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Evolution

Evolution

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Published by Sam Horne
A 793 word research paper on evolution, including an overview, its basic mechanisms, and the history surrounding it.
A 793 word research paper on evolution, including an overview, its basic mechanisms, and the history surrounding it.

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Published by: Sam Horne on Jan 17, 2010
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10/19/2010

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EvolutionHave you ever thought about why life is so diverse? The answer is because of evolution by natural selection. Evolution is a gradual change over many generations in which species adaptto become better suited to their environment. In the confines of this paper, you will join me inmy journey back in time to discover the meaning and history of evolution. Natural Selection is a process where only those best suited to their environment survivelong enough to reproduce. There are three main factors that affect natural selection: Variations,overproduction, and competition. Organisms that manage to reproduce pass their favorable traitsthat allowed them to survive so far on to the next generation, who in turn have their own uniquetraits, or variations, which have a part in determining who will survive, and so on and so forth.Variations are very important. If there were no variations in species, natural selection couldn’thappen because every individual would have the same chance of surviving to reproduce.Many species make a lot more offspring than the environment can support. Obviously,they can’t all live. This ties in to the competition part of it. Organisms must compete against eachother to survive, since resources are so limited. Competition isn’t always actual fighting. Oftenit’s more indirect competition, like escaping a predator or finding food.There are four main points in the theory of natural selection. First, individuals are bornwith variations among the rest of the species. Secondly, some of these variations makeindividuals better adapted to their environment. Thirdly, these organisms are more likely toreproduce and pass their traits on. Lastly, in time this creates a new species.The theory of natural selection was discovered by Charles Darwin. Darwin was a Britishnaturalist born in 1809. When he was 22, he went on a voyage on the ship
 Beagle.
From his
 
observations on the Galapagos Islands, he came up with the idea of natural selection. He thenspent more than 20 years perfecting his theory. In 859, he published a book called The Origin of Species. In it, Darwin proposed how evolution might occur from natural selection. It’s his mostfamous work.When Darwin first published his theory in The Origin of Species, it was heavily criticizedfor religious reasons. Many rejected natural selection since it seemed to clash with the biblicalaccount of man. Natural Selection was and still is a very controversial theory. Even though theCatholic Pope stated in 1996 that evolution was more than a hypothesis and there was no conflict between evolution and the Bible, less than half of all Americans accept evolution today. Peoplethat reject evolution for a more religious worldview are called creationists.Evolution forms the basis of all biology. If we didn’t understand evolution, we wouldn’thave any knowledge of genetics, heredity, DNA, and many other aspects of science. Besides biology, evolution greatly increased our knowledge in such fields as medicine, agriculture, andeven crime forensics!Evolution is a theory with a lot of evidence for it. However, evolution is not a theory inthe common sense of the word. It is a scientific theory, which is a well-tested concept thatexplains a wide range of observations. Evolution is therefore treated as fact by the scientificcommunity. That organisms have changed over time is evident in the fossil record, patterns inearly development, and similar body structures. Some species have similar body structures because they evolved from a common ancestor. These structures are called homologousstructures.Scientists know that the environment sometimes changes. This environmental change cancause extinctions. Environmental change eliminates food sources, disrupts birth schedules, and
 
exposes animals to conditions which they are not adapted to. In this way, species that are mostsuccessful in a given environment are particularly suspect to environmental change. Versatilespecies which can live in many different environments are the most likely to survive. Extinctionis becoming an extremely prevalent problem in today’s world. Species are dying faster than ever  before, at a rate of 1000 to 1. Some say climate change is at fault for animal extinctions, whileothers blame humans hunting them and destroying their habitats. Regardless of what causesextinctions, it is only one of the many things we now understand much better due to evolution.Evolution is an important scientific theory that explains biodiversity. It is crucial tounderstanding the natural world. Darwin came up with the idea of natural selection as themechanism which drives evolution, and so far scientists haven’t been able to disprove his theory.In fact, just the opposite. They have found a lot of evidence supporting natural selection. Whilesome of the details may have changed, his principle idea has remained unchanged for almost twohundred years.Works Cited

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