Section 1

History of Evolutionary Thought

• Evolution is the process of change in the inherited characteristics within populations over generations such that new types of organisms develop from preexisting types.

• Scientific understanding of evolution began to develop in the 17th and 18th centuries as geologists and naturalists compared geologic processes and living and fossil organisms around the world.

• Among geologists, Cuvier promoted the idea of catastrophism, and Lyell promoted uniformitarianism. Among naturalists, Lamarck proposed the inheritance of acquired characteristics as a mechanism for evolution.

Vocabulary evolution (p. 297) strata (p. 298)

natural selection (p. 3GG)

• After making many observations and considering ideas of other scientists, both Darwin and Wallace proposed the theory of natural selection to explain evolution.

• Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, in which he argued that descent with modification occurs, that all species descended from common ancestors, and that natural selection is the mechanism for evolution.

• Organisms in a population adapt to their environment as the proportion of individuals with genes for favorable traits increases. Those individuals that pass on more genes are considered to have greater fitness.

adaptation (p. 3GG)

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