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Evidence of Evolution Topics in Depth

The History of Evolutionary Thought

The History of Evolutionary Thought: A Brief RecapBefore we tackle evidence of evolution head-on, let's briefly review the history of evolutionary thought. Recall that early ideas about the natural...

Geology

The first important piece of evidence came from geology. We know now that the earth is old—4.6 billion years, to be exact—but this was not always common knowledge. Prior to the Enlightenment, m...

Fossils

For early evolutionists, fossils were an important source of evidence for evolution. Fossils show evidence of organisms that were once alive. Most people immediately think of tyrannosaurus rex when...

Biogeography

Biogeography…break down the word, and it's the geography of biology, or the study of geographical distributions of organisms. Basically, where stuff lives. Before people became hip to evolutionar...

Comparative Anatomy

Need more convincing? Comparative anatomy provides more important and compelling evidence for evolution. Ready for a field trip? We're off to the zoo. Well…we're going. You'll just have to preten...

Development

We already talked about how anatomical structures can be pretty similar between different animals, but these homologous structures are especially easy to identify at the early stages of embryonic d...

Molecular Biology

The early evolutionary thinkers didn't have cool molecular biology tools, like DNA sequencing, to help them sort out this big ole family tree of life. But thanks to a couple hundred years of techno...

Evolution in Action

In case you're not convinced yet that evolution really happens, we have one more piece of evidence in our back pocket. Evolution in action. That's right—for the real skeptics, we can actually wit...

Common Mistakes

Rudiments Versus VestigesRemember, rudiments are present only in a developing organism—they're evolutionary leftovers that appear briefly and then disappear. Vestiges, on the other hand, are evol...

Test Your Knowledge

1. List at least two ways in which fossils provide evidence that evolution has occurred.2. What is the difference between uniformitarianism and catastrophism? 3. What is a homologous structure?4. L...

Made From Trees

Offline ResourcesAudesirk, T. & Audesirk, G. (1999). Biology: Life on Earth (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Futuyma, D.J. (2005). Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates,...

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