Portal:Evolutionary biology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Evolutionary Biology Portal

Introduction

Tree of life.svg

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.

Selected article - show another

Species of the infraorder Cetacea

The evolution of cetaceans is thought to have begun in the Indian subcontinent, from even-toed ungulates 50 million years ago, 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 (million years ago). Cetaceans are thought to have evolved during the Eocene or earlier, sharing a closest common ancestor with hippopotamuses. Being mammals, they surface to breathe air; they have 5 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 million years ago 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). Read more...

Selected picture - show another

Gene-duplication
Credit: User:TimVickers

The image depicts the duplication of part of a chromosome.

Related portals

Did you know...

Question.png
  • ...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?

Categories

Tasks you can do

Related topics

WikiProjects

Associated Wikimedia

Portals

Purge server cache