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Evolution is the process by which living organisms originated on earth and have changed their forms to adapt to the changing environment The earliest known fossil organisms are the single-celled forms which resemble modern day bacteria These single-celled organisms date back about 34 billion years Evolution has resulted in successive radiations of new types of organisms some of which have become extinct but most of which have developed into the present makeup of the present world Wilson 17 Evolution has been studied for nearly two centuries One of the earliest evolutionists was Jean Baptiste de Lamarck He argued that the patterns of resemblance found in various creatures arose through evolutionary reformations of a common ancestry Naturalists had already established that different animals become adapted to different styles of life and environmental conditions Lamarck believed that environmental changes evoked in individual animals and that direct adaptive responses could be passed onto their offspring as inheritable traits Unfortunately this generalized hypothesis of evolution by acquired characteristics was not tested scientifically during Lamarcks lifetime A successful explanation of evolutionary processes however was later proposed by Charles Darwin His most well-known book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is a turning point in human understanding of nature and evolution Claiming diversity within species Darwin mentioned that while offspring inherit a resemblance to their parents theyre not identical to them Furthermore he noted that some of the contrasts between offsprings and parents were not due entirely to the environment but were often inherited Animal breeders were often capable to change the characteristics of domestic animals by selecting those individuals with the most desirable qualities for reproduction Darwin reasoned that in nature individuals with qualities that made them adjust to their environments better or gave them higher reproductive capacities would tend to leave more offspring such individuals were said to have higher fitness Because more individuals are born than survive a natural selection-should occur leading to
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