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MAIN Arrow to Science Science Arrow to Biology Biology Arrow to EvolutionEvolution

Darwin's finches
- Darwin's discovery -

Finches on the Galapagos
Islands evolved to adapt
to different habitats.

 

Most recently in the news over reports that hint at the "missing link" connecting apes and homo sapiens, the topic of evolution has been a hot button issue between various groups ever since being introducted as a subject of inquiry in the early 19th century.


Natural selection - evolution explained

Evolution as we know it today began with an historic trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835 by naturalist Charles Darwin.

There, he collected information later published in his famous The Origin of Species.

The new research intrigued scientists and others with its answer to a long sought-after and fundamental question — how and where did life, and humans, begin?

Although similar theories on the origins of life existed throughout history, Darwin was the first to explain evolution via natural selection.

The theory explained how creatures who were best adapted to their environment enabled them to pass on their genes to offspring. Thus, in a winner-take-all game of "survival of the fittest", adaptive species often prospered and predominated over less adaptable ones.

Over time, the genetic pool sometimes resulted in a slightly altered species and, sometimes, the emergence of an entirely new one.


Evolution, creationism, and intelligent design



evolution of ape to man
Simians to Sapiens : more evidence has
emerged to prove that over thousands
of years apes evolved into modern man.

 


The genetic detective work that followed - illustrating how man evolved from apes - soon raised serious objections throughout the world, especially in communities professing a strong belief in Biblical interpretations of creation.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the U.S., where religious fervor eventually resulted in the now-famous Scopes Monkey Trial in which a Tennessee teacher was taken to court in 1925 for teaching evolution in the classroom.

Even today, Darwin's theory on mankind's origins remains a hotbed of contention in America where according to a 2001 Gallup Poll proponents of creationism and intelligent design still made up about 45% of the population.

As the God vs natural selection debate continues, evidence mounts in overwhelming favor of Darwin's theory as scientists point to new fossil evidence being discovered and examples of how evolution through natural selection occurs even today.


Darwin Day

By tradition, February 12 is Darwin Day, celebrating the birth of the British naturalist born in London on that day in 1809. In 2009, special 200th anniversary celebrations promoted in universities, science centers - and, of course, on the Web and in the media - paid special tribute to the man who began the "evolution revolution" which continues to be tested (and to spark controversy) well into the 21st century.


More about evolution around the Web:

Around the Web, learn more about evolution and Darwin's theory at top sites offering more information on its history with photos, illustrations and video clips, recent news & information on genetic research, along with more on the current controversy surrounding evolution and religious teaching ....

Understanding Evolution
- In-depth University of California Museum of Paleontology guide to the topic with a survey of the available evidence, recent news reports & webcasts, classroom activities & lesson plans, with resources to more information on natural selection, the history of evolutionary theory and genetics.

Evolution - PBS companion site to its NOVA science series with details on the life and work of Charles Darwin, famous examples of evolutionary survival and adaptation, video clips and interactive exhibits, student & teacher resources, FAQ.

BBC Science & Nature - The evolution of man - Companion site to the television series chronicling the rise of homo heidelbergensis, the neanderthals and homo sapiens, with information on important fossil discoveries, photos & images, hyperlinks to related BBC presentations.

Early Theories of Evolution - An examination of similar theories throughout history, evidence in support of the Darwin's theory, teacher resources including interactive flash cards, sample Web expedition.

Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design Controversy - Join the fray with an overview of positions taken by each of its proponents, with important essays, events & other major sources of information on the evolution debate, suggested reading and a directory of resources to further information.

Strange Science: What is Evolution? - Kid-friendly history covering pre-Darwinian theory to present-day religious controversies with suggested books, related resources, photos & illustrations.


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