Notes for Lecture #1:

Early views on the origin and diversity of life

Copyrighted 1996. May not be reproduced for commerical purposes

 You are visitor number   since 23 Feb 1996 

Some interesting links

Lecture Notes

Bruce Walsh

Upcoming Exams Origins of the Diversity of Life

Zoo / Aquarium diversity:

Some other examples of diversity Key Point: Not only are life forms diverse, they are much more diverse that most people can imagine.

How can we account for The apparent adaptability of these life forms to their environments? The diversity of life forms?

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" Th. Dobzhansky (1973)

The Early Seeds of Evolutionary Thinking

The Classical view: This view gets shaken up: The world distribution of organisms was puzzling: If all species were created at the same time in the same place, how could so many be restricted to particular parts of the world?

Buffon (1770s)

Erasmus Darwin (1770s)

JeanBaptiste de Lamarck (1809)

What is evolution?

Charles Darwin defined it as descent with modification.

Darwin was not the first to suggest that evolution occurs, but he has the first to suggest a plausible mechanism as well as present an overwhelming case that evolution occurs.

What do we mean by descent with modification?

 All organisms can be traced back through a series of common ancestors (here, D and E). If true, should find evidence of this.

Descent with modification allows for tests of Evolution.

House example: unless completely torn down, if we look hard enough, we can find vestiges of the old house.