Portal:Evolutionary biology

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The Evolutionary Biology Portal

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Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. Biologically, evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population from generation to generation. These traits are the expression of genes that are copied and passed on to offspring during reproduction. Mutations in these genes can produce new or altered traits, resulting in heritable differences (genetic variation) between organisms. New traits can also come from transfer of genes between populations, as in migration, or between species, in horizontal gene transfer. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population, either non-randomly through natural selection or randomly through genetic drift.

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Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a seminal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book's full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of biology. Darwin's book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and expanded through continuing investigations and experiments since his return. The book is readable even for the non-specialist and attracted widespread interest on publication. The book was controversial, and generated much discussion on scientific, philosophical, and religious grounds. The scientific theory of evolution has itself evolved since Darwin first presented it, but natural selection remains the most widely accepted scientific model of how species evolve. The at-times bitter creation-evolution controversy continues to this day.
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Thylacine
Credit: Matilda

The last known Thylacine photographed at Hobart (formerly Beaumaris) Zoo in 1933. A scrotal sac is not visible in this or any other of the photos or film taken, leading to the supposition that "Benjamin" was a female, but the existence of a scrotal pouch in the Thylacine makes it impossible to be certain

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Evolutionary biology

Evolutionary biologists • Eugenics • Evolutionary biology literature • Evolutionary dynamics • Evolutionary game theory • Extinction • History of evolutionary biology • Human evolution • Microbial population biology • Molecular evolution • Mutation • Paleontology • Phylogenetics • Population genetics • Evolutionary psychology • Selection • Sociobiology • Speciation • Symbiosis • Tree of life •

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  • ...that adaptations enable living organisms to cope with environmental stresses and pressures?
  • ...that maintained gene flow between two populations can also lead to a combination of the two gene pools, reducing the genetic variation between the two groups?
  • ...that all forms of natural speciation have taken place over the course of evolution, though it still remains a subject of debate as to the relative importance of each mechanism in driving biodiversity?
  • ...that despite the relative rarity of suitable conditions for fossilization, approximately 250,000 fossil species are known?
  • ...that genetic sequence evidence thus allows inference and quantification of genetic relatedness between humans and other apes?
  • ...that the human species has a common ancestor with the ape? (similar to above reference)

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    WikiProjects connected with biology:

    A complete list of scientific WikiProjects can be found here. See also Wikispecies, a Wikimedia project dedicated to classification of biological species.

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    Evolutionary biology fields— Cladistics • Ecological genetics • Evolutionary development • Human evolution • Molecular evolution • Phylogenetics • Population genetics
    Mechanisms— Natural selection • Genetic drift • Gene flow
    Outcomes— Adaptation • Co-evolution • Co-operation • Speciation • Extinction
    Research and history— Evidence of common descent • Evolutionary history of life • History of evolutionary thought • Modern evolutionary synthesis • Social effect of evolutionary theory • Objections to evolution
    Applications — Evolutionary algorithm •

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