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Ch 17: Overview of Evolution & Natural Selection

About This Chapter

Look at the world through Darwin's eyes. Learn about the leading theories and evidence supporting the occurrence and history of evolution in this engaging chapter. You'll also be able to study the various processes that contribute to speciation and biodiversity.

Overview of Evolution & Natural Selection - Chapter Summary

Our biology experts have created this comprehensive chapter to give you a solid overview of the theories and mechanics of evolution. They will give you background information about Darwin's and Lamarck's theories and then present the scientific evidence supporting those theories. This chapter can also you the knowledge to compare different selection mechanisms which lead to speciation as well as equations for the rates of these changes. You will also learn to define and give examples of the key evolutionary concepts. When you have finished your study of this chapter, you should feel confident to do the following:

  • Compare the theories of Lamarck and Darwin
  • Describe the evidence supporting evolutionary theory
  • Explore rates of evolution
  • Explain the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium
  • Summarize speciation, genetic variability, and random mutation
  • Compare natural and artificial selection
  • Explain causes and impact of mass extinction

The lessons in this chapter are primarily presented through short, engaging videos organized and narrated by our professional instructors. While watching, you can use the Timeline feature of the video player to review specific key ideas in each lesson. You might also find the accompanying transcript helpful for your studying. Be sure to use the self-assessment quizzes at the end of the lesson to evaluate your level of mastery of these important biology concepts and track your progress on your Dashboard.

9 Lessons in Chapter 17: Overview of Evolution & Natural Selection
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Theories of Evolution: Lamarck vs. Darwin

1. Theories of Evolution: Lamarck vs. Darwin

We'll look at the interplay between population genetics and environment. Are traits individually acquired or do entire populations evolve? The flying hamsters and a few other notable experiments will provide the answers.

Evidence for Evolution: Paleontology, Biogeography, Embryology, Comparative Anatomy & Molecular Biology

2. Evidence for Evolution: Paleontology, Biogeography, Embryology, Comparative Anatomy & Molecular Biology

There is much support for the theory of evolution. This evidence comes from a variety of scientific fields and provides information that helps us trace changes in species over time. In this lesson, we'll look at this evidence and explore how it supports the theory of evolution.

Rates of Evolution: Punctuated Equilibrium & Molecular Clock Hypothesis

3. Rates of Evolution: Punctuated Equilibrium & Molecular Clock Hypothesis

In general, evolution is a very long process. But rates of evolution can be different for different organisms. In this video lesson, you will identify how scientists study rates of evolution and fill in some of the missing 'steps' in the fossil record.

Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium: Definition, Equation & Evolutionary Agents

4. Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium: Definition, Equation & Evolutionary Agents

In this lesson we will define Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and break down the Hardy-Weinberg equation to figure out if a population of hypothetical beetles is evolving.

Natural Selection & Adaptation: Definition, Theory & Examples

5. Natural Selection & Adaptation: Definition, Theory & Examples

How does natural selection help shape the amazing types of animals we witness around us? In this lesson, we'll explore adaptations and what they can tell us about a species' past evolution.

Overview of Speciation Types & Barriers

6. Overview of Speciation Types & Barriers

Have you ever wondered how a new species arises? This lesson will examine speciation, or when a new species forms, as well as barriers that prevent separate species from mating.

Genetic Variability and Random Mutation

7. Genetic Variability and Random Mutation

Evolution is driven by variation among populations. The amount of variability determines how well a population can adapt to environmental changes, while random mutations can provide new variations that help a population adapt to unexpected changes.

Artificial Selection in Evolution

8. Artificial Selection in Evolution

Humans have been selectively breeding for desirable traits in plants and animals for a long time. This artificial selection allows for a lot of control in the breeding process but can also lead to unintended mutations within a population of organisms.

What Is Extinction? - Defining Background and Mass Extinction

9. What Is Extinction? - Defining Background and Mass Extinction

In this lesson you'll discover what the term 'extinction' means as well as learn the two different types of extinction: mass extinction and background extinction. You will also discover how humans contribute to extinction events.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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