Portal:Evolutionary Biology
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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 punctuated equilibrium model (top) consists of morphological stability followed by rare bursts of evolutionary change via rapid cladogenesis. It is contrasted (below) to phyletic gradualism, the more gradual, continuous model of evolution. On diagram we see equilibrium states separated by a jump phase.

In evolutionary biology, punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory that proposes that once a species appears in the fossil record, the population will become stable, showing little evolutionary change for most of its geological history. This state of little or no morphological change is called stasis. When significant evolutionary change occurs, the theory proposes that it is generally restricted to rare and geologically rapid events of branching speciation called cladogenesis. Cladogenesis is the process by which a species splits into two distinct species, rather than one species gradually transforming into another.

Punctuated equilibrium is commonly contrasted against phyletic gradualism, the idea that evolution generally occurs uniformly and by the steady and gradual transformation of whole lineages (called anagenesis). In this view, evolution is seen as generally smooth and continuous. (Full article...)

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

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Dusky Seaside Sparrow
Credit: Splintercellguy

Orange Band, the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow died in 1987 in a captive facility in the Walt Disney World Resort

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  • ... 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 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?

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  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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