Evolution - Research Paper Example

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Evolution Evolution can be defined as the modification of living organisms through time as they descend from their ancestors, generation after generation. The ancestors of various species look different in their structure, behavior and physiology back in time…
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Evolution
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Download file to see previous pages Natural selection refers to a process in which species compete and struggle for their survival according to the limited resources and conditions of their natural environment with different adaptive abilities. As individuals in a population are not the same due to difference in inherited characteristics, nature only selects those individuals that are best suited to the environmental conditions, and thus rest of the population dies over time (Starr et al., 2012, p. 263, 264, 265). As all the offspring in a population acquire characteristics from their ancestors, produced more than nature can support and have different reproductive characteristics, only those organisms will survive that are better adapted to the living conditions. This means that organisms with higher reproduction ability will survive due to higher probability of their descendants to survive, and others will eventually become extinct due to less survival rate of their offspring with the passage of time. Since environmental conditions are different from place to place, there will be variation in characteristics of species at different locations. Darwin concluded that populations extending over large areas or through migration might have been isolated resulting in variation of their characteristics according to varying environments. Over long periods of time, they may have diverged or evolved into different species. For instance, Darwin found that finches on the Galapagos Islands were more similar to each other than to finches of the mainland. He also noticed that some varieties were only existent on the archipelago islands. So, he proposed that all species might have descended from a common ancestor and increase in number of species occurred through evolutionary natural selection over time rather than special creation (Strickberger, 2005, p. 22, 23). Darwin and other naturalists believed that variations among individuals of a species were due to mixing of traits from both the male and female. He was not aware of the heredity mechanism and different traits were regarded to be the result of blending of characteristics through generations over time. However, the concept of blending inheritance failed to describe the survival of variety as they descended through generations with time. It also failed to describe the maintenance of specific characteristics in varieties and how new species would emerge through blending. It was 1866, when Gregor Mendel published his experimental findings on garden peas. To experiment with pure seeds, he selected a self pollinating plant. He experimented with garden peas that were different from each other in many characteristics such as their flowers were either red or white, had green or yellow seeds, and tall or dwarf. After cross-breeding generations having different characteristics, he observed that descendants from each cross possessed characteristics of only one of the parents and blending did not happen. Mendel concluded that instead of blending of certain fluids, heredity from parents was passed on to offspring through independent discrete units, particles or factoren, which were later termed as genes. The characteristic that appeared in a descendant after cross breeding was termed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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