Evolution and Selection

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Evolution is the process by which new species are formed from pre-existing ones over a long period of time. The basis of contemporary thought surrounding the theory of evolution was first put forward by Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin. In 1859 Darwinproposed natural selection as the force that causes changes in populations. More recently biologists have realised that natural selection can also maintain variation and therefore stabilise a population.

Natural Selection

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) was employed as a naturalist and member of a scientific survey which sailed to South America and Australia in 1832. He visited a small group of Volcanic Islands called the Galapagos Islands. These are situated about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. When these Islands were originally formed by volcanic activity no life existed there. Any plants or animals must have reached the islands by


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