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Evolution and
Adaptation
Early Theories, Darwin & Natural Selection
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
(France - 1744-1829)
 Based theories on observations of
similarities between ancient fossils
and modern animals, vestigial
structures and passing on of desired
traits by selective breeding
 Proposed than an individual gains
or loses traits during its lifetime
which are then passed on to its
offspring.
 Believed evolution is a constant
process striving toward greater
complexity and perfection.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Mechanisms of Change:
 Law of Use and Disuse
 Body parts most frequently used become stronger and more
developed and parts used less are reduced.
 Ex. Penguins wings – Small due to disuse.
 Transmission of Acquired Characteristics
 Qualities acquired during an organisms life time are passed down to
offspring
 Ex. Parents who develop strong muscles will pass strong muscles down
to offspring
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Important contributions to evolutionary theory:
Organisms change over time
Organisms adapt to their environment
Traits found in parents are passed to offspring
What Lamarck got wrong:
Evolution tends towards perfection & complexity
Organisms are constantly evolving
Acquired characteristics are passed on
Pre-Darwinian Ideas About Evolution:
Life has existed on Earth for a long time
Organisms have changed since the dawn of life
Many extinctions have happened since life began
Fossil evidence, embryology and comparative anatomy
show similarities between related species and suggest a
common ancestor.
Mendel’s work with genetics showed how genetic
elements are passed through generations
Charles Darwin
(England 1809-1882)
 Naturalist
 1831: Embarked on 5 year
around the world voyage
aboard the HMS Beagle.
 Studied the diversity of life
with a particular focus on the
Galapagos Islands
 Returned home to continue
his research
 1859: Published On the
Origin of Species
Voyage of the Beagle
Galapagos Islands
Group of Volcanic Islands off the coast of South America
Darwin observed variation between the animals species
on each of the islands and the mainland
Famously, he observed, collected and measured the
many different species of finches found on the islands
Darwin’s Finches
Darwin’s Finches
Noticed huge variation in beak type and size
Beak type correlated with the type of food source on
each island
Hypothesized the beak type had adapted to the type of
food available in the finch habitat
Led to theory of Natural Selection
Alfred Russell Wallace
Darwin wasn’t the only one putting all the pieces
together…
https://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/origin-species-making-
theory
(30 min)

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Theories of evolution

  • 1. Evolution and Adaptation Early Theories, Darwin & Natural Selection
  • 2. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (France - 1744-1829)  Based theories on observations of similarities between ancient fossils and modern animals, vestigial structures and passing on of desired traits by selective breeding  Proposed than an individual gains or loses traits during its lifetime which are then passed on to its offspring.  Believed evolution is a constant process striving toward greater complexity and perfection.
  • 3. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Mechanisms of Change:  Law of Use and Disuse  Body parts most frequently used become stronger and more developed and parts used less are reduced.  Ex. Penguins wings – Small due to disuse.  Transmission of Acquired Characteristics  Qualities acquired during an organisms life time are passed down to offspring  Ex. Parents who develop strong muscles will pass strong muscles down to offspring
  • 4. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Important contributions to evolutionary theory: Organisms change over time Organisms adapt to their environment Traits found in parents are passed to offspring What Lamarck got wrong: Evolution tends towards perfection & complexity Organisms are constantly evolving Acquired characteristics are passed on
  • 5. Pre-Darwinian Ideas About Evolution: Life has existed on Earth for a long time Organisms have changed since the dawn of life Many extinctions have happened since life began Fossil evidence, embryology and comparative anatomy show similarities between related species and suggest a common ancestor. Mendel’s work with genetics showed how genetic elements are passed through generations
  • 6. Charles Darwin (England 1809-1882)  Naturalist  1831: Embarked on 5 year around the world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.  Studied the diversity of life with a particular focus on the Galapagos Islands  Returned home to continue his research  1859: Published On the Origin of Species
  • 7. Voyage of the Beagle
  • 8. Galapagos Islands Group of Volcanic Islands off the coast of South America Darwin observed variation between the animals species on each of the islands and the mainland Famously, he observed, collected and measured the many different species of finches found on the islands
  • 10. Darwin’s Finches Noticed huge variation in beak type and size Beak type correlated with the type of food source on each island Hypothesized the beak type had adapted to the type of food available in the finch habitat Led to theory of Natural Selection
  • 11.
  • 12. Alfred Russell Wallace Darwin wasn’t the only one putting all the pieces together… https://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/origin-species-making- theory (30 min)