In his seminal work, The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote about and described the mechanisms behind his grand theory, the evolution of life. Darwin postulated that life evolves and changes through a process called Natural Selection, in which environmental pressures favor certain phenotypes of a species allowing those individuals to survive and pass their genetic material on to subsequent generations. Through this process these useful adaptations become more common in the population until this adapted subpopulation itself becomes so different from the original population that they become an entirely different species. Over the course of history many adaptations have helped our ancestors survive and thrive (e.g. encephalization, bipedalism), but because of the length of our lifespan and the speed at which evolution works, it is not possible to observe human evolution in the same way we can observe a human develop from infant to adult. Sometimes, however, other species with shorter lifespans give us a glimpse of evolution in action. Please read the article on the English Speckeled Moth and then discuss how the article shows natural selection (e.g. name what the environmental pressure was, how the phenotype influenced the moth’s ability to survive). Please also discuss how, in the nature vs. nurture debate, evolution stands an example of how the interaction of the two is perhaps the biggest key to our understanding of how our world works.
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