You are on page 1of 7

Evolution Study Guide

Evolution Study Guide

Evolution is the study of the changes in species over time.
Mr. Ardito's Mechanism of Evolution

Page 1 of 7
Evolution Study Guide

Sources of Change
Individuals tend to produce lots of offspring. They have many more children than just the two
needed to reproduce the parents.
This is a good strategy. Since the world is a cold, difficult place, overproduction makes it more likely
that at least some of the many offspring will make it to adulthood and reproduce (which is the goal
of life from an evolutionary standpoint).
Genetic Variation
The passing of the genetic material from parent to offspring makes good copies, but not perfect
Offspring are very similar to their parents but not exactly the same.
This is a good thing because it allows species to adapt to changes in their environment.
Struggle for Existence/Competition
In nature, there is a limited amount of food, water, good climate, shelter, and acceptable mates.
These limited resources must be used by the large number of organisms that are around thanks to
This struggle for these limited resources leads to competition between individuals of the same
species and individuals across species for the food, water, shelter, good climate, and acceptable
Competition is the basic condition necessary for evolution. Without the need for competition, there
would be no "survival of the fittest."
Remember, you don't have to be faster than the bear, you just have to be faster than the other
guy the bear is chasing.
Differential Survival and Reproduction
Individuals that are best suited for their environment are the most likely to survive and reproduce.
Those individuals are also most likely to pass on the traits that allow them to adapt to their
environment to their offspring.
This is a key part of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.
Evidence of Evolution
Fossil Record

The collection of fossils tells a story about the evolution of species.
Typically, the oldest fossils are the ones furthest down. The newer ones are closest
to the top.
There are also several ways to see how old a fossil is.
Once you have collected the fossils and determined how old they are, then you can
arrange them to tell a story of evolution.
Page 2 of 7
Evolution Study Guide

Once you have collected the fossils and determined how old they are, then you can
arrange them to tell a story of evolution.

Physical/Anatomical Similarities
Physical and anatomical similarities can tell us something about species having a common ancestry

Page 3 of 7
Evolution Study Guide

Physical/Anatomical Similarities

Homologous Structures
Same parts, different functions
Analogous Structures
Same functions, different parts
Vestigial Structures

I used to have a job. I don't have it anymore. I haven't left yet.

Vestigial Structures are parts that used to have a function, but that function is
needed anymore, so the part is not really used (examples: appendix, body hair in
Geographic Differences

Page 4 of 7
Evolution Study Guide

Geographic Differences
Organisms that live in different places in the world may have similarities.
This similarity suggests that may have had a common ancestry.
Genetic differences and similarities
Individuals that are most closely related will have very, very similar DNA.
Species that are most closely related will have very, very similar DNA.
So, DNA analysis can be used to demonstrate common ancestry and evolution.
The genetic evidence is the most valid form of proof that evolution has taken place.

Embryonic Development

The embryos of various organisms look alike up to a certain point.

This suggests that they may have a common ancestry.
Theories of Evolution
Spontaneous Generation
This theory said that living things could come from dead things.
This theory was disproved in the late 1800's
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Lamarck had two laws that he thought explained the development of new species.

Page 5 of 7
Theories of Evolution
Evolution Study Guide

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Lamarck had two laws that he thought explained the development of new species.
Law of use and disuse
If you use something, you get more of it
If you don't use it, you lose it
Law of inheritance of acquired traits
Lamarck said that parents would pass on acquired traits to their offspring.
Lamarck thought that individuals made changes to adjust to changes in their environment. He said
that they then passed these changes to their offspring.
Lamarck did not know about genetics, which tells us that only inherited traits are passed from
parent to offspring.
Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection

Darwin observed changes to finches on the various islands in the Galapagos.
He noticed that these changes to the species (bill size) made the birds better adapted to their
Darwin then developed the theory of Natural Selection
In Natural Selection, nature selects for traits that make the species better adapted to its
Species that can adapt, have a greater likelihood to survive and reproduce.
The species that have a greater likelihood to pass their adaption onto their offspring.
Species that cannot adapt die out (become extinct).
Heterotroph Hypothesis
Scientists believe that hetertrophs (organisms that feed on other organisms) were the first type
of organisms to evolve.
Autotrophs (organisms that can make their own food) are a later evolutionary development.
Patterns of Evolution

Page 6 of 7
Evolution Study Guide

Patterns of Evolution

Slow, steady change over long periods of time.
Punctuated Equilibrium

Periods of stability are followed by rapid changes/evolution
Modern Examples of Evolution
Drug resistant bacteria
Ongoing use of antibiotics has exerted selection pressure on bacteria to develop drug-resistance
Pepper Moths

Soot from the Industrial Revolution made environment dirty.

Typically white moths stood out against the soot and were vulnerable to predators.
They evolved to develop "peppering" to help them blend into their environment.

Page 7 of 7