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Evolution (Darwin and Darwinism). The History of An Idea Darwin’s Theory A Darwinian View of Life Human Evolution.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolution (Darwin and Darwinism). The History of An Idea Darwin’s Theory A Darwinian View of Life Human Evolution."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolution (Darwin and Darwinism)

2 The History of An Idea Darwin’s Theory A Darwinian View of Life Human Evolution

3 The historical context of Darwin’s life and ideas

4 Fossils of trilobites, animals that lived in the seas of long ago

5 Gradualism (Hutton) – ex. Strata of sedimentary rock at the Grand Canyon

6 Ideas that shaped Darwin’s worldview Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics - 1802 Essay on the Principle of Populations - 1798 Thomas Robert Malthus

7 Formation of sedimentary rock and deposition of fossils from different time periods Cuvier (early 1800s) - paleontology: the history of life recorded in rock strata

8 Excavation of British Canal system and roadways

9 Ideas that shaped Darwin’s worldview – Animal husbandry “Polly”

10 Charles Darwin in 1859, the year The Origin of Species was published

11 The Voyage of HMS Beagle 1831-1836

12 Galapagos Islands

13 Galápagos finches

14 Diversification of finches on the Galápagos Islands

15 The Origin of Species Descent with Modification (evolution) –unity of life –all organisms related through a distant ancestor Natural Selection and Adaptation –the mechanism of evolution –capacity for “overproduction” of offspring –a struggle for survival –variability in population favors some individuals over others

16 Descent with modification

17 Overproduction of offspring

18 A few of the color variations in a population of Asian lady beetles

19 Camouflage as an example of evolutionary adaptation

20 Artificial selection: cattle breeders of ancient Africa


22 A Darwinian View of Life (Darwin’s main ideas) Natural selection is differential success in reproduction Natural selection occurs through an interaction between the environment and the inherent variability among the individuals making up a population The product of natural selection is the adaptation of populations to their environment

23 Evidence for Evolution Evidence that Species are Related –Geographic proximity of similar but distinct species. –Homologies: structural, developmental, and genetic.

24 Structural homology TurtleHumanHorse BirdBat Seal Humerus Radius and ulna Carpals Metacarpals Phalanges

25 Developmental homology Gill pouch Tail Both the chick and the human have gill pouches and tails ChickHuman


27 Evidence for Evolution – Darwin’s Predictions Evidence that Species Change over Time: –Law of succession In a given geographic region, species are succeeded by similar species –Evidence of extinctions in the fossil record –Vestigial traits

28 Present-day slothFossil sloth The Law of Succession

29 Extinctions Fossils of trilobites, animals that lived in the seas hundreds of millions of years ago

30 Human coccyx Capuchin monkey tail (used for balance, locomotion) Vestigial Traits

31 Human goosebumps Erect hair on chimp (insulation, emotional display) Vestigial Traits

32 A phylogenetic tree of primates

33 Darwin as an ape - Public reception of Darwin ideas

34 Apes - our closest relatives: Gibbon, orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee

35 A timeline for some hominid species

36 Major Features of Human Evolution Enlarged Brain Size –450 cm 3 (Homonoids 6 my)  1300 cm 3 (Modern Humans) Jaw Shape –Prognathic jaw (flattened face) Bipedal Posture –Adaptation to non-arboreal lifestyle Reduced Sexual Dimorphism –males ~ 1.2 times female body size Changes in Social Structure –pair bonding, increased parental care

37 Upright posture predates an enlarged brain in human evolution Lucy - 3.2 mya

38 Turkana boy - Homo habilis 1.7 mya

39 Two hypotheses for the origin of anatomically modern humans

40 Clock analogy for some key events in evolutionary history Challenges to the understanding of evolution: Chance Contingency Deep time Extinctions Continuity of process

41 Conclusion of “On the Origin of Species” “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed (by the Creator) into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” - Charles Darwin, 1859

42 Questions? 1) How does the idea that evolution is a continuous process, happening all around us all the time, rather than some remote process that happened long ago, influence the way you think about life on Earth? 2) Of the various challenges to a conceptual understanding of evolutionary theory (i.e. the role of random chance, contingency, vast stretches of time, Earth’s long history of extinctions, the process of natural selection, etc.) what gives you the most difficulty intellectually. 3) Over the years, a variety of Creationistic “alternatives” to evolution have surfaced in the popular media. This has included “scientific creationism” in the 1980s and most recently “intelligent design.” Why is the general public often quick to embrace these ideas and why have they been quickly rejected by the scientific community?

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