Common descent, an idea central to Darwin's theory of evolution, is well supported by multiple chains of evidence from the fields of genetics, biogeography and comparative anatomy. The fossil record also provides both direct and indirect evidence of descent with modification from common ancestors, though this line of evidence was generally unavailable to Darwin in the mid-19th century.Continue Reading
Closely related plants and animals tend to be grouped geographically. Most of the birds in the Galapagos Islands, whatever their ecological niche, are recognizably finches. Honeycreepers occupy much the same position for the Hawaiian Islands. Penguins live exclusively in the southern hemisphere. The simplest explanation for this kind of distribution is that the modern species all derive from a recent common ancestor that migrated into the area they now occupy.
Direct comparison of genes contributes to the picture of common descent. Analysis of gene-influenced protein structure done by researchers at Brandeis University found that the cleanest explanation for the variance between modern eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea is that they are all descended from a universal common ancestor that lived several billion years ago.
The common descent model is also supported by its utility as a predictive tool. The close kinship between humans and other primates is the presupposition that underlies much animal testing. The more distant, but still relatively recent, common ancestry between all mammals is the reason experiments on rats can be loosely extrapolated to human physiology.Learn more about Anthropology
Charles Darwin is famous for the strong case he made in support of his theory of evolution. He showed how species changed over time, and proposed that all life resulted from evolution. His theory was controversial but eventually caught on with the scientific community.Full Answer >
Charles Darwin is best known for developing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin formulated his theories after returning from a voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle and he published them in 1859.Full Answer >
Charles Darwin was famous for his theory of evolution, which challenged the prevailing theory of the creation of the earth and changed people's thinking regarding the natural world. Along with naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin laid the foundation of thought that gave scientific evidence showing the possibility that all species of life descended from common ancestors by a process of natural selection.Full Answer >
Lamarck's theory of evolution differs from Darwin's in its premise that adaptations appear when needed in response to the environment and the acquired traits are then passed on to offspring. Genetic research, however, has shown that living organisms cannot alter their genetic material as needed. Darwin's theory differs from Lamarck's by describing evolution as a consequence of the environment instead of a response to it.Full Answer >