Evolution. Darwin. Pre-Darwin. Charles Darwin ( ) Theory of evolution Based on observations: Genetic change in a population over time.

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1 Evolution What is evolution? What lead Darwin to his thoughts 4 Premises of Evolution by Natural Selection Evidence supporting Evolution Genetic change in a population over time. Unifying concept of biology links all fields of life sciences into a unified body of knowledge Pre-Darwin Aristotle ( BCE) Scale of Nature moving towards perfection Jean Baptiste Lamarck ( ) Proposed that organisms change over time by natural phenomena vital force moved toward greater complexity over time could pass traits acquired during lifetime to offspring Charles Darwin ( ) Theory of evolution Based on observations: 1. Found similarities between organisms on Galápagos Islands and South American mainland 2. Observations of artificial selection Darwin 3. Applied Thomas Malthus s ideas on human populations to natural populations 4. Influenced by geologists idea that Earth was extremely old 1

2 4 Premises of Evolution by Natural Selection 1. Variation Variation exists among individuals in population (heritable variation) 4 Premises of Evolution by Natural Selection 2. Overproduction Reproductive potential of a species is great BUT Not all survive 4 Premises of Evolution by Natural Selection 3. There are limits on population growth - Organisms compete with one another for resources: food, living space, water, light - Predators, disease, weather, - Thus, not all individuals survive to reproduce 4. Differential reproductive success - Offspring with most favorable characteristics likely to survive and reproduce - pass favorable characteristics to next gen. Leads to accumulation of favorable traits in the population over generations Natural Selection Results in adaptations evolutionary modifications from environmental pressure improve chances of survival and reproductive success in a particular environment Over time accumulated changes in geographically separated populations can produce new species Galapagos Finches Modern Synthesis Or synthetic theory of evolution combines Darwin s theory of evolution by natural selection with modern genetics - incorporates our understanding of genetics/dna Explains: why individuals in a population vary (genetic variation in a population) how species adapt to their environment 2

3 Important points to remember: 1. Differential reproduction 2. Evolution occurs in populations not individuals (but the environment selects traits at the individual level). Fossils Evidence for Evolution 3. Mutation is important (provides genetic variation - synthetic theory of evolution) 4. Don t think of evolutionary change as purposeful - Panda s thumb Fossil Record Sedimentary rock layers occur in sequence of deposition Index fossils characterize specific layer Radioisotopes in rock accurately measure rock s age Transitional fossils: E.g., Whale Evolution Homologous Features Features derived from the same structure in a common ancestor Homology in Plants 3

4 Homoplastic Features Structural features that are not homologous but have similar functions that evolved independently Result in convergent evolution organisms with separate ancestries develop similar adaptations in response to similar selective pressures (environments) Fig a, p. 402 Homoplasy Vestigial Structures Nonfunctional/degenerate structures - were present and functional in ancesters organisms Biogeography: Past and present distribution of organisms Geographic distribution of organisms affects evolution (remember the environment selects traits) Isolated land masses contain organisms that evolved in isolation unique to those areas Continental Drift At one time, continents were joined to form a supercontinent Continental drift caused landmasses to separate played major role in evolution 4

5 Continental Drift (a) Cynognathus Lystrosaurus (b) South America Africa India Australia Antarctica (c) Mesosaurus Glossopteris (d) Fig , p. 405 Evidence provided by Developmental Biology We note that gene mutations can affect events in development (snakes hind limbs) Molecular evidence for evolution Universal nature of genetic code Development in different animals controlled by same kinds of genes indicates shared evolutionary history DNA Only 4 nucleotides!!!!!!! 3 billion pairs in humans Human - chimp 95% same Genetic Changes Accumulation of genetic changes since organisms diverged modified development patterns in more complex vertebrate embryos Genetic evidence Species A Species B Species C Amino acid sequences on proteins (cytochrome c) 5

6 Artiodactyls Camel Pig Ruminants (cow, sheep, giraffe) Hippopotamus Cetaceans (whale, dolphin) Common ancestor of hippos and whales Can evolutionary hypotheses be tested experimentally? Common ancestor of artiodactyls and cetaceans Fig , p. 407 Reznick Experiment 6

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