Outcomes of Evolution, Biology tutorial


Completely, each and every feature of the behavior and form of organisms are affected by the evolution. Significantly, the most prominent are the specific behavioral and physical adaptations which are the outcome of natural selection. Some activities are aided by such adaptations that raise the fitness. These activities comprise: finding food, ignoring predators or attracting mates. Organisms can as well respond to the selection by co-operating with one other, generally by helping their relatives or engaging in the mutually beneficial symbiosis. Evolution generates new species via splitting ancestral populations of organisms to new groups which can't or will not interbreed in the longer term.

Focus on Evolution:

The results of evolution are at time splitted into macroevolution. Macroevolution takes place at or above the level of species, like extinction and speciation and microevolution that signifies to smaller evolutionary changes, like adaptations, in a species or population. Usually, the outcome of long periods of microevolution is termed to as macroevolution. Therefore, the distinction among micro and macroevolution is not a basic one - the time comprised is simply the difference. In macroevolution though, the features of the whole species might be significant. For illustration, a huge amount of variation among the individuals lets a species to quickly adapt to new habitats, decreasing the possibility of the species going extinct, whereas a broad geographic range raises the chance of speciation, by making it more probable that portion of the population will become isolated. In this concern, microevolution and macroevolution may comprise selection at various levels - microevolution acting on the genes and organisms, against macroevolution methods that comprise species selection acting on the whole species and influencing their rates of speciation and extinction.

In the year 1859 the English naturalist Charles Darwin published 'The Origin of Species'. The book pointed at two main arguments: First, Charles Darwin represented a lack of evidence of evolution. He stated that all the living things on earth nowadays are the descendants of prior species.

Second, he introduced a method of natural selection to describe how evolution occurs. Evolution comprises two interrelated phenomena; adaptation and speciation.


Over a time-period, species modify their phenotypes in some ways which allow them to succeed in their environment. Adaptation is a procedure which makes sure organisms are better suited to their habitat.

Adaptation might as well signify to a trait which is the key to an organism's survival. A good illustration is the adaptation of teeth of horses, grinding of grass. By using the word adaptation for the evolutionary procedure and adaptive feature for the product the two senses of the word might be differentiated. Adaptations are produced through natural selection. Theodosius Dobzhansky brought about the given definitions:

Definition 1: Adaptation is the evolutionary procedure whereby an organism becomes better capable to live in its habitat or habitats.

Definition 2: Adaptedness is the position of being adapted: the degree to which an organism is capable to live and reproduce in a certain set of habitats.

Definition 3: An adaptive feature is a feature of the growth pattern of the organism which lets or enhances the probability of that organism surviving and reproducing.

Adaptation might cause either the loss of an ancestral feature or the profit of a new feature. An illustration which shows both kinds of change is the bacterial adaptation to antibiotic selection, having genetic changes causing antibiotic resistance by either transforming the target of the drug, or raising the activity of transporters which pump the drug out of the cell. A controversial however interesting idea is that a few adaptations might raise the capability of organisms to produce genetic diversity and adapt by natural selection.

Adaptation takes place via the gradual modification of existing structures. As a result, structures having identical internal organization might encompass different functions in related organisms. This is the outcome of a single ancestral structure being adapted to function in different manners. The bones in bat wings, for illustration, are very identical to those in mice feet and primate hands, due to the descent of all such structures from a common mammalian ancestor. Though, as all living organisms are associated to certain extent, even organs which appear to encompass little or no structural similarity, like arthropod, squid and vertebrate eyes, or the limbs and wings of arthropods and vertebrates, can based on a common set of homologous genes which control their assembly and function; this is termed as deep homology. 

Throughout the evolution, a few structures might lose their original function and become vestigial structures. These structures might encompass little or no function in a current species, yet contain a clear function in the ancestral species, or other closely associated species. Illustrations comprise pseudogenes, the non-functional remains of eyes in blind cave-dwelling fish wings in flightless birds, and the presence of hip bones in the snakes and whales.


If a species diverges into two or more descendant species, the procedure is termed as Speciation. In trying to define what a species is, we discover multiple ways of doing so. Choice of definition is based on the particularities of the species concerned. Illustration is that certain species concepts apply more willingly toward sexually reproducing organisms whereas others lend themselves better toward the asexual organisms. A variety of species theories, these different theories can be positioned into one of the philosophical approaches: interbreeding, ecological and phylogenetic.

Barriers to reproduction among the two diverging sexual populations are needed for populations to become new species. Gene flow might slow this procedure by spreading the new genetic variants as well to the other populations. Based on how far two species have diverged as their most recent common ancestor, it might still be possible for them to produce the offspring, as by donkeys and horses mating to produce mules. These hybrids are usually infertile. In this case, closely associated species might regularly interbreed, however hybrids will be chosen against and the species will remain distinct. Though, viable hybrids are rarely formed and such new species can either have properties intermediate among their parent species, or have a totally new phenotype. The significance of hybridization in producing new species of animals is uncertain; however cases have been seen in many kinds of animals, having the gray tree frog being a specifically well-studied illustration.

Mechanisms for speciation:

There are basically four mechanisms for speciation.

1) Allopatric speciation: It is the most common in animals that takes place in populations initially isolated geographically, like by habitat fragmentation or migration.

2) Peripatric speciation: The second method of speciation is the peripatric speciation which takes place if small populations of organisms become isolated in the new environment. This is dissimilar from allopatric speciation in that the isolated populations are numerically much smaller than the parental population.

3) Parapatric speciation: The third method of speciation is parapatric speciation. This is identical to peripatric speciation in that a small population enters a new habitat, however distinct in that there is no physical separation among these two populations.  Rather, speciation outcomes from the evolution of method which decrease gene flow among the two populations. This takes place when there has been a drastic transform in the environment in the parental habitat of species.

4) Sympatric speciation: At last, sympatric speciation is where species diverge with no geographic isolation or changes in the habitat. This is uncommon since even a small quantity of gene flow might eliminate genetic differences among parts of a population. Usually, sympatric speciation in animals needs the evolution of both genetic differences and non-random mating, to let reproductive isolation to evolve. 


The disappearance of a whole species is termed as Extinction. It is not an unusual event; though species regularly come out via speciation and disappear via extinction. Most of the animal and plant species which have lived on Earth millions of years ago are now extinct, and this appears to be the final fortune of all species. These extinctions have been incessant and have happened via the course of our history in the world; however the rate of extinction spikes in occasional mass extinction events. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, throughout which the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct, is the most recognized, however the former around 96% of species driven to extinction through the Permian-Triassic extinction event was even more rigorous. The Holocene extinction event is an ongoing mass extinction related by humanity's expansion across the earth over the past few thousand years.

Present-day extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times bigger than the background rate and up to 30% of species might be extinct by the mid 21st century. Human activities are now the main cause of the ongoing extinction event; global warming might further go faster it in the future.

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