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Adaptation and Evolution of Populations

Natural selection favors certain traits in a population so that the organism adapts to its environment; changes in the genes over time is evolution.

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Evolution vs Natural Selection

Evolution vs Natural Selection

Credit: John Gould
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Darwin%27s_finches.jpeg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

When Charles Darwin learned that finches on the various Galapagos Islands were different species he began to think that species could change. Once he realized that species could evolve, he determined that the logical mechanism was natural selection.

Why It Matters

Credit: Kennedy Space Center
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Challenger_explosion.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Space Shuttle Challenger explosion shortly after take-off (1986) [Figure2]

  • Evolution is change over time. Lots of things change over time, like a child’s height.
  • Charles Darwin developed the idea that natural selection is the mechanism that drives the evolution of life.
  • The evidence for evolution in the universe is overwhelming. The mechanism for the evolution of life is well documented.

Can You Apply It?

With the links below, learn more about evolution by natural selection. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the geological evidence for the evolution of life on Earth?
  2. What happens to the green beetles in the Natural Selection website? What happens to the brown beetles and why?
  3. Why is Feynman’s explanation about how the Challenger space shuttle evolved into gas and dust equivalent to Darwin’s idea of natural selection?
  4. If everyone on Earth no longer believed in evolution by natural selection what would happen to evolution?
  5. What is the “way of science” discussed in the video?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: John Gould; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Darwin%27s_finches.jpeg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: Kennedy Space Center; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Challenger_explosion.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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