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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - Evolutionary Theory - September 18.docx

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Keriann Mc Googan

September 18, 2012. Lecture 2 – Evolutionary Theory New Monkey Species  First new species in 28 years  Native to forests in Republic of Congo  Inhabit 6500 square miles of Congo forest  Called the Lesula Outline  Common misconceptions  History of evolutionary thought o The scientific revolution o Precursors to the theory of evolution  Natural selection  Source of the variation? Common Misconceptions  Evolution is “only a theory” o At its root, this is true, it is a theory o When said, implication is that there isn’t proof behind evolutionary theory o Term “theory” is often misused o Theory: substantially verified through repeated testing of hypotheses o Examples of other scientific theories:  Theory of relativity  Cell theory  Humans “evolved” from monkeys o “If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” o Humans share a common ancestor with chimpanzees 6-8 million years ago o Humans lineage diverged from monkeys 20 million years ago o Evolved along different evolutionary plants  Evolution is a linear trend towards complexity o Great Chain of Being  Put forward by Aristotle (384-322 BCE)  Stasis and immutability  Orders from least perfect beings to perfect beings o Evolution is not so linear, not tree like, not linear progression o More like a bush with multiple starting points and multiple branching off paths Evolution Defined  Change in the genetic structure of a population  Evolution works via natural selection History of Evolutionary Thought  Belief during middle ages: universe is static o Fixity of species  Argument from design: o Plan of universe = God’s Design o James Ussher: 1581-1656  Irish archbishop  Analyzed parts of Genesis to conclude that Earth was created on October 23, 4004 BC o William Paley: 1802  Looked at the human eye and used it as proof behind argument that there must be a greater being so come up with such a complex design What we know today about eyes  Light enters eye through transparent opening through a diaphragm called the Iris (controls amount of light coming in)  Light passes through the lens and to the back of the eye called the Retina  Eyes excellent example for adaptation o Humans: light passing through lens is bent o Fish: light passing through the lens does not become bent o Fish live in water (where light refracts and displays images differently without this adaptaion) The Scientific Revolution  Exploration and discovery 15 century o People saw the world, realized it wasn’t flat o People saw other people, realized there were genetic differences  Change exists on Earth o Earthquakes, volcanoes, fossils Astronomy  Initially people thought the galaxy was geocentric  Copernicus in 1500s discovered the planets actually revolved around the sun  Heliocentric  Galileo 1600s o Logic and mathematics to support Copernicus o Telescope, first empirical approach to science The Development of Evolution th  John Ray: 17 century, minister educated at Cambridge University o First to discover the concept of species o Organisms reproductively organized o Biological definition of species o Recognised certain species have similarities with other species and grouped them together: Genus  Carolus Linnaeus: 1707-1778 o Famous for writing Systema Naturae [1735] (Systems of Nature) o Binomial nomenclature established by him  E.g. Homo (genus) sapiens (species) OR Homo sapiens o 4 Level Taxonomy: branch of science concerned with rules of classifying organisms  Two other levels above genus and species, Class and Order (class, order, genus, species) o Included humans in his classification o Still believe species were unchanging  Georges-Louis de Buffon: 1707-1788 o Began to stress importance of change o External environment as agent of change (microevolution) o BUT – still believed species were immutable (rejected macroevolution/speciation)  Erasmus Darwin: 1731-1802, Charles Darwin’s grandfather o Physician, poet, intellectual o Wrote about evolutionary ideas in verse/poetry  Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: 1744-1829 o First to explain process of evolution o Inheritance of acquired characteristics  Georges Cuvier: 1769-1832 o Extinction as an explanation for disappearance of species o Still believed Earth was static o Catastrophism  Series of great and sudden catastrophes created changes on Earth  Thomas Malthus: 1766-1834 o English economist o An Essay on the Principle of
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