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Bio Anth, Week 2 Notes

by: Jaimee Kidd

Bio Anth, Week 2 Notes Anth 1001

Jaimee Kidd
GPA 3.6

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Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection
Biological Anthropology
Shannon C. McFarlin
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jaimee Kidd on Friday January 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 1001 at George Washington University taught by Shannon C. McFarlin in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 95 views. For similar materials see Biological Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 01/22/16
DARWIN, WALLACE, AND NATURAL SELECTION Erasmus Darwin (1731­1802) • Charles Darwin’s grandfather • Naturalist and poet • Wrote about evolution including many ideas and views that Darwin later expanded on  when producing his own work and theories; one of the most important being the idea that  the environment is a very important piece of the process of evolution  Charles Darwin (1809­1882) • Growing up, he showed an interest in science, so his father sent him to medical school,  although he did not much like medical school with a weak stomach and what not  although this kind of education plays into his knowledge of basic ideas of probable  evolution • He instead decided he wanted to study religion and enrolled in Christ College, where he  met a professor John Henslow who was a botanist and a naturalist, which led to his even  greater interest in the natural sciences • Henslow recommended Darwin after graduation as a naturalist to the British Navy  exploring waters and islands on a voyage—HMS Beagle—one of the most formative  experiences in Darwin’s life and to the subsequent development of his evolutionary ideas ◦ voyage on the Beagle began in England to the coast of South America where  Darwin observed the diversity of different habitats to the Galapagos Islands, to  Tahiti, to the Indian Ocean, around Africa, back to Brazil, and back to England (5  Year Voyage) ▪ Over the course of these years that Darwin collected hundreds or  thousands of biological specimen  • Experiences that Influenced Darwin’s Thinking ◦ Observation of diversity of flora and fauna on his voyage ▪ created many and very detailed notebooks of what he had observed— although it wasn’t until years after the voyage that he understood the  significance of his observations  ◦ Experience of an earthquake while in Chile ▪ he became convinced that the Earth was dynamic and changing instead of  the norm of thought that the earth was static and unchanging ◦ In Argentina, Darwin collected fossil bones of extinct animal forms. ◦ Observation of diversity in ground finches across the Galapagos Island chain ▪ noted that the plants and animals in the galapagos carried traits that he  observed in the main land, but also carried differences as well ◦ His reading got Thomas Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) ◦ Observation of the power of artificial selection by plant and animal breeders ▪ Modern day example: dog breeding Thomas Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population • Human populations have the ability to increase exponentially at a faster rate than food  production ◦ However, populations around the world the dot be stable • There is a “struggle for existence" • Those that survive do because they can out compete others for the available resources Darwin concluded that individuals of a species with particularly advantageous characteristics  (adaptations) would be more likely to survive in limiting conditions, and would thus reproduce  more successfully than individuals with less advantageous attributes.  Darwin Develops his Theory of Natural Selection 1836: Darwin returns from the voyage of HMS Beagle 1844: Darwin prepares his first lengthy “sketch” on his theory of evolution by means of natural  selection. 1858: Darwin receives a manuscript, in which Alfred Russel Wallace had independently  conceived of evolution by means of natural selection.  1858: Darwin and Wallace present their ideas to the Linnean Society in London, detailing their  proposed mechanism for evolutionary change.  “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” Charles Darwin (1859) • Main Themes: ◦ Biological evolution is fact.  ◦ Common descent, with modification. ◦ Gradualism. ▪ differences between organisms evolved by innumerable small steps over  time through many intermediate forms—basic idea that evolution takes  time and it occurs gradually and incrementally.  ◦ Natural Selection is the mechanism of evolution.  Natural Selection: The Mechanism • OBSERVATION: Species produce more offspring than can be supported by available  food resources ◦ DEDUCTION: Limited resources leads to competition between individuals of  a species. There is a “struggle for existence" • OBSERVATION: There is biological variation among individuals of a specieis. the  characteristics of some individuals appear more favorably adapted to their  environments than those of tothers. ◦ DEDUCTION: Differential survival and reproduction of those individuals  with more favorable or advantages traits. This leads to greater fitness. ◦ DEDUCTION: Individuals who possess favorable traits contribute more to the  next generation. As favorable traits are inherited by their offspring, they become  more common in the population overtime.  • Fitness: Reproductive success (number of offspring)  • Adaptation: Changes in response to new or varying environmental pressures. ◦ Occurs in response to particular environmental conditions. ◦ Geographic isolation may be a force int he origin of species. • Diversity observed among species is the result of evolutionary relatedness (time from  common ancestor) and adaptation —> descent with modification Revolution and Reactions • “Descended from apes! My dear, let us hope that it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known.” ­Remark by the wife of the Bishop of Worcester  • Generated great controversy among his scientific peers, even some of his own mentors  • Despite his greatest effort to not offend any readers, only one line actually infers that this  theory applies to human evolution: “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his  history” he spent a great deal of time and effort writing his theory so that he didn’t  directly speak of the evolution of humans, other than this one line • Younger naturalists responded very positively— Thomas Huxley, Evidence as to Man’s  Place in Nature, drawing from Darwin’s theories writing about very close similarities  between apes and humans and discussing more ideas of evolution directly regarding  humans 


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