Evolution is the unifying theory of biology. It defines the unity and diversity of life. Evolution provides a unifying framework for the history and variety of life on Earth by explaining the unity and diversity of species. Extensive scientific evidence, spanning fossil records to genetic links among species, supports biological evolution.
Evolution and variety are the outcomes of interactions between organisms and their surroundings and the long-term repercussions of these interactions. Species continuously adapt to their habitats, and the diversity of environments fosters the diversity of organisms that have adapted to them.
Changes in the heritable traits of biological populations over consecutive generations constitute evolution. These traits are the manifestations of genes transmitted from parent to child during reproduction.
As a consequence of mutation, genetic recombination, and different sources of genetic diversity, a particular population often possesses various features.
Evolution occurs when evolutionary mechanisms such as natural selection (including sexual selection) and genetic drift work on this diversity, resulting in the commonness or rarity of specific features within a population.
The evolutionary forces that decide whether a trait should be widespread or rare within a population are in constant flux, causing heritable traits to evolve through consecutive generations.
This evolutionary process has resulted in biodiversity at every level of biological organization, including species, individual creatures, and molecules.
During the middle of the 19th century, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace independently developed the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, detailed in Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species.
Natural selection’s earliest demonstration of evolution was observing that more offspring are frequently generated than can potentially survive.
Following this are three visible characteristics of living organisms: Varied qualities give different survival, and reproduction rates (differential fitness), and traits can be transmitted from one generation to the next (heritability of fitness).
Consequently, in succeeding generations, individuals of a population are more likely to be replaced by the offspring of parents with advantageous qualities that have enabled them to survive and reproduce in their surroundings.
Other competing theories of evolution, such as mutationism and orthogenesis, were refuted in the early 20th century when the modern synthesis reconciled Darwinian evolution with classical genetics, which established adaptive evolution as the result of natural selection acting on Mendelian genetic variation.
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