Evolution1 - Evolution Evolution is the foundation of biology It explains why animals(and other organisms look the way they do how they are related

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Evolution: Evolution is the foundation of biology. It explains why animals (and other organisms) look the way they do, how they are related, and even why they do what they do. Basically it can explain just about anything in biology. So what is evolution? The change in organisms over time. Or more precisely, a change in the genetic makeup of a population over time. (But we’re not done for a while!) Note: This definition says nothing about fossils, mimicry, adaption, etc. These are the results of evolution. The definition merely talks about genetics. So let’s delve into evolution in more detail. Five parts: I - History II - Mechanism III - Evidence IV - Genetics V - Evolution in action/examples I - History Linnaeus - - First organized animals into some kind of cohesive structure. - Grouped similar animals into similar categories, and established a hierarchy of groups, where the higher up one goes, the more diverse the animals in each group. - “Father of taxonomy”. More on this tomorrow. Lamarck - - First to propose evolution as a concept. But his mechanism was weird. - If an animal uses a particular part of its body a lot, then that part will develop more (e.g., athletes). - Thus, animal “acquires” certain characteristics. - These are then passed on to the offspring (this idea is basically wrong). - But Lamarck had great foresight - the idea of evolution was a breakthrough - it explained the fossil record, and opened up the possibility of a long period of time for things to happen (e.g. animals to change). .
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Cuvier - - opponent of evolution, but first to recognize that the age of fossils varies in different rock strata. Assumed that these represented species that had died out in “that location”, but were still alive elsewhere. - father of paleontology - made many contributions to anatomy as derived from fossil material. Hutton and Lyell - - Scottish geologists. - Hutton noted that rock formations, landscapes, etc. can all be explained by processes going on today. Formation of river valleys (Grand Canyon probably the most spectacular example), mountains, etc. - Gradualism - big changes can take place over long periods of time. - Lyell developed uniformitarianism, as well as elaborated and polished Hutton’s ideas. - Hutton was an awful writer, and it took Lyell to “translate” his ideas into readable English. . - Uniformitarianism - Things happen today in the same way as they did years ago. For example, the action of wind, water, volcanoes was (and is) the same throughout history. It is true that this is an assumption of evolution. - IMPORTANT implication - The earth is much older than was thought up until then. Summary up until now.
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2010 for the course BIOL 303 taught by Professor Birchard during the Spring '08 term at George Mason.

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Evolution1 - Evolution Evolution is the foundation of biology It explains why animals(and other organisms look the way they do how they are related

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