Jump to content

Portal:Evolutionary biology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Evolutionary Biology Portal

Introduction

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. It is also defined as the study of the history of life forms on Earth. Evolution holds that all species are related and gradually change over generations. In a population, the genetic variations affect the phenotypes (physical characteristics) of an organism. These changes in the phenotypes will be an advantage to some organisms, which will then be passed on to their offspring. Some examples of evolution in species over many generations are the peppered moth and flightless birds. 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 has 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 is controlled, thus yielding a wider synthesis that integrates developmental biology with the fields of study covered by the earlier evolutionary synthesis. (Full article...)

Species of the infraorder Cetacea

The evolution of cetaceans is thought to have begun in the Indian subcontinent from even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla) 50 million years ago (mya) and to have proceeded over a period of at least 15 million years. Cetaceans are fully aquatic marine mammals belonging to the order Artiodactyla and branched off from other artiodactyls around 50 mya. Cetaceans are thought to have evolved during the Eocene (56-34 mya), the second epoch of the present-extending Cenozoic Era. Molecular and morphological analyses suggest Cetacea share a relatively recent closest common ancestor with hippopotami and that they are sister groups. Being mammals, they surface to breathe air; they have five finger bones (even-toed) in their fins; they nurse their young; and, despite their fully aquatic life style, they retain many skeletal features from their terrestrial ancestors. Research conducted in the late 1970s in Pakistan revealed several stages in the transition of cetaceans from land to sea.

The two modern parvorders of cetaceans – Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales) – are thought to have separated from each other around 28–33 mya in a second cetacean radiation, the first occurring with the archaeocetes. The adaptation of animal echolocation in toothed whales distinguishes them from fully aquatic archaeocetes and early baleen whales. The presence of baleen in baleen whales occurred gradually, with earlier varieties having very little baleen, and their size is linked to baleen dependence (and subsequent increase in filter feeding). (Full article...)

General images - load new batch

The following are images from various evolutionary biology-related articles on Wikipedia.

Selected picture - show another

Ape skeletons
Ape skeletons
Credit: User:TimVickers

The hominoids are descendants of a common ancestor.

Did you know... - show different entries

Categories

Category puzzle
Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

Topics in biology

Tasks you can do

WikiProjects

Associated Wikimedia

Discover Wikipedia using portals

Purge server cache