- The theory of evolution is a scientific theory that essentially states that species change over time. There are many different ways species change, but most of them can be described by the idea of natural selection.
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Jun 07, 2019 · Theory of Evolution. Ideas aimed at explaining how organisms change, or evolve, over time date back to Anaximander of Miletus, a Greek philosopher who lived in the 500s B.C.E. Noting that human babies are born helpless, Anaximander speculated that humans must have descended from some other type of creature whose young could survive without any ...
The Theory of Evolution presents a series of chapters by experts seeking this integration by addressing the current state of affairs across numerous fields within evolutionary biology, ranging from biogeography to multilevel selection, speciation, and macroevolutionary theory. By presenting current syntheses of evolution’s theoretical ...
Darwin's Theory of Evolution - Natural Selection While Darwin's Theory of Evolution is a relatively young archetype, the evolutionary worldview itself is as old as antiquity. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Anaximander postulated the development of life from non-life and the evolutionary descent of man from animal.
The scientific theory of evolution by natural selection was conceived independently by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the mid-19th century and was set out in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species.
The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin's book \\"On the Origin of Species\\" in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring. In recent years, more and more of these transitional species, or \\"missing links,\\" have been discovered, lending further support to Darwin's theory, Richmond said. Fossil \\"links\\" have also been found to support human evolution. In early 2018, a fossilized jaw and teeth found that are estimated to be up to 194,000 years old, making them at least 50,000 years older than modern human fossils previously found outside Africa. This finding provides another clue to how humans have evolved. Evolution is well supported by many examples of changes in various species leading to the diversity of life seen today. \\"If someone could really demonstrate a better explanation than evolution and natural selection, [that person] would be the new Darwin,\\" Richmond said.
Evolution by natural selection is one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology.
The theory has two main points, said Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. \\"All life on Earth is connected and related to each other,\\" and this diversity of life is a product of \\"modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others,\\" he said.
The theory is sometimes described as \\"survival of the fittest,\\" but that can be misleading, Pobiner said. Here, \\"fitness\\" refers not to an organism's strength or athletic ability, but rather the ability to survive and reproduce.
For example, a study on human evolution on 1,900 students, published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in October 2017, found that many people may have trouble finding a mate because of rapidly changing social technological advances that are evolving faster than humans. \\"Nearly 1 in 2 individuals faces considerable difficulties in the domain of mating,\\" said lead study author Menelaos Apostolou, an associate professor of social sciences at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. \\"In most cases, these difficulties are not due to something wrong or broken, but due to people living in an environment which is very different from the environment they evolved to function in.\\" [If You Suck at Dating, It's Not You It's Evolution] In the first edition of \\"On the Origin of Species\\" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open:
\\"I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale,\\" he speculated.
The idea didn't go over very well with the public. Darwin was so embarrassed by the ridicule he received that the swimming-bear passage was removed from later editions of the book.
The story of the origin of whales is one of evolution's most fascinating tales and one of the best examples scientists have of natural selection.
To understand the origin of whales, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works. Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called \\"microevolution.\\"
But Darwin wasn't the first or only scientist to develop a theory of evolution. The French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck came up with the idea that an organism could pass on traits to its offspring, though he was wrong about some of the details. Around the same time as Darwin, British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace independently came up with the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Darwin didn't know anything about genetics, Pobiner said. \\"He observed the pattern of evolution, but he didn't really know about the mechanism.\\" That came later, with the discovery of how genes encode different biological or behavioral traits, and how genes are passed down from parents to offspring. The incorporation of genetics and Darwin's theory is known as \\"modern evolutionary synthesis.\\" The physical and behavioral changes that make natural selection possible happen at the level of DNA and genes. Such changes are called mutations. \\"Mutations are basically the raw material on which evolution acts,\\" Pobiner said.
Mutations can be caused by random errors in DNA replication or repair, or by chemical or radiation damage. Most times, mutations are either harmful or neutral, but in rare instances, a mutation might prove beneficial to the organism. If so, it will become more prevalent in the next generation and spread throughout the population.
But natural selection isn't the only mechanism by which organisms evolve, she said. For example, genes can be transferred from one population to another when organisms migrate or immigrate, a process known as gene flow. And the frequency of certain genes can also change at random, which is called genetic drift.
The critical piece of evidence came in 1994, when paleontologists found the fossilized remains of Ambulocetus natans, an animal whose name literally means \\"swimming-walking whale.\\" Its forelimbs had fingers and small hooves but its hind feet were enormous given its size. It was clearly adapted for swimming, but it was also capable of moving clumsily on land, much like a seal.
When it swam, the ancient creature moved like an otter, pushing back with its hind feet and undulating its spine and tail. Modern whales propel themselves through the water with powerful beats of their horizontal tail flukes, but Ambulocetus still had a whip-like tail and had to use its legs to provide most of the propulsive force needed to move through water.
Despite the wealth of evidence from the fossil record, genetics and other fields of science, some people still question its validity. Some politicians and religious leaders denounce the theory of evolution, invoking a higher being as a designer to explain the complex world of living things, especially humans.
School boards debate whether the theory of evolution should be taught alongside other ideas, such as intelligent design or creationism.