Evolution, one of the “big ideas” for AP Biology, can be defined as “the change of heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations”. This process is what has given the earth a variety of species. Evolution can be explained through natural selection, or a process where organisms with characteristics that are best suited to their environment will survive, while others will eventually die off. This process has helped to contribute to evolution and the variety of species walking Earth today. Here is a video explaining more about evolution.
Scientists are continuing to find evidence of the theory today. Most of the evidence comes from DNA and fossils, with new evidence being found every day. For example, two brother off the coast of Japan unexpectedly found a fossil of what is believed to be the oldest bird in Japan. This bird was toothed and flightless, with the ability to dive beneath water. The new species is called Chupkaornis keraorum. It is estimated to live 90 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. For more information on this newly discovered species, check out this article.
This isn’t the only recent case of new evidence. A recent study reveals the most complete skull of extinct apes ever. It reveals what the most common ancestor of all living apes and humans looked like. The skull is 13 million years old and is believed to come from an infant. It is believed to be from a fruit-eating and slow climbing primate. The skull was found in 2014 in northern Kenya and is said by researchers to come at the perfect time. “Alesi came from exactly the right time and place to show us what the ancestors of all the modern apes and humans might have looked like,” says paleontologist, Ellen Miller to a Live Science interviewer. For more information on this important evidence, check out this article.
The vast majority of scientists believes in the theory of evolution and believes it is the only explanation that can explain the countless observations in sciences like biology, genetics, and more. However, this cannot be said true around the world. Many religions throughout the world reject the idea of evolution and give credit to other sources. Although their religious faith says life has a different way of starting, many religious people still believe in evolution. Below are the percentage of people in countries across Europe that believe in evolution.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Evolution can be credited with the variation in species on earth and is dependent on genetic variation and the process of natural selection. At first many people didn’t accept the theory, but with time it has become more and more accepted. I find the theory of evolution fascinating because it’s crazy to think that so many species have the same ancestors and most of the same genetic makeup. The characteristics humans share with animals that look nothing like them is amazing, and evolution can be credited with this.
- Choi, C. Q. (2017, August 10). Here’s What the Last Common Ancestor of Apes and Humans Looked Like. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/60093-last-common-ancestor-of-apes-humans-revealed.html
- Evolution. (2017, October 09). Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
- Level of support for evolution. (2017, October 11). Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution
- Onion, A. (2017, August 11). Brothers Unexpectedly Discover Fossil of Japan’s Oldest Water Bird. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/60108-brothers-discover-japan-oldest-water-bird.html
- Than, K. (2015, May 13). What is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/474-controversy-evolution-works.html
- What is evolution? (2017, February 17). Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-evolution