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Charles Darwin and his Voyage. Background on Charles Darwin. As a youth, Darwin struggled in school Father was a wealthy doctor At age 16, Darwin entered school to study medicine but was horrified by surgery Darwin’s interests lay with the natural sciences

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Background on charles darwin
Background on Charles Darwin

  • As a youth, Darwin struggled in school

  • Father was a wealthy doctor

  • At age 16, Darwin entered school to study medicine but was horrified by surgery

  • Darwin’s interests lay with the natural sciences

  • 1827, Darwin was sent to Cambridge University to become a minister.

Darwin s voyage
Darwin’s Voyage

  • 1831, Darwin’s professor recommended him as an unofficial naturalist on a voyage on the HMS Beagle.

Darwin s contributions
Darwin’s contributions

  • Darwin developed a scientific theory of biological evolution that explains how modern organisms evolved over long periods of time through descent from common ancestors.

P atterns of biodiversity
Patterns of biodiversity

  • 1. Species vary globally

    • Noticed that different, yet ecologically similar animal species inhabited separated but ecologically similar habitats around the globe

    • Ex. Flightless birds , the rhea of South america, the ostriches on Africa, the emu on Australia

Patterns of biodiversity
Patterns of Biodiversity

  • 2. Species vary locally

    • Noticed that different, yet related, animal species often occupied different habitats within a local area.

      • Tortoises – shells designed for where they live and what they eat.

Patterns of biodiversity1
Patterns of Biodiversity

  • 3. Species vary over time

    • Noticed that some fossils of extinct animals were similar to living species.

    • Fossil record

    • Glyptodont and the


Darwin s voyage1
Darwin’s voyage

  • Sailed on Dec. 27, 1831

  • 5 years, collect samples, took many observations

  • 1859, published his ideas in a book called “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”


  • In Darwin’s Day, the thought was that

    the earth was only a few thousand years

    old and not much had changed.

  • Geologist James Hutton - - hypothesis on how geological processes have shaped the Earth.

    • Proposed forces beneath Earth’s surface can push rock layers upward, over long periods of time = mountain ranges

Charles lyell
Charles Lyell

  • Wrote Principles of Geology in 1830, building off the work of Hutton

  • Geological processes we see today mush be the same ones that shaped Earth millions of years ago.

Jean baptist lamarck
Jean Baptist Lamarck

  • Suggested organisms could change during their lifetimes by selectively using or not using various parts of their bodies.

  • Pass acquired traits on to their offspring, enabling species to change over time = inheritance of acquired traits

  • Ex. Giraffe neck

  • Why was this proven wrong??

Thomas malthus
Thomas Malthus

  • Economist

  • Reasoned that if the human population grew unchecked, there wouldn’t be enough living space and food for everyone.

  • This does not happen, why?

  • Darwin realized that most organisms do not survive and reproduce, which do and why… survival of the fittest.

Artificial selection
Artificial Selection

  • Nature provides the variations and humans select those they find useful

  • Ex. Breeding horses, dogs…

  • Darwin realized that the natural variations among individuals was very important because it provided raw material for change…evolution!

Evolution by natural selection
Evolution by Natural Selection

  • 3 points that went into Darwin’s theory

    • The struggle for existence

    • Variation and adaptation

      • Adaptation – any heritable characteristic that increases an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

    • Survival of the fittest –

      • How well an organism can survive and reproduce in its environment.

Natural selection
Natural Selection

  • Process by which organisms with variations most suited to their local environment survive and leave more offspring.

Descent with modification
Descent with modification

  • Darwin suggested that over many generations, adaption could cause successful species to evolve into new species.

  • Principle of common descent – all species, living and extinct- are descended from ancient common ancestors.

Evidence for evolution
Evidence for Evolution

  • Biogeography – study of where organisms live now and where they and their ancestors lived in the past.

  • Patterns in the distribution of living and fossil species tell us how modern organisms evolved from their ancetors

Fossil evidence
Fossil Evidence

  • Many recently discovered fossils form series that trace the evolution of modern species from extinct ancestors.

  • Downfall to using fossils, hard to find complete set

Comparative anatomy
Comparative Anatomy

  • Homologous structures – structures shared by related species and have been inherited from a common ancestor

    • Same structure – different function

  • Vestigial structures – inherited from ancestors but lost much or all of original function

    • Hip bones of dolphin


  • Looking at developmental stages of many animals with backbones.

  • Similar patterns of embryological development provide further evidence that organisms have descended from a common ancestor.


  • New science, looking at DNA, RNA and proteins, beyond Darwin’s time.

  • At the molecular level, the universal genetic code and homologous molecules provide evidence of common descent.