One of the most
unique features of wildlife is its immense diversity, better known
as biodiversity. The biodiversity that exists today, comes from
billions of years of evolution. However, it is not the end result
of evolution because evolution is occurring even today. Species
are constantly undergoing change, changes that can be overlooked
in the human time-scale.
the process of change through the genetic makeup of a population.
It is important to realize the role of the population in evolution.
Evolution occurs only when a population changes and not just when
certain individuals change.
The theory of
evolution did not come about until the late 1700s. Jean Baptiste
Lamarck, a French scientist, was among the first to put forth the
idea of biological evolution. He was able to observe and deduce
that changes to an organism occurred due to the need to adapt to
a change in the environment. This idea was very important, for it
required a great leap in rational thinking. If our environment were
static, then evolution due to adaptations would not occur. Lamarck
felt that acquired characteristics in a parent animal were somehow
inherited by the offspring. In the face of contradictory evidence,
Lamarck was not able to support this theory well enough to explain
the theory of evolution. This is where Charles Darwin developed
his theory of natural selection. .