Portal:Evolutionary biology

The Evolutionary Biology Portal

Introduction

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Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes (natural selection, common descent, speciation) that produced the diversity of life on Earth. In the 1930s, the discipline of evolutionary biology emerged through what Julian Huxley called the modern synthesis of understanding, from previously unrelated fields of biological research, such as genetics and ecology, systematics and paleontology.

The investigational range of current research widened to encompass the genetic architecture of adaptation, molecular evolution, and the different forces that contribute to evolution, such as sexual selection, genetic drift, and biogeography. Moreover, the newer field of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo") investigates how embryogenesis, the development of the embryo, is controlled, thus yielding a wider synthesis that integrates developmental biology with the fields of study covered by the earlier evolutionary synthesis. (Full article...)

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The sloshing bucket model of evolution is a theory in evolutionary biology that describes how environmental disturbances varying in magnitude will affect the species present. The theory emphasizes the causal relationship between environmental factors that impinge and affect genealogical systems, providing an overarching view that determines the relationship between the variety of biological systems.

This theory was developed by Niles Eldregde, a U.S. biologist and paleontologist, and published in the journal 'Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Interplay of Selection, Accident, Neutrality and Function ' where Eldredge introduces his sloshing bucket model in the article titled: 'The Sloshing Bucket: How the Physical Realm Controls Evolution'. (Full article...)

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Tyrannosaurus rex
Credit: Commons:User:David Monniaux

Tyrannosaurus rex skull at Palais de la Découverte in Paris.

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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?

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