years.

20:04 UTC


How many generations would I need to go back to find an ancestor that was neither human nor could have met a human?

I get the question sounds weird but what I'm getting at is this:

I'm aiming to know how many "great-"'s I need to append to find an ancestor from before homo sapiens were around. So no Neanderthals, because they coexisted with humans. And I guess probably our most recent predecessor species wouldn't count either because they presumably coexisted with homo sapiens as well.

But if you count enough generations of grandparents eventually you'll reach somebody who was neither human nor coexisted with humans and I am curious how many we think that is.

17:05 UTC


Did mammals diverge from reptiles?

Well the first mammals appeared after the dinosaur times, so that made me think mammals diverged from reptiles

12:51 UTC


How does evolution work?

How did all plants, animals, fungi, and germs diverge from a common ancestor? Am i a tree? Are my pet shrimp algae? Is my classmate a bird?

12:13 UTC


Are there any studies on our understanding of music dissonance and our relationship to bird song?

Just curious how much our perception of music was influenced by birds. I can't remember really hearing a "sour"note but just a thought.

02:49 UTC


What are some great books/reads on the origin of plants?

I’ve been reading books about evolution lately, with good recommendations of this sub. At some point however those books concentrate on the evolution of animals. I have some notions of botany but would like to go more into the evolution of plants, and understand particularly that of the big groups of plants (from gymnosperms to angiosperm families). It would be great if the book had illustrations to understand cell and tissue structures or mechanisms. I saw some books with fancy titles on the Kindle app, but not sure which is the most interesting Recommandations for videos on YouTube are welcome as well.

02:38 UTC


how did fireflies develop lights?

i understand why having one is useful, but how did fireflies come to be able to create light with their bodies in the first place?

1 Comment
01:32 UTC


Humans evolved to speak

What is the answer behind this? Why do we recognise it also. Makes me wonder if evolution has intellect but of course I’m looking for the scientific answer.

15:21 UTC


Subspecies of Human

What accounts for the lack of extant Homo Neanderthalensis, or other sub-variants of human hominid besides us? Of all archaic humans, we are the only ones who have survived to modern existence.

In the case of Neanderthals, I understand it may have been a combination of their small population and interbreeding with Cro-Magnons or modern humans, but consider the Gorilla, they have the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla as sub-variants, chimpanzees who we share most DNA with, have four commonly known variants.

Are we the only primate that exists, as a sort of genetic isolate? Put simply, it seems odd to me that there are no extant archaic humans, since religious people will mention that to me, and I haven't been able to find an answer for why that is.

12:45 UTC


Clarity Needed

If humans evolved from a common ancestor amongst all mammals, why is our birth process different than all other mammals? For clarity, humans are the only mammals with an “incomplete” birth meaning the last stages of development occur outside of the womb. Science currently says it due to intelligence, but there are many intelligent mammals that did not make this adjustment.

01:35 UTC


Get verified at evolutionreddit@gmail.com

So we've seen incredible growth of our sub over the last year - our community has gained over 6,000 new members in the last three months alone. Given our growth shows no sign of slowing down, we figured it was time to draw attention to our verified user policy again.

Verification is available to anyone with a university degree or higher in a relevant field. We take a broad view to this, and welcome verification requests from any form of biologist, scientist, statistician, science teacher, etc etc. Please feel free to contact us if you're unsure whether your experience counts, and we'll be more than happy to have a chat about it.

The easiest way to get flaired is to send an email to evolutionreddit@gmail.com from a verifiable email address, such as a .edu, .ac, or work account with a public-facing profile.

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As always, if you've got any questions (or 'more of a comment than a question's) please don't hesitate to ask.

19:16 UTC


How “human” are our closest relatives? Very - Bonobos can use English words, humans can speak their language, they can sit at a dinner table and use silverware. They have feelings and say I’m sorry. And enjoy adult human magazines. Current Radiolab podcast

How “human” are our closest relatives? Very - Bonobos can use English words, humans can speak their language, they can sit at a dinner table and use silverware. They have feelings and say I’m sorry. And enjoy adult human magazines. Current Radiolab podcast

16:16 UTC


how did species evolve to require mating in order to reproduce?

Single cell animals split in half in order to reproduce. How and why did living organism evolve where, instead of cell division, fertilization became necessary in order to produce offsprings.

I'm looking for an answer similar to the popular explanation to how and why an eye could have evolved (Wikipedia "Evolution of the eye").

I'm most interested in understanding the very first change that occurred in cells that simply reproduce by binary fission. What was the next biological change and what could have caused it?

09:11 UTC


At what point did we turn into humans?

I've had this question for a while and could never find an answer, what was the deciding factor that turned us into humans instead of whatever was right before us?

05:08 UTC


Reading recommendations for gene-centered view of evolution

Of course first thing that comes to the mind is Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene. But here are my problems with that:

  • I just cannot stand Dawkins’ style of writing

  • The book is almost 50 years old. There may be new insights since then, and the theory may have been developed further. Also would be interested in an update on “Mem” theory. (Btw - is this generalization still alive, or seen as a dead end?)

  • Ideally, I would like to read a book written for university students, not addressing readers who don’t know about the basics of evolution or genetics.

Has anyone here a reading recommendation for me?

02:59 UTC


On the tendency of species to form varieties

On theories explaining facts—

The recent post (How was it determined that Evolution is a Scientific Theory? : r/evolution) got me thinking:

Darwin & Wallace's original paper (the one hastily written a year before Origin) should still be cited.

