Posts Tagged ‘natural selection’
In the same way Isaac Newton discovered the laws of motion and gravity, Charles Darwin launched his pursuit to discover the laws of biological evolution. After decades of searching and studying, Darwin eventually proposed his law of evolution – “natural selection.”
Natural selection soon emerged as the cornerstone law of evolution following the publication of the first edition of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in November 1859. Natural selection stands as the fundamental tenet of Darwin’s theory of evolution, popularly known as Darwinism. But, what in natural selection – really?
In January paleontologist Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Belgium published a paper in Nature a new fossil record discovery that defies, once again, long-held theories on the dinosaur to bird evolution.
In Liaoning Province located in north-east China, the team led by Godefroit in cooperation with a research team from the Jilin University Geological Museum in China undermines the pivotal position of Archaeopteryx – the bird that was once thought to be the original or “first bird.”
Archaeopteryx actually means the “ancient wing.” Continue Reading
Just a month before Christmas, Charles Darwin had successfully launched one of the most notable effects on modern Western society with the publication of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection on the 24th of November.
Even though all 1,250 copies of the first printing of the book were sold on the first day, by Christmas Darwin “found himself disturbed, even haunted,” in the words of Rebecca Stott in the book Darwin’s Ghosts, the Secret History of Evolution.
Throughout the sixth edition of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin used the giraffe as an example to illustrate evolution through natural selection. Since the nineteenth century, however, the unfolding of scientific evidence continues to undermine – rather than support – Darwin’s contention that the long neck of the giraffe serves to illustrate evolution.
Undermining evidence is found in the giraffe’s leaf eating habits, fossil record, anatomy, physiology, and genetics.
Following in the footsteps of Frenchman Jean-Baptist Lamarck, Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species introduced a revolutionary new theory of biological evolution with the concept of natural selection.
Lamarck had envisioned evolution acting through the “Progress in complexity… due to the influence of environment and of acquired habits”. Darwin extended Lamarck’s “Progress in complexity” theory with the new proposed natural law of evolution−natural selection: “This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection.”
Evolution, since then, has been envisioned as a unidirectional preservation process of an unending increase in biological complexity; from microbe to man. New evidence from the HOX gene, however, undermines these fundamental tenets of evolution. Continue Reading
To explore the evolutionary mechanism between sister sea star species, a research team headed by Jonathan Puritz of Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii investigated the genetic and phylogeographic differences between the species living off the Australian coast in the Coral Sea.
Last September 2011, the announcement of a fossil discovery touted as a missing link in the evolutionary ancestry of humans in South Africa by Lee Berger created a blaze of media hype. National Public Radio (NPR) ran an article entitled “Examining Ancient Fossils for Clues to Human Origins”.
The Wall Street Journal chimed in with “Fossil Trove Sheds Light on a Stage of Evolution”. The Boston Globe speculated with the title “Skeleton could be human relative”; TIME with “Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree”. New Scientist ran the article: South African fossils halfway between ape and human. Continue Reading
Darwin began correspondence with Huxley in July 1851, eight years before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, who was then connected with the Westminster Review, a flagship publication for philosophical radicals known for promoting evolutionary concepts.
Huxley was one of the first to publicly come Darwin’s defense and the first to use the term “Darwinism” in a favorable review of The Origin of Species in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review. Together, Huxley and Darwin formed a perfect match−both Bible hating evolution advocates. Continue reading
The letter from Alfred Russel Wallace in June 1858 stands as the most motivating letters Charles Darwin was ever to receive. Wallace’s letter forced Darwin to finish what was soon to be known as The Origin of Species−a work that had been over 20 years in-the-making, at the time. Darwin was shaken to the core.
In this infamous letter, apparently, Wallace had asked Darwin to review an accompanying paper on entitled “On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type.” Since they had been previously corresponding, Wallace thought Darwin might endorse the paper before sending to Charles Lyell. The letter has since been lost. Continue Reading
This week Andrew J. Wendruff and Mark V. H. Wilsonof the University of Alberta made a new contribution to the evolution of the coelacanth saga in the paper “A fork-tailed coelacanth, Rebellatrix divaricerca” published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Since the discovery in England by Louis Agassiz in 1839, the coelacanth has played a pivotal role in the history of evolution.
For Agassiz, the coelacanth fossil record pointed to “a correspondence between the succession of Fishes [evolution of fishes] in geological times”. Reflecting on Agassiz findings, Charles Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species: “this doctrine of Agassiz accords well with the theory of natural selection.” Continue Reading