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Objective: At the end of the lesson,

you should be able to explain how

populations of organisms have
changed and continue to change over
time, showing patterns of descent with
modification from common ancestors
to produce the organismal diversity
observed today.
How do new species arise?
Were they there to begin
with, and not just
discovered? Or was it a
product of something else?
Evolution is a dynamic process. It is on-
going and constantly active. Every act of
predation, mutation, and migration is in
accordance to a species’ fundamental need
– to survive. As evolution arose,
biodiversity, which is defined as the
variability of organisms that came into
existence, came along with it.
The Nature of Earth and Evolution

Just as evolution is a dynamic process, the environment

of Earth is continuously changing. The coming and
going of different eras, the changing atmospheric
conditions, and the change in geographical landmass
over an extended period of time forced organisms to
change. Different changes took place such as diet,
habitat, or competition. To compensate for these
changes, organisms have undergone adaptation, which
is a crucial role in the dynamic nature of evolution.
Factors Affecting Evolutionary
Evolution interplays many different
factors such as geographical and
climatic conditions, symbiotic
relationships, and migrating patterns.
Theories on Evolution
There are two theories that explain
how the evolution of organisms took
place. They are the theory of descent
with modification and the theory of
natural selection.
Theory of Descent with Modification
This theory implies that all existing organisms
originated from a singular or several simple life
forms that have continuously adapted to changes
in the environment. It seeks to explain that
biodiversity arose from these organisms
continuously gaining new features in relation to
changes, thus branching out and forming a new
species. Consider this evolutionary tree of fishes.
The tree is read as the top most organism
being the most recent while the bottom most
being the earliest.
Notice that certain characteristics are always
passed down such as the presence of paired
fins, or jaws. Furthermore, the new
descendant is better equipped with new
traits for survival.
Theory of Natural Selection
This theory states that only species with ideal
or superior characteristics are able to survive
the changing environment and thus replicate.
This characteristic is then passed on to
succeeding generations until various changes
to this characteristic occur, creating a new
dominant trait.
Mechanisms for Evolution
With these two theories, come the different
ways and methods in which organisms carry
out evolution.
 Divergent evolution is the process
where isolated populations of a species
branch out due to geographical barriers
or migration patterns. Many species have
differentiated due to change in
geographical conditions or natural
 The presence of grizzly bears and
polar bears is a clear example of
divergent evolution; the latter
equipped for winter conditions
while the former hibernates during
 Convergent evolution is the process
where members of two varying species
involve similar characteristics due to
similar environments. This is a species-
independent type of evolution, as
demonstrated by the ability for numerous
invertebrates such as spiders, weaver ants,
and silk moths to produce silk to capture
 Coevolution is the process where the
survival of two species is dependent
on each other. They are based on
symbiotic relationships such as
commensalism, predation, and
Hummingbirds and certain types of
flowers have evolved this way. The
nectar of these flowers have the
nutrients that are suited for the
hummingbird’s diet while these
birds freely pollinate the plant.
Theories Accounting for the Rate of Evolution
There has been an on-going debate of how fast the
process of evolution occurs. They are based on two
theories: gradualism and punctuated equilibrium.
 Gradualism is based on the concept of
evolutionary changes occurring at slow and
gradual rate over several generations. The
most common example of this is the
evolution of humans. The changes in the
physiological and physical characteristics of
humans were not drastic but took millions
of years.
 Punctuated equilibrium is based on the
stable genome over successive generations
until a sudden environmental change occurs.
One example are the Tyrannosaurus rex or T.
rex. When the dinosaurs were forced to
evacuate to smaller areas, a small population
were separated. Being under pressure and
separated from a larger gene pool, this led to
a rapid evolution.
Both proposed theories
are valid. However, there
is a lack of substantial
evidence to support
either claim.
In general, an area is more prone
to environmental damage if it has
low biodiversity. How does
having a large biodiversity
protect an area from
environmental damage?