The Evidence of Evolution: On the Origin of Species

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Evolution is defined as the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier formed during the history of the Earth. Evolution is the reason we have so many different species. The basis of evolution comes from survival of the fittest. Those who do survive create an offspring even more fit for survival. The process of natural selection supports the idea of survival of the fittest and plays a key role in evolution. For species to evolve, there must be diversity present. When diversity is acted upon, a mutation happens. Mutations are alterations that happen in the genes, or the result of genes not being able to copy themselves properly. At first, mutations may seem almost non-existent to the eye, but over time the mutation will become more visible. A mutation can either decrease or increase the chance of survival, depending on what the mutation is. If the mutation does survive and reproduce, this is when a population evolves. This all comes back into play in the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life was first seen in the 19th century, in Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. In the tree, the tips of the branches show the species that are still alive today. The lines on the tree show evolutionary relationships between species. Darwin stated that “From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off; and these whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us in a fossil state.” Since the beginning of the Tree of Life, it has changed tremendously. In the 20th century, Willi Hennig began making his own developed and modern version of the Tree of Life. Willi Hennig used the colors black...

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...wide variety to human disorders. Not only that, but it is a key role in agriculture. It plays a key role by identifying wild relatives of plants and animals, guiding genetic improvements, and by locating potential biological control agents. Due to the amount of knowledge we hold today, predictions in the phylogenetic tree can be made. Predictions such as the characteristics of species that have not been studied yet.

Evolution can be traced back to the beginning of time through the remains of animals and plants found in sedimentary rock deposits. The existence of shared traits confirms that species are not fixed but can evolve into other species over time. Through the research and development of The Tree of Life, we have learned a great amount of information about the life around us.

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