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Lesson Plans

A (final?) word on Darwin

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 16:18:22 -0400

There is still some confusion on the nature of Darwin's theory:

> Darwin's theory of evolution believed that one species evolved into
> species, slowly over a long period of time.

This, however, is/was not the case. The "struggle for survival" according
to the principle of "survival of the fittest", which ensured the success of
the best adapted (to the environment), was, according to Darwin, the
mechanism through which species changed (evolved/adapted). NOT into NEW
species, but into variations of the same species better adapted to survive
in a changing environment. A species improved its chances of survival in
direct proportion to the number of individual variations it included (or

On a micro-cosmic scale, we can all see that this same principle holds for
humans on a psychological, behavioral and even physical level (note how
humans lacking one sense, i.e. vision, find that their other senses are
proportionately heightened, i.e. hearing, touch).

Although Darwin was thought to believe that humans were descended through a
series of adaptations from apes, he never supported this idea. Instead, he
believed that contemporary humans and anthropoid apes had evolved separately
over millennia from a common ancestral family. The validity of this part of
his theory has been strengthened (but not proven) by Leakey's discovery of
Lucy and other ancestral finds in Africa.

Fairly recent genetic research has also found common strings in all humans,
pointing back to a common ancestral 'mother' in Northern Africa.
Interestingly, the genetic trail is common in the maternal line, not
paternal !