TEACH EVOLUTION
LEARN SCIENCE
Why Evolution Education Matters
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Evolution Education Matters
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Evolution is one of the most
thoroughly studied and
supported concepts in science
Evolution is the foundation of biology
Evolution is the only scientific explanation for the
diversity of life
Evolution is critical for understanding and advancing
medicine
What is Science?
“Science is a particular way of knowing about the world
In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be
inferred from confirmable data--the results obtained through
observations and experiments that can be substantiated by
other scientists
Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to
scientific investigation
Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not
a part of science
-Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
The National Academy of Sciences (1998)
What is Evolution?
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Process by which the diversity of life on
earth developed over time from common
ancestors
Charles Darwin
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Over time, the genetic makeup of a population changes,
resulting in changes in the distribution of
characteristics in that population
These changes result in differences within species
(microevolution) as well as the emergence of new
species (microevolution)
Evolution is Science!
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Evolution is one of the most thoroughly studied concepts
in the biological sciences
Evolution is based on volumes of scientific evidence
obtained through experimentation and observation of
the natural world
Evolutionary principles have been rigorously tested using
the scientific method
Evolution is accepted by the scientific community as the
only scientific account for the diversity of species
Evolution is a Critical Topic in
Science Education
©American Museum of Natural History
“Nothing in biology
makes sense
except in the
light of evolution”
-Theodosius Dobzhansky
Preeminent geneticist,
Theodosius Dobzhansky
Evolution is the Foundation of Biology
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Evolution is a unifying concept in
the life sciences
It connects and provides a framework for
understanding the various disciplines in biology, from
botany to genetics to physiology and beyond
Evolution is the Foundation of Biology
Evolution accounts for the diversity of life…
Evolutionary mechanisms, including genetic mutation, migration
of species, genetic drift, and natural selection, give rise to
variation within species as well as to the rich array of distinct
species.
The Beak of the Finch:
Natural Selection In Action
In the Galapagos Islands, finches evolved a variety of beak types adapted for
cracking open different kinds of seeds.
Changes in weather patterns have been shown to change the kinds of seeds
available—for example during drought, tough seeds that are difficult to crack
are more abundant than soft seeds.
Finches with large beaks adapted for eating these hard seeds are more likely
to survive and reproduce than other finches.
These finches become more abundant compared to those with
small beaks.
Evolution is the Foundation of Biology
Evolution accounts for the diversity of life…
Evolutionary mechanisms, including genetic mutation, migration
of species, genetic drift, and natural selection, give rise to
variation within species as well as to the rich array of distinct
species.
Systematic change in organisms over time…
The fossil record shows the emergence and disappearance of
species over time as well as “intermediary” or “transitional” forms
between species.
Intermediary Forms are
Evidence for Evolution
Archaeopteryx- Dinosaur and bird
features
Natural History Museum
of Los Angeles County
Tiktaalik-Features of both fish
and land-dwelling animals
Model by Tyler Kiellor
Photo by Kalliopi Monoyios
Australopithecus-Great ape and
modern human features
Paleonanthropologist
Donald Johanson and
skeleton of the
Australopithecus
Afarensis fossil,
“Lucy,” he discovered
in 1974
Evolution is the Foundation of Biology
Evolution accounts for the diversity of life…
Evolutionary mechanisms, including genetic mutation, migration
of species, genetic drift, and natural selection, give rise to
variation within species as well as to the rich array of distinct
species.
Systematic change in organisms over time…
The fossil record shows the emergence and disappearance of
species over time as well as “intermediary” or “transitional” forms.
And the similarities among living things
The process of evolution has produced an astounding diversity of
species! Yet organisms from yeast to worms to humans have
striking similarities as a result of having descended from common
ancestors.
Similarities Among Species Indicate
Common Descent
The Building Blocks of Life
All life is made of essentially the same basic materials. All species
are remarkably alike at the cellular, molecular, and genetic levels,
and all use DNA as the basic mechanism of heredity.
Similarities Among Species Indicate
Common Descent
The Building Blocks of Life
All life is made of essentially the same basic materials. All species
are remarkably alike at the cellular, molecular, and genetic levels,
and all use DNA as the basic mechanism of heredity.
Biological development
The developmental stages through which a diverse array of
organisms pass and the genes that control these stages are
similar.
Similarities Among Species Indicate
Common Descent
The Building Blocks of Life
All life is made of essentially the same basic materials. All species
are remarkably alike at the cellular, molecular, and genetic levels,
and all use DNA as the basic mechanism of heredity.
Biological development
The developmental stages through which a diverse array of
organisms pass and the genes that control these stages are
similar.
Structural Anatomy
Common ancestry has resulted in remarkable similarities or
homologies in the skeletal structures of animals as different as
frogs, birds, and humans.
Structural Homologies
©UC Museum of Paleontology's Understanding Evolution
Evolution is Still Happening!
Insects evolve resistance to pesticides
New strains of influenza emerge
©Phil Sloderbeck
European Corn Borer
Disease-causing microbes develop
resistance to antibiotics
Living things, including plants, birds,
insects, and mammals adapt to climate
change
Understanding Evolution,
Advancing Medicine
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Evolutionary biology has played an important role
in explaining the origin and transmission of HIV,
the variation in virus types, and the development
of appropriate treatments.
Understanding Evolution,
Advancing Medicine
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Evolutionary biology has played an important role
in explaining the origin and transmission of HIV,
the variation in virus types, and the development
of appropriate treatments.
Avian Influenza
Developing computer models of the evolution of avian flu and other
viruses may allow scientists to predict how quickly they may spread,
aiding the development of preparedness plans.
Understanding Evolution,
Advancing Medicine
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Evolutionary biology has played an important role
in explaining the origin and transmission of HIV,
the variation in virus types, and the development
of appropriate treatments.
Avian Influenza
Developing computer models of the evolution of avian flu and other
viruses may allow scientists to predict how quickly they may spread,
aiding the development of preparedness plans.
Genetic Markers of Disease
Researchers are using the principles of evolution to examine genetic
mutations that may account for increased risk of acquiring certain
diseases. These has led to the discovery of genetic markers for
Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease.
Evolution is Not Controversial
Among Scientists
There are No Scientific “Alternatives” to
Evolution
Creationism and other non-scientific beliefs:
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Do not rely on natural explanations of phenomena
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Are not based on observation or experimentation
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Do not generate testable predictions
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Are not accepted by the scientific community as
explanations for the diversity of life
Support Evolution Education
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Support the inclusion of evolution in science curricula
and education standards
Oppose teaching non-scientific alternatives to evolution,
including intelligent design and other forms of
creationism
Oppose “teach the controversy,”
“critical analysis,” and other proposals
that weaken evolution education
Support Evolution Education
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Write to your local newspapers
Communicate with your policy
makers
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Serve as a resource for science teachers
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Testify at school board meetings
For More Information
Please Visit:
www.evolution.FASEB.org
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