Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Evolution Study Guide (page 2)

By
Updated on Sep 22, 2011

The Special Case of Human Beings

We humans are less influenced by our environment because we can use technology to protect ourselves. In this way, evolutionary changes in our population may be delayed. A good example of this phenomenon is seen by looking at common eyeglasses and contact lenses. Under the influence of natural selection, humans with bad eyesight would not survive very long and may not reproduce. Thus, only those with good eyesight would produce offspring. Over a relatively short time span, we would thus end up with most humans having good eyesight. That is not the case because we help those with poor eyesight survive by exercising our technological talents and producing eyeglasses and contact lenses. This shows our compassion, but it removes us from evolutionary pressures.

Unfortunately, our unique ability to control our environment to a very high degree and thus those factors that might limit our population growth leads to unrestrained growth, and our population has been increasing rapidly for centuries. It could be that human population growth is the greatest environmental threat as we crowd out other species, destroy habitats, use up resources, and pollute with our wastes. It is in the interest of all life on Earth that we use our highly evolved brains to find solutions to population growth and its ill effects without losing our compassion.

In Short

In general, the term evolution means change over time. In biology, the term evolution refers to the transformation of life from its simplest form to the great diversity we see today over billions of years. Humans have been manipulating other organisms for thousands of years. This is called artificial selection because we are specifically picking the desired traits.

In nature, the process of natural selection occurs. In this case, no one chooses the desired characteristics. Instead, an organism will have characteristics that are either well suited to their environment or they won't have such characteristics. Those with characteristics that fit well with their environment will survive long enough to reproduce and be able to produce resources for their offspring, thus ensuring continuation of their kind. It is in the interest of all life on Earth that we use our highly evolved brains to find solutions to population growth and its ill effects without losing our compassion.

Practice problems of this concept can be found at: Evolution Practice Questions

View Full Article
Add your own comment