Everyone knows the basic tenet of the theory of development every bit proposed by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species”: That given enough fourth dimension, organisms change because of the mutated traits they pass down to their offspring. Sometimes a species tin can fifty-fifty transform itself into something quite different from the original.
Darwin, an English naturalist, biologist, and geologist, proposed his theory based on the observations he fabricated while on three separate voyages of the HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836. While on remote islands such every bit the Galapagos, an archipelago of volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Sea 605 miles west of the South American land of Ecuador, Darwin observed the birds, reptiles, and animals residing there and plant them to be significantly different from the same species living elsewhere in the world. His theory: They had adjusted themselves to their local environment and passed those adaptations down through the generations.
The theory of evolution was never a creation story in terms of how life arrived (or was created) on earth. Rather, it seeks to explain the process past which living organisms reproduce, suit, and modify themselves, developing into new kinds of organisms based on those adaptations. Over the years, the modifications became known as mutations, and the theory itself became known equally natural selection, i.e., nature selecting the fittest, strongest, most well-adapted organisms every bit the ones to reproduce, multiply, and survive.
What nigh people fail to realize is that Darwin wasn’t the only, or even the starting time, person to propose an evolutionary theory. French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck did so in 1801, and British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace did likewise in 1855. Just poor Wallace. He sent his papers to none other than Darwin, resulting in their joint publication i year before Darwin’southward “On the Origin of Species.” Wallace immediately was forgotten.
The main problem with the theory of evolution is that Darwin proposed it long before the appearance of genetics and molecular biology. In other words, he could only theorize the what, non the why or the how. Another huge problem is the fact that fifty-fifty Darwin admitted that it would take eons of fourth dimension for major changes to occur inside a given species, allow alone species-to-species changes. Nonetheless subsequent scientists kept discovering that major changes within a species can and do occur in as little every bit one generation. How was this possible?
One extremely of import clue emerged nearly a century later on Darwin with the discovery of the now famous DNA double helix in 1953 past James Watson and Francis Crick. Deoxyribonucleic acid is the molecule that contains human genes. At the same time, developmental biologist Conrad Waddington published his report on fruit flies. His research had shown that changing the temperature or inducing chemical stimuli to embryonic fruit flies caused them to produce differing wing structures. Not but did he accomplish this major change within one generation, the change was then inherited down through the subsequent generations. This rapid-changing form of development was named epigenetics.
With the rapid advances in science and technology, two new evolutional theories came into being: the Neo-Lamarckian theory and the Neo-Darwinian theory. The former holds that the environment directly alters phenotypic traits; the latter holds that genetic mutations promote phenotypic variation on which natural pick acts.
But even these did not fully explicate how evolution works. At present United states of america biologist Michael Skinner and others have proposed the newest theory: the Unified Evolution Theory. This prototype-shifting theory, blending Neo-Lamarckian theory with Neo-Darwinian theory, holds that “environmental epigenetic alterations promote genetic mutations to alter genotypic variation,” and that “environmental epigenetics and genetic mutations both promote phenotypic variation on which natural option acts” as per a study published in Genome Biology and Evolution.
This unified theory expands our understanding of evolution’southward molecular aspects and provides solutions for such issues equally rapid evolutionary phenomena. Information technology also expands on the thought that the environment can and does impact development.
Darwin Proposed as the Process That Causes Evolution to Occur