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Theory of Evolution

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The Theory of Evolution by natural selection is one of the most successful scientific theories ever propounded. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace developed this theory independently. Both men were influenced by the economist, Malthus. Both saw clearly and logically that when resources are limited organisms best able to survive tend to survive while others die. This is a tautology. Both saw further that over generations this will lead to organisms changing and becoming better adapted to their environment. Both did fieldwork suggesting that organisms were changing over time and new species were forming.

Malthus's essay calculates from the birth rate that human population could double every 25 years, but in practice growth is kept in check by death, disease, wars and famine. (…) so that when there is more population than resources can maintain, favourable variations that allow the organism to better use the limited resources available tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones destroyed by being unable to get the means for existence, resulting in the formation of new species
(Wikipedia on Darwin)

The problem then was not only how and why do species change, but how and why do they change into new and well defined species, distinguished from each other in so many ways; why and how they become so exactly adapted to distinct modes of life; and why do all the intermediate grades die out (as geology shows they have died out) and leave only clearly defined and well marked species, genera, and higher groups of animals?
(Wallace)

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