Evolution is something that has kept all scientists surprised. It is the pattern of how all the species on the earth have grown and lived over billions of years. There are so many patterns and stages of evolution that keep this process going. This article is going to look at these patterns of evolution in detail. We will see how the evolution of life has happened over such a long period of time. So, let’s come with me on this interesting journey.
1. What is the Process of Evolution?
The process of evolution leads to changes in the genetic material of a population over a span of time. Through the process of evolution, organisms adapt to their changing environments. These changes can result in altered genes, novel traits, and the development of new species. Evolution happens through natural selection where the species, that naturally adapt to their environments, survive. This happens when the population of living organisms changes and adapts according to their surroundings. Evolution can also be understood as the number of genetic changes in a specie over a period of time. (See When is Cladistics more useful than Linnaean Taxonomy?)
2. What Type of Process is Evolution?
Evolution is an indirect process since it is based upon some chance events in the environment which can or cannot lead to mutations in the organisms. These changes take place gradually over several generations. Evolution happens when organisms adapt and change according to the demands of the environment. If they fail to adapt, they are not likely to survive. Survival happens when organisms adapt and develop characteristics best suited for their environment. These organisms can reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation.
3. What are the Patterns of Evolution?
Evolution takes place over a span of time and can follow several different patterns. Environmental conditions and the changes in the surroundings have a great effect on the process and patterns of evolution. Here, we are going to discuss some patterns of evolution.
- Catastrophism: This pattern of evolution states that the changes and evolution in the population of species on the earth are because of the natural disasters or catastrophes that have happened. They are known to have wiped out most living beings on earth. As a result of catastrophes, new species emerge and grow with novel genes and traits.
- Gradualism: Gradualism states that a single organism evolves gradually at a slow and steady pace. It adapts to its surroundings and accumulates the changes in its genes. Over a span of time, it gets transformed into new a specie.
- Punctuated equilibrium: It is one of the patterns of evolution that states organisms go through a period where they evolve and then a period where they don’t. The period where species do not change is known as equilibrium. This is then followed by a period of time of speciation where the development of new species occurs.
4. What is an Example of the Pattern of Evolution?
An example of the pattern of evolution is bats and insects. In both these species, flight has evolved. There are structures present in both of their bodies that they refer to as wings, which are used for flight. However, the evolution of wings in bats and insects has happened from extremely different original structures.
5. Which Part of Evolution is a Pattern?
The pattern in evolution means that the species, over time, adapt to their changing environment. They develop characteristics that help them better survive in their surrounding conditions. It is a pattern because all the surviving species have had to adapt and evolve in order to grow and live. Read What Contribution did Matthias Schleiden make to the Cell Theory?
6. What are the Types of Evolution?
There are 4 types of evolution which are explained below:
- Divergent evolution: When closely related species transform into new regions and habitats, they pave the way for divergent evolution. This evolution created the diversity of life on earth present today from the first living cells. It is responsible for the creation of humans and apes from common ancestors. For example, polar bears and brown bears.
- Convergent evolution: This evolution takes place when analogous traits start to get shared by species of different ancestry. This happens because of a shared environment. For example, the bodies of sharks and dolphins.
- Parallel evolution: Parallel evolution occurs when the two species evolve independently while maintaining the same level of similarity. Species that are unrelated and live in very different habitats go through parallel evolution. For example, elephants and extinct mammoths.
- Co-evolution: Co-evolution happens when two species who are in close relationship with each other, evolve in response to the changes in one another. For example, the relationship between predator and prey like deer and lion.
7. What are the Steps of Evolution?
Evolution happens through natural selection. Those organisms that adapt and change quickly to changing environments are naturally selected to survive and reproduce in the population. The better-adapted organisms have a higher and better chance of survival compared to the organisms that have not adapted to the changes. The patterns of evolution happen over several stages or steps. There are 5 steps of evolution.
- Variation: Variations are the differences in organisms of the same species. No two organisms are the same in a specie. They all differ in color, size, immunity, intelligence, and so on. These variations are common and are a result of some random mutations.
- Inheritance: Inheritance occurs as a result of reproduction. It is the passing on of different traits and mutations from an organism to its offspring. The traits are encoded in the DNA and are inherited by the offspring from their parents.
- Survival: Survival plays an important role in any population since an unlimited population cannot be supported by the environment. Mutations and changes in species can help them better adapt to their surroundings. This enhances their chances of survival.
- Time: The advantageous traits, that an organism develops, are passed down. They are passed on in greater numbers to a greater number of offspring. After several generations, they become a common trait in the population of that specie.
- Adaptation: Adaptation is when the passed-on traits become dominant in the population and it is better suited and prepared for the surroundings than it was before.
8. What is Evolution of Life?
Evolution of life is the change in traits and genes of a population over a span of time. Evolution leads to diversity. The patterns of evolution are the processes by which complex organisms have originated from simpler ones. It led to changes in genetic material over time which made the organisms better adapt to their surroundings. Check out Theory of Eternity of Life.
9. What are the Types of Natural Selection?
Natural selection is the process that leads to better-adapted organisms surviving and reproducing in an environment. The organism that is fit and ready to change has a higher chance of survival than the organism which is not fit. There are 3 types of natural selection.
- Stabilizing selection: This type of selection happens when there are two extremes of a trait present in a specie. So to obtain the balance, a middle or intermediate trait is selected and passed on for a better chance of survival.
- Directional selection: This type of selection happens when one extreme trait in a population has more advantages than the other extreme. So, this trait is more favored and selected than the others.
- Disruptive selection: This type of selection happens when the two extreme traits are favored and have more advantages than an intermediate trait. So, the two extreme traits are selected over the intermediate one.
10. How many Evolution Theories are there?
There are 4 theories of evolution:
- Lamarckism: Theory of Inheritance of Acquired characters.
- Darwinism: Theory of Natural Selection.
- Mutation: Theory of De Vries.
- Neo-Darwinism: Modern concept or Synthetic theory of evolution.
Evolution is not just the processes that take place. There are multiple other things like the different types and patterns of evolution that have a key role to play. Researchers have worked on the same, developed theories, and helped humanity to know the importance of our existence. Must see Why is DNA Replication Critical to the Survival of Organisms?