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Darwin’s Hypothesis of Evolution by Natural Selection There is biological variation (e.g. behavioral & physical) in every species/population. Since more offspring are born than survive, and resources are limited, there’s competition between individuals. Individuals possessing adaptive variations (i.e. “favorable” traits) have an advantage, and are more likely to reproduce and survive. The environment determines whether or not traits are adaptive. Individuals with the adaptive traits generally have more offspring, and over time these traits become more common in the population. Key Concepts Reproductive success: the number of offspring an individual has and rears to adulthood/”reproductive age.” Selective pressures: forces in the environment that influence reproductive success in individuals. Fitness: relative reproductive success (number of surviving offspring as compared to others). Evolution: change in species over time (i.e. the change in frequency of a given trait in a population).