IntroductionOf sciences' many unanswered questions, the question of where mankind came from and how we came to earth is one of the most renowned. The theory of evolution is but one of the numerous theories put forward in hope to answer this question.
The Theory of EvolutionThe Theory of Evolution was first proven in 1859 by Charles Darwin, an English naturalist. The theory essentially refers to rising changes that occur in a population over time. These changes are genetic, meaning that when reproduction occurs, the changes can be passed down to offspring. Occasionally, these changes can cause an organism to inherit new characteristics that give them an advantage over other animals in their environment. A common misconception that people make is to confuse Darwin's Evolution with Lamarckian Evolution.
There are two major mechanisms that drive evolution, the first is natural selection; the process of an organism becoming more adapted to its environment through genetic mutation.
The second is genetic drift, an independent process that creates random changes in the frequency of traits in a population. Although the alterations by genetic drift and natural selection in any one generation are small, they accumulate as generations go on and, in time, can cause substantial changes in organisms.
Biological Evolution can also be broken down into subcategories. Convergent evolution, for example, refers to the similar traits that have developed by themselves in different species because of similar environments. Another type, Co-evolution, occurs when the evolutionary history of two species is closely linked; an example of this is the co-evolution of Barnacles and Whales. A third type, adaptive radiation, occurs when one old species quickly branches into many new species to fill an environmental gap.
The Lamarckian Theory of EvolutionCharles Darwin was not the first to come up with the theory...