Darwin and Evolution - Research Paper Example

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Date: Darwin and the Evolution Theory Science and religion rarely agree and therefore researchers have always tried to understand the origin of life and all its life forms. There are several unanswered questions regarding the existence of life forms that has no solid evidences as such…
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Darwin and the Evolution Theory Science and religion rarely agree and therefore researchers have always triedto understand the origin of life and all its life forms. There are several unanswered questions regarding the existence of life forms that has no solid evidences as such. Several theories have been ever since to understand the origin of man and concepts such as evolution and speciation. Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection even though slightly debatable provides a firm insight into what might had been the basis of our existence. Based on the phenomena of natural selection and even without knowing anything about the genetic basis, Darwin’s theory of evolution today, is vindicated by the fields of genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology and paleontology. Darwin’s theory based on his observations has oriented our present research using which we are able to explain various phenomena and has helped transform our way of thinking about existence of species. Background Charles Darwin was a revolutionary mind of his times. He was an English naturalist. Born in 1809, Charles Darwin was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin, a leading intellectual himself. From a young age Charles Darwin was drawn towards nature and quit his medical education to learn more about geology and nature. In 1931, he was invited on an exploration journey on a ship named H.M.S beagle. Darwin spent a total of 5 years on the ship, exploring places, trying to identify plants and animals and collecting specimens of new living organism to take back home. He recorded his observations and these observations are immensely important even to this day. The Galapagos Island In 1835, the H.M.S. Beagle touched shores of the Galapagos, a island well known for its geological structure. The Island was a haven of new plants and species. However, the most important and crucial observation was that of the famous “Darwin’s finches” which provides one of the “classic examples of adaptive radiation under natural selection “(Abzhanov, 2010, p1001). The evolution of beak shape and size of the 15 different Passeriformes based on the food available on the different islands that the birds inhabited, struck Darwin. The realization that even though the birds looked different they were very closely related provided the basis of speciation and adaptive radiation. The theory of Evolution The extensive observations that Charles Darwin did all throughout his journey and the study of the Galapagos finches helped Darwin propose the theory of evolution without prior knowledge of genetics or molecular biological studies. Darwin based his theory of evolution on Natural selection that is, he proposed that variation existed in population and nature selected those variations that could best survive with the available resources. Natural selection could ultimately lead to speciation, i.e. formation of a whole new species. This concept of natural selection is the basis of the Darwinism school of thought. Evolution of Humans Darwin’s pioneering though about natural selection is the key to understanding the evolution of humans and their genetic variability. In his book “descent of man” Charles Darwin was the first to hint that humans might have evolved from other animals. Darwin studied the anatomy and physiology of other primates and suggested that humans may have descended from apes. This in no ways means that apes changed into humans but actually means that all primates have a common ancestor. Mitochondrial mapping of around 147 people from around the world showed that each of these mitochondria shared a common ancestor who lived around 200,00 years ago (Cann et al,1987,p31) confirming Darwin’s claim of human evolution. Prediction of Evolution-Eugenic Since, it has been established that evolution is a constantly occurring process it must be noted that all life forms present today are gradually evolving. The impact of environmental factors and genetic degradation shall have valuable inputs in the orientation of future human and animal evolution. Current observations have shown anthropogenic activities have interfered with the evolution phenomena. Genetic studies of the Cheetah showed that the present once showed little diversity than their ancestors (Glad,2008,p15) Evidence Based Research It is obvious that knowledge about genetics along with that of natural selection is important to understand evolution phenomena. The analysis of human genome shows evidence that “natural selection has shaped the recent evolution of human species” (Science Daily,2005). Changes in genetic makeup and natural selection within “natural populations, influences its susceptibility to human diseases” (Gilad et al, 2006, p456). Conclusion Darwin’s theory has played a pivotal role in not only explain our origin and evolution but also in defining the existence of other species and speciation as well. Combined with emerging fields of genetics, molecular biology etc. it is now possible to apply the theory to almost any field of study and can be used for future research prospects in the fields of evolution, environment and genetic studies of populations. CONCLUSION Abzhanov, Arhat. "Darwin's Galapagos finches in modern biology." Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 365.1543 (2010): 1001–1007. Web. . Cann, Rebecca. "mitochondrial DNA and Human evolution." Nature 325.1 (1987): 31-37. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. . Gilad, Yoav. "Natural selection on gene expression." trends in genetics 22.8 (2006): 456–461. Print. Gladd, John. Future Human Evolution Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century. Hermitage Publishers, 2008. Print. Science daily. "Natural Selection Has Strongly Influenced Recent Human Evolution, Study Finds." Science Daily. N.p., 23 Oct. 2005. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. . Read More
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