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EvolLec - Evolution and the Fossil Record The Study of...

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Evolution and the Fossil Record
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The Study of Evolution Two domains: the present and the past The present: Biology ± Genetics ± Comparative Anatomy The past: Paleontology or Paleobiology ± Comparative Anatomy of Fossilized organisms
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Natural Selection Natural selection, a creative force, is one of the prime mechanisms of evolutionary change. (The other mechanism, a destructive force, is mass extinction.) Charles Darwin, 1859: The Origin o f S p ec i e s by Na t ural S e l ec t ion .
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Artificial Selection vs. Natural Selection: Dog breeds produced by artificial selection
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Natural Selection: Key Points 3 facts lead to a conclusion: Fact 1. Overproduction of offspring Fact 2. Variation within populations Fact 3. Competition for resources Conclusion: Survival of the fittest
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Overproduction of offspring ± exponential population growth
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Charles Darwin in 1837, age 28, after voyage of the Beagle
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Darwin in 1879, age 70.
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Near the Natural History Museum, London
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Sources of Variation Random mutations of DNA ± >>99.9% are harmful or neutral ± adaptive mutations are rare Sexual recombination ± new variants created by mixing of genes ± you have 4096 direct ancestors going back 12 generations (2 12 )
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The Anatomy of a Gene. Helical strands of DNA contain the blueprints for all forms of life.
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The DNA molecule contains nitrogenous bases (A,T,C,G) that code for different amino acids, which form proteins.
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Evidence of Evolution Homology Analogous organs or Convergent Evolution (Homoplasy) Vestigial organs Adaptive radiations
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Homology The recognition of common ancestry of features. e.g. all primates have 5 fingers; apes and humans lack a tail; all tetrapods have similar limb bones.
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