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A general explanation of natural phenomena that developed through extensive and reproducible observations


A tentative answer or explanation of observations; educated guess

2 main ideas of evolution:

1. Descent with modification
2. Change in genetic composition of a population from generation to generation

2 principles by Lamarck

1. Use and disuse - parts of the body that are used extensively become larger and stronger, unused parts deteoriate
2. Inheritance of acquired characteristics - an organism can pass modifications to its offspring
-This idea was tested and turned out to be wrong.


•wrote The Origin of the Species
-Explains 3 observations about nature:
1. Unity of life
2. Diversity of life
3. Match b/t organisms & their environments

Darwin's Observations

•Individuals in a population vary in their heritable characteristics.
•Organisms produce more offspring than the environment can support.

Darwin's Inferences

•Individuals well suited to their environment tend to leave more offspring than other individuals.
•Over time, favorable traits accumulate in the population.


Inherited characteristics of organisms that enhance survival and reproduction in specific environments

Natural Selection

•Individuals with certain inherited traits tend to survive and reproduce at higher rates than other individuals due to those inherited traits
•More equipped to survive in that particular environment based on the advantages associated with inherited traits
•Future generations inherit those traits for continued survival in that environment

Genetic variation

differences among individuals in the composition of their genes or other DNA segments


change in the nucleotide sequence of an organism's DNA


the ordered division and naming of organisms


•The two-part scientific name of a species
-1st part of the name is the genus.
-2nd part, called the specific epithet, is unique for each species within the genus
-1st letter of the genus is capitalized, & the entire species name is italicized
-Both parts together name the species (not the specific epithet alone).

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