Theory of Natural Selection Darwin Proposed the Theory of Natural Selection to Explain Evolution Evolution, or change over time, is the process by which modern organisms have descended from ancient organisms. A scientific theory is a well-supported testable explanation of phenomena that have occurred in the natural world. Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking James Hutton: Proposed a theory of geological change States that natural forces change earth’s surface shape States that these changes are slow and the Earth was much older than thousands of years Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking Charles Lyell Wrote the book “Principles of Geography” States that geographical features can be built up or torn down Darwin thought if earth changed over time, what about life? Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking Jean Baptist Lamark Proposed that species change with a tendency toward perfection (Giraffe necks) Traits that are used are passed down to offspring Traits that are not used are not passed down Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking Thomas Malthus 19th century English economist who wrote “On the Principle of Population” Stated that if a population grew too large, then there would be insufficient living space and a lack of food so population would decline • Populations tend to rise and fall overtime • As the population decreases, food supply returns • As food supply returns, population grows again Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking Selective Breeding The process of humans selecting traits they want to appear in offspring to produce desired traits Used in farming to create sheep with fine wool Used to create different breeds of dogs and cats Ideas that Shaped Darwin’s Thinking Russell Wallace wrote an essay summarizing evolutionary change from his field work in Malaysia Gave Darwin the drive to publish his findings Darwin’s Conclusion: Evolution happens through the process of natural selection! Also called “Survival of the Fittest” Some individuals are better suited for their environment These individuals will survive and reproduce better than the others These favorable traits will be passed down in offspring and appear more in future generations Natural Selection Over time, natural selection results in changes in inherited characteristics of a population. These changes increase a species fitness in its environment Requirements for Natural Selection Overproduction: There must an overproduction of offspring so that some can live while others will die. Requirements for Natural Selection Genetic Variation: There must be differences among the individuals so that some do better than others. Ex. Color, aggression, intelligence, behaviors, speed Requirements for Natural Selection Competition: There must be a struggle to survive due to limited resources. Ex. Limited resources could include food, water, shelter, mates, territory Requirements for Natural Selection If none are able to, then the population will go extinct! Successful Reproduction: There must be successful individuals who pass down their favorable traits to offspring.