Lecture 2 Ch 2 - Lecture 2: Chapter 2 A History of...

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Lecture 2: Chapter 2 A History of Evolutionary Thought and Background to Genetics
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DISCLAIMER: Creation/Religion vs. Evolution/Science? A debate that teaching of evolution is morally wrong continues in the US (and elsewhere). This course is not meant to challenge faith, spirituality or religion (consider view of the Lakota man in Bones of Contention video). Each of us must find out where we feel we fit in the universe. There are those that are able to mesh both sides of the debate. This course requires you to understand how our databases for the origins of life and humanity have come together and have been interpreted by our disciplinary predecessors and peers. In any case, allow yourself to critically assess this database.
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Outline How did the theory of evolution come to be? How did the intellectual environment for the theory of evolution develop? What was Darwin’s contribution? What was Mendel’s contribution? What is the evolutionary synthesis?
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Where did it all begin? 15 billion years ago – the universe (‘The Big Bang’) 4.5 bya – the sun 4.3 or so bya – the earth 3.6 bya – first life on earth – single-celled photosynthesising bacteria-like organisms 1.8 bya – first oxygen-using organisms 1 bya – sexually-reproducing organisms 510 mya – first organisms with an internal skeleton
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65 mya – rise of mammals (warm-blooded creatures often with extended post-partum development) and extinctions of many reptiles With the extinction of reptiles, mammals found themselves in a number of new niches to which or in which to adapt. adaptation – “changes to biology or behaviour that increases the chances of surviving and leaving viable offspring in a new environment.” (EEH 2002:327) an adaptation – a trait or traits that increase(s) the chances of survival, reproductive success and leaving viable offspring.
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65-55 mya - first primates 22 mya – first ape ancestors of humans (proconsulids) 7-6 mya – first human-like creatures (habitual and obligate bipeds – aka hominids) by 160,000 ya – anatomically modern humans in East Africa
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Aristotle (384-322 BC) Plato and Aristotle apparently believed in a graded continuum from lesser organisms up to humans, the pinnacle of perfection. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle classified animals with broadly similar traits into genera (singular genus) and into subgroups within these known as species (singular species).
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The Great Chain of Being This view would come to include an idea of ‘essence’ or ‘radiance’, - something like spirit - later amendments would construct what we later see in the Great Chain of Being . No evolutionary change or movement between the rungs of the ladder were implied, though, so all these species were static in form and function .
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Perfection of Creation – no extinction and no new Creation The Grand Design Fixity of species This ladder-like view of perfection was adopted by the Christian world through the following 2000 plus years. The Medieval feudal system, for example, can be seen as a
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2011 for the course ANTHRO 1A03 taught by Professor Eveningclass during the Spring '08 term at McMaster University.

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Lecture 2 Ch 2 - Lecture 2: Chapter 2 A History of...

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