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Chapter 15

BIOL 1141 Chapter 15: Darwin and Evolution (ch.15)

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BIOL 1141
John Hass

Evolution: Genetic change in a species over time, resulting in the development of genetic and phenotypic differences that are the basis of natural selection; descent of organisms from a common ancestor • Plato: Said that every species on Earth has a perfect, or “essential” form and species variation is imperfection of this essential form • Aristotle: Saw that organisms vary in complexity and can be arranged based on their order of increasing complexity • Georges-Louis Leclerc: Naturalist who worked most of his life writing a 44-volume natural history series that described all known plants and animals Extant: Species, or other levels of taxa, that are still living Vestigial Structure: Remnant of a structure that was functional in some ancestor but is no longer functional in the organism in question Paleontology: Study of fossils that results in knowledge about the history of life • Baron Georges Cuvier founded paleontology Strata: Ancient layers of sedimentary rock; result from slow deposition of silt, volcanic ash, and other materials • Cuvier thought that sudden changes in fossil variation could be explained by a series of local catastrophes, or mass extinctions, followed by repopulation by species from surrounding areas Catastrophism: Belief, proposed by Georges Cuvier, that periods of catastrophic extinctions occurred, after which repopulation of surviving species took place giving the appearance of change through time Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics: Lamarckian belief that characteristics acquired during the lifetime of an organism can be pass on to offspring • Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck was the first biologist to offer a testable hypothesis that explained how evolution occurs via adaptation to the environment • Proposed that more complex organisms are descended from less complex organisms Uniformitarianism: Belief, supported by James Hutton, that geologic forces act at a continuous, uniform rate
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