Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory: Contributions & Shortcomings

Darwin's  1837 "Tree of Life" sketch from his notebooks (Stanford University)

Darwin’s 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch from his notebooks (Stanford University)

Biological evolution occurs when a population evolves physical changes that allow it to better survive and reproduce in its environment. It’s discovery was first published by Charles Darwin’s in 1859 in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859 (later re-published as The Origin of Species). Darwin’s called his theory “descent with modification” through the process of “natural selection.”  He believed that environmental pressures–nature–selected for the most advantageous traits in living things much in the same way as domestic animals were selectively bred for desirable traits using “artificial selection.” Continue reading

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The Five Forces of Evolution

Evolve FishHave you ever wondered why there is a new flu shot each year? Or, why people who are traditionally from the same region have similar physical features? Or, why it’s probably a bad idea to marry your cousin? And, why are Darwin’s finches so important?  Biological evolution occurs when a population evolves physical changes that allow it to better survive and reproduce in its environment. It’s discovery was first published by Charles Darwin’s in 1859 in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859 (later re-published as The Origin of Species) where he tracked the variation in finch beaks and other kinds of similarities and differences in other species as well.

This paper will explain the fundamental cause of the variation of all life: evolution. In particular I will explain evolution talking about the five forces or mechanisms of evolutionary change in a population: genetic mutation, genetic recombination, gene flow, genetic drift and natural selection. Continue reading