Archive for March, 2012

Division over Natural Selection

In the search of a natural law for evolution, Charles Darwin employed a theory he coined “natural selection”.

The importance Darwin gives to natural selection is highlighted in the complete title of The Origin of Species: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection and the Preservation of Favoured Races.

Darwin envisioned natural selection as the driving force of evolution – the “means”, the proposed natural law, driving the origin of species. In Darwin’s words: “I have now recapitulated the facts and considerations which have thoroughly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent. This has been effected chiefly through the natural selection of numerous successive, slight, favourable variations.” The key attributes Darwin of natural selection include successive and slight changes.

While Darwin coined the concept, the general concept of natural selection, while popular at the time, the theory was divisive even within Darwin’s inner circle of evolution colleagues.  These inner-circle critical colleagues included Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, Asa Gray, and Thomas Henry Huxley. Continue Reading

Retiles, Without Eggs

Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species envisioned evolution to act “very slowly, only over long periods of time…. natural selection acts slowly by accumulating slight, successive, favorable variations”.

With these “slight, successive” changes, an endless cycle of species developing from a previous species was the foundation of Darwin’s theory. To illustrate this concept Darwin drew his infamous “I Think” Tree of Life. For Darwin, “natural selection… can produce no great or sudden modifications.” Continue Reading

Ape DNA, An Evolution Conundrum

The “Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence” report, published by the British journal Nature this last week, stands as a historical milestone in the study of human origins.

The report from a research team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute headed by Aylwyn Scally stems from the completed gorilla genome sequence project;  the last genus of the living great apes to have its genome decoded. The findings have entrenched the evolution industry into a theoretical conundrum. Read the rest of this entry »

New Mimivirus Challenges Evolution Fundamentals

The newly discovered Mimivirus is proving to be a challenging to the basic fundamentals of the evolution of microbe to man tree of life.

The Mimivirus was serendipitously discovered in 1992 while researching Legionellosis, a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella. Since the new organism appeared to be a bacterium, it was originally named Bradfordcoccus after the city where it was discovered, Bradford, England. Continue Reading

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.

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