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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).