Introduction to evolution

Introduction to evolution

Several basic observations establish the theory of evolution, which explains the variety and relationship of all living things. There are genetic variations within a population of individuals. Some individuals, by chance, have features that allow them to survive and thrive better than their kind. The individuals that survive will be more likely to have offspring of their own. The offspring might inherit the useful feature.

Evolution is not a random process. While mutations are random, natural selection is not. Evolution is an inevitable result of imperfectly copying, self-replicating organisms reproducing over billions of years under the selective pressure of the environment. The outcome of evolution is not a perfectly designed organism. The outcome is simply an individual that can survive better and reproduce more successfully than its neighbors in a particular environment. Fossils, the genetic code, and the peculiar distribution of life on earth provide a record of evolution and demonstrate the common ancestry of all organisms, both living and long dead. Evolution can be directly observed in artificial selection, the selective breeding for certain traits of domestic animals and plants. The diverse breeds of cats, dogs, horses, and agricultural plants serve as examples of evolution.

Although some groups raise objections to the theory of evolution, the evidence of observation and experiments over a hundred years by thousands of scientists supports evolution. The result of four billion years of evolution is the diversity of life around us, with an estimated 1.75 million different species in existence today. - Age level: Grade 7+
*cite book |author=Burnie, David |title=Evolution |publisher=DK Pub |location=New York |year=2002 |pages= |isbn=078948921X |accessdate=2008-01-23
*cite book |author=Horvitz, Leslie Alan |title=The complete idiot's guide to evolution |publisher=Alpha Books |location=Indianapolis |year=2002 |isbn= 0028642260 |accessdate=2008-01-23
*cite book |author=Charlesworth, Deborah; Charlesworth, Brian |title=Evolution: a very short introduction |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford |year=2003 |isbn=0192802518 |accessdate=2008-01-23
*cite book |author=Sis, Peter | authorlink = Peter Sis |title=The tree of life: a book depicting the life of Charles Darwin, naturalist, geologist & thinker |publisher=Farrar Straus Giroux |location=New York |year=2003 |isbn=0-374-45628-3
*cite book |author=Thomson, Keith Stewart |title=Fossils: a very short introduction |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford |year=2005 |isbn= 0192805045 |accessdate=2008-01-23
*cite book |author=Greg Krukonis |title=Evolution For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) |publisher=For Dummies |location= |year=2008 |isbn=0-470-11773-7 |accessdate=2008-01-23

External links

*citation|first = Marshall| last= Brain | contribution =How Evolution Works | contribution-url =http://science.howstuffworks.com/evolution.htm/printable | title =How Stuff Works: Evolution Library| publisher =Howstuffworks.com | url =http://science.howstuffworks.com/evolution-channel.htm|format = web resource|accessdate=2008-01-24
*cite video |people = Carl Sagan |date2 = 2006-07-06|title = Carl Sagan on evolution |url=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-522726029201501667&q=carl+sagan |format = Google video |medium = streaming video |publisher = Google |accessdate = 2008-01-24
*cite video |people = Carl Sagan |date2 = 2006-10-21|title = Theory of Evolution Explained|url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1Y5zMo74cY |format = Youtube video |medium = streaming video |publisher = Youtube |accessdate = 2008-01-24
*citation | title = Evolution Education Wiki: EvoWiki | url =http://wiki.cotch.net/|format = web resource|accessdate=2008-01-24
*citation| publication-date =January 2007 | contribution =The Big Picture on Evolution (PDF)| contribution-url =http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_publishing_group/documents/web_document/wtd026042.pdf| title =The Big Picture Series| publisher = Wellcome Trust | url =http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Professional-resources/Education-resources/Big-Picture/Evolution/|accessdate=2008-01-23
*citation | title =The Talk Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy | url =http://www.talkorigins.org/ |format = web resource|accessdate=2008-01-24
*citation | title =Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution| publisher = The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley | url =http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_01|format = web resource|accessdate=2008-01-24
*citation| title =University of Utah Genetics Learning Center animated tour of the basics of genetics| publisher =Howstuffworks.com | url =http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/units/basics/tour|format = web resource|accessdate=2008-01-24


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