So, I went and looked, and yes, so here's what I found, which I thought to share because I've found it 1) cool, historically; and 2) illustrative of how a scientific theory brings facts together—TL;DR: Darwin and Wallace explained how what farmers have known for millennia could apply generally to life.

(Emphasis below mine)

The random paper I found from this century:

Some of the first ideas on how biodiversity could affect the way ecosystems function are attributable to Darwin and Wallace28,83, who stated that a diverse mixture of plants should be more productive than a monoculture. They also suggested the underlying biological mechanism: because coexisting species differ ecologically, loss of a species could result in vacant niche-space and potential impacts on ecosystem processes. Defining ecological niches is not straightforward, but Darwin and Wallace's hypothesis, if correct, provides a general biological principle which predicts that intact, diverse communities are generally more stable and function better than versions that have lost species. Recent experimental evidence (reviewed by Chapin et al., pages 234–242, and McCann, pages 228–233), although pointing out important exceptions, generally supports this idea.

And the relevant section from the 1858 paper:

6. Another principle, which may be called the principle of divergence, plays, I believe, an important part in the origin of species. The same spot will support more life if occupied by very diverse forms. We see this in the many generic forms in a square yard of turf, and in the plants or insects on any little uniform islet, belonging almost invariably to as many genera and families as species. We can understand the meaning of this fact amongst the higher animals, whose habits we understand. We know that it has been experimentally shown that a plot of land will yield a greater weight if sown with several species and genera of grasses, than if sown with only two or three species. Now, every organic being, by propagating so rapidly, may be said to be striving its utmost to increase in numbers. So it will be with the offspring of any species after it has become diversified into varieties, or subspecies, or true species. And it follows, I think, from the foregoing facts, that the varying offspring of each species will try (only few will succeed) to seize on as many and as diverse places in the economy of nature as possible. Each new variety or species, when formed, will generally take the place of, and thus exterminate its less well-fitted parent. This I believe to be the origin of the classification and affinities of organic beings at all times; for organic beings always seem to branch and sub-branch like the limbs of a tree from a common trunk, the flourishing and diverging twigs destroying the less vigorous—the dead and lost branches rudely representing extinct genera and families.

  • Darwin, Charles, and Alfred Wallace. "On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection." Journal of the proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Zoology 3.9 (1858): 45-62. wikisource.org

Side note: Yes, Darwin got some stuff wrong in Origin (and those were presented speculatively), and we now know a lot more—theories expand and update.

21:58 UTC


How was it determined that Evolution is a Scientific Theory?

I believe Evolution is true. But who determines it to be an actual Scientific Theory? Do scientist vote on it? Are there any single peer reviewed papers that states evolution is true, or only individual papers covering only specific studies on specific evidence pointing to evolution? I know a Scientific Theory is made up of a number of facts, but when it is determined to be a Scientific Theory? What are the actual names of the person or people that officially concluded it to be true?

Edit: I'm not asking what a Scientific Theory is, nor for evidence/facts that points to the explanation of the theory of evolution. And really, not even specifically this theory, but for any scientific theory. Just trying to understand how, by who, and at mostly at what point, a Hypotheses becomes a Scientific Theory.

19:24 UTC


will Richard Dawkins' book "The selfish gene" be suitable for a beginner to sow evolition ,

hi, I want to start reading a book on evolution to better understand it. Is Dawkins a good place to start?

16:05 UTC


East of the Atlantic, it seems that darker skinned humans are closer to the equator and lighter skinned ones are up north. Why is the same not true for the Americas?

I see history pictures of some Native Canadians as dark as Native Brazilians, even though Canada is cold and nowhere near the equator. Did the American Indians skin tone not evolve once arriving in the Americas like other humans did when they left Africa?

00:58 UTC


Why did humans, a single species, evolve many languages?


21:51 UTC


EMOTIONS: how did they even evolve?

at what levels of life emotions seem to be there? why don't unicellular organisms have emotions or do they? how did emotions become a evolutionary feature? why did emotions evolve in brains of organisms? when did they do so?

edit:  imagine a cognitive brain that understands that you are losing resources and hence you shouldn't do this stuff. if reward is linked to emotions, how come computers perform tasks without rewards? so why haven't our brains evolved to think like computers but rather require emotions?

17:31 UTC


Sympatric Speciation

Layman here. I just stumbled onto this subject a few minutes ago on a different post. I've since read the Wikipedia article on the four kinds of speciation.

I may be dense here, but my untutored mind can not help agreeing with Mayr's.

The end of the Wiki article on Sympatric Speciation got to Sexual Selection. (Which I have found solves most conceptual problems that I encounter). But my intuition can't swallow this one.

I can absolutely see Sexual Selection tending to divide a group into not having sex even though they can. But I cannot see it doing more than starting a division. Some individuals are still going to cross the tracks for a quick date. And speciation has to require a lot of drift. I say as a 2.6% Neanderthal hominid.

Bugger, I think I just answered my own question, but I'd rather hear from you fellows.

03:17 UTC


How come land vertebrae have returned to the sea so many times but aquatic vertebrae only managed to successfully go to land once?

Is there something about being a land vertebrae that gives you an advantage over aquatic vertebrae? Is it because air has more oxygen than water does? If you look at paleontology, there are loads of land vertebrae that returned to the sea like pliosaurs, ichthyosaurs, cetaceans, and pinnipeds. These land vertebrae managed to return to the ocean even though there should be a lot of competition there. In fact, land vertebrae that became sea animals tend to be the apex aquatic predators. When the ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs still swam the sea, they were the largest aquatic predator. Even now the most dominant aquatic macropredators are cetaceans. I guess the only exception would be the megalodon.

00:26 UTC

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