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Lecture 1-3.pdf

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McGill University
ANTH 203
Michael Bisson

Development of Evolutionary Theory Religious Beliefs Served as both a guide and justification for human actions Origin myths are critical to a society's self-definition So when threatened, there's a strong reaction Genesis All humans are descendent of Adam and Eve Created by God World created 9AM, October 23rd, 4004 BCE Humans are considered separate from the natural world 6000 yr chronology leaves no time for evolution Should be no extinct ancestral species Development in Biology/Geology Linnaeus Classification of plants and animals Placed humans in the order Primates Progressionism and natural theology Tried to fit biology to a religious framework "Ladder of Creation" Order of creation of "races" Western Europeans at the top God, angels, heaven, humans, beasts, plants, flame, rocks/dirt Jean Lamarck Theory of acquired characteristics e.g. Giraffe that stretches its neck and thus offsprings have longer necks Big problems Evolution had to be put within 6000 yrs Charles Lyell 1830-1833 "Principles of Geology" Promoted uniformitarianism Idea that the earths form was derived from SLOW and GRADUAL processes of uplift, erosion, and deposition Contradicts catastophism Earth forms were created by cataclysmic floods, volcanic eruptions, etc. Had a strong influence on Darwin 1870's Earth was estimated to be a whole million years old Darwin Failed med school Worked on the Beagle as a biologist Mapped the coast of South America Observed geographical variation in related species Refined his concept of observation Collection of fossil Glyptodons Like armadillos Observed geological processes of uplift and erosion Married a very rich lady Influenced by Thomas Malthus Struggle for existence More offspring are born than what can survive "Population grow exponentially, while food production grows arithmetically" ***5 major points of Darwinian evolutionary theory*** 1. Organisms produce more offsprings that can survive to reproduce 2. Because of high numbers in individuals in a species, there must be a high death rate 3. Individuals in each species vary in their characteristics 4. Variants that fit their environment better will be favoured over those less fit. Fitness is defined by differential reproductive success. By inheritance, better fit individuals will pass their beneficials characteristics to their offsprings, which will survive and reproduce in greater quantity. 5. Following generations will continue to exhibit and refine adaptations realized by their ancestors. Origins of Species 1859 Two unanswered questions What is the source of individual variation? How are characteristics are inherited? False idea of "blending inheritance" where characteristics from each parents are mixed like liquids Alfred R. Wallace Developed similar theory as Darwin, from his work in Southeast Asia They jointly publish a paper on evolution in 1858 Major scientific challenges Fleeming Jenkin 1867 About blend
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