Section 2

Evidence of Evolution

• Evidence of evolution can be found by comparing several kinds of data, including the fossil record, biogeography, anatomy and development, and biological molecules. Evolutionary theories are supported when several kinds of evidence support similar conclusions.

• Geologic evidence supports theories about the age and development of Earth. The fossil record shows that the types and distribution of organisms on Earth have changed over time. Fossils of transitional species show evidence of descent with modification.

• Biogeography, the distribution of organisms, shows evidence of descent with modification.

Vocabulary fossil (p. 3G2) superposition (p. 3G2) relative age (p. 3G2)

absolute age (p. 3G3) biogeography (p. 3G5)

• In organisms, analogous structures are similar in function but have different evolutionary origins. Homologous structures have a common evolutionary origin. A species with a vestigial structure probably shares ancestry with a species that has a functional form of the structure. Related species show similarities in embryological development.

• Similarity in the subunit sequences of biological molecules such as RNA, DNA, and proteins indicates a common evolutionary history.

• Modern scientists integrate Darwin's theory with other advances in biological knowledge. Theories and hypotheses about evolution continue to be proposed and investigated.

homologous structure (p. 3G5) analogous structure (p. 3G5)

vestigial structure (p. 3G6) phylogeny (p. 3G7)

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