What is Evolution? Evolution is the belief, “that all of life on earth had descended from a common ancestor, whose offspring could vary slightly from the previous generation”.
It's Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection:
More individuals are produced each generation that can survive. This part of his theory is what we know today as “survival of the fittest”. There are more offspring produced than their environment can hold. Whoever can stay alive, can reproduce, and the cycle keeps going on.
Phenotypic variation exists among individuals and the variation is heritable. Darwin didn’t understand that these variations were through genes, but he understood that traits were passed on from parent to offspring. Those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive. Here he states, that some individuals will receive traits that help them with their roles in their environment which leads to a longer life. They are better off starting out than those species who didn’t receive that trait. When reproductive isolation occurs, new species will form. Reproductive isolation means that two kinds of species are interbreeding and producing offspring naturally. If two species interbreed, the offspring will get traits from both parents and be a new, unique species.
Charles Darwin; however, didn’t come up with the theory of evolution from his trip around the world. The first time this idea was ever thought by Darwin of was from his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin. Erasmus wrote his scientific ideas in poetry form originally and eventually transferred them into a book. This work helped push Charles to his theories. There were many more scientists that guided Charles Darwin to his Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection. Charles Lyell, as we talked about earlier, was important to the geology aspect of Darwin’s theories. The thought of Georges Cuvier helping Darwin is very obscure because he was a very religious scientist that sided with the church on Evolution. He believed that there was more than one line of genetics for species; however, which helped Darwin with Natural Selection. Alfred Russel Wallace didn’t influence Darwin, but they both came up with Natural Selection at the same time and pooled their ideas together. Wallace took a trip to Indonesia and ended up getting his data from there. Wallace receives little credit for Natural Selection. Comte de Buffon was the first to suggest to Darwin that biogeography could be proof for Evolution. Jean Baptiste Lamarck hypothesized that life started out elementary and then got more complex as time went on. This influenced Darwin, but his ideas never proved to be true. Most importantly, we have Thomas Malthus, an economist. He helped Darwin by explaining to him the rise in population and the food supply that was not sufficient enough to feed everyone. Darwin realized that eventually, some people would die of starvation. This led him to the idea of “Survival of the fittest”.
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