Origin of natural selection
Words nearby natural selection
MORE ABOUT NATURAL SELECTION
What is natural selection?
Natural selection is a natural process in which individuals who are better suited to their environment are much more likely to survive and reproduce. As a result, traits or characteristics that help with survival are passed on and become dominant.
Natural selection is best explained with an example situation. Let’s say we have an island full of birds and crickets. The crickets come in yellow, brown, and green. The birds have a harder time seeing the green crickets in the grass and leaves. Because of this, fewer green crickets are eaten by birds, and so they are more likely to live longer to reproduce. The green color has proven to be the best color for survival, and so it will eventually become dominant through natural selection.
In order for natural selection to happen, there must be variety in an environment. In our example, if we only started with yellow crickets and repeatedly only had yellow crickets every generation, we wouldn’t see natural selection. Either all of the crickets would eventually be eaten or they wouldn’t. The crickets themselves would never change.
Natural selection also requires reproduction. If we started with only male green crickets in our example, we wouldn’t see natural selection. Even if all the green crickets lived to old age, they couldn’t reproduce without female green crickets. Without reproduction, the crickets die out.
Finally, natural selection requires traits or characteristics to be inheritable, meaning parents can pass them on to offspring through genetics. In our scenario, if the crickets are unable to pass on their green color, we won’t see natural selection. If cricket color is determined at random rather than through genetics, we will see random increases and decreases of the different colored crickets. Green crickets may live longer, but the color won’t become dominant because green crickets will always have randomly colored offspring.
Why is natural selection important?
The first records of the phrase natural selection come from around 1855. The phrase combines the word natural, which describes something that happens or exists in nature, and selection, a biological term that has to do with a trait of a select group of individuals becoming dominant.
The idea of natural selection was formulated by naturalist Charles Darwin in the 1800s. Darwin used natural selection to help support and explain his groundbreaking theory of evolution. Natural selection, given enough time, will cause advantageous traits to live on in a species. Darwin argued that when stretched over thousands or millions of years, natural selection will eventually lead to a species changing so dramatically that it evolves into an entirely new one. Aquatic animals developed legs and organs that allowed them to survive and thrive on dry land, for example.
The phrase survival of the fittest is no longer used as a synonym for natural selection. Survival of the fittest inaccurately assumes that only beneficial traits can be passed on. In fact, harmful traits can be passed on too. The phrase can also be applied in a way that wrongly assumes that a person’s race makes them superior to another person. Race is no longer considered a scientifically accurate way to categorize human beings.
Did you know … ?
Perhaps the most commonly used explanation and proof of natural selection is the variety of species of finches found on the Galapagos islands. Often nicknamed Darwin’s finches, these multiple species of birds each have noticeably different beaks that allow each species to eat the seeds exclusive to the particular island the bird lives on. According to scientists, it is highly likely each of these species of birds evolved from a common ancestor through natural selection.
What are real-life examples of natural selection?
This video gives a more complex explanation of natural selection and shows a simulation natural selection happening:
In everyday speech, natural selection is often used as a metaphorical reference to the scientific concept. Many non-scientists simplify natural selection as meaning stronger or smarter individuals are more likely to survive.
if we survive 2020 that’s basically us beating natural selection
— MEDUSA (@ashadelic) September 1, 2020
if u dont eat the pizza crust you are weak and natural selection is coming for you
— no plz (@tbhplzdont) January 7, 2015
What other words are related to natural selection?
Which of the following is NOT a major aspect of natural selection?
C. human interference
D. inheritable traits
How to use natural selection in a sentence
Such proteins might seem unlikely to evolve because natural selection for the first shape and function could easily be detrimental to the second, and vice versa.Some Proteins Change Their Folds to Perform Different Jobs|Viviane Callier|February 3, 2021|Quanta Magazine
For this capacity to be a target of natural selection, however, the new information that dreaming discovers must provide at least some periodic survival benefit.In our dreams, a theater of the unconscious|Nick Romeo|January 22, 2021|Washington Post
In that sense, there is a kind of natural selection taking place for human information itself, like a bottleneck or founder effect in biological evolution.Who Said Nobody Read Isaac Newton? - Issue 95: Escape|Caleb Scharf|January 20, 2021|Nautilus
The virus is not static, and although the mutations are random, natural selection will lead to variants that are more capable of infecting and replicating in human beings.CDC foresees spread in U.S. of highly contagious coronavirus variant|Joel Achenbach, Ben Guarino|January 6, 2021|Washington Post
The famous 19th-century correspondence between Charles Darwin and Wallace, which prompted Darwin to quickly finalize his own writings on natural selection, is one example of such competition.How fossil preservation and public health are intertwined|By Colella & McLean/The Conversation|December 18, 2020|Popular-Science
Darwin was a British Scientist who developed the theory of evolution and natural selection.‘Gods of Suburbia’: Dina Goldstein’s Arresting Photo Series on Religion vs. Consumerism|Dina Goldstein|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
His observations of the many varieties of Finch birds in the Galapagos Island led him to solidify his theory of natural selection.‘Gods of Suburbia’: Dina Goldstein’s Arresting Photo Series on Religion vs. Consumerism|Dina Goldstein|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
This crucial point—the third and most crucial condition for natural selection—is absent from the paper.Junk Science: PMS Will Ruin Your Marriage|Kate Clancy|August 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I suppose the main argument goes like this: We are no longer subject to Darwinian natural selection.On Transhumanism and Why Technology Is Our Silicon Nervous System|Jason Silva|April 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
We have taken the reigns of natural selection to become the chief agents of the evolutionary process.On Transhumanism and Why Technology Is Our Silicon Nervous System|Jason Silva|April 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was decided to let the law of natural selection operate freely.
By a system of evolution and working of the law of natural selection, four families use the house at the same time.
Natural selection plus geographical and ecological isolation has undoubtedly been operative in speciation and in subspeciation.Speciation in the Kangaroo Rat, Dipodomys ordii|Henry W. Setzer
Dr. Roth has conjectured that phratries were introduced "by a process of natural selection" to regulate the food supply.The Secret of the Totem|Andrew Lang
Natural selection acts by suppressing, or developing, structurally distributed colour.Colouration in Animals and Plants|Alfred Tylor
British Dictionary definitions for natural selection
Scientific definitions for natural selection
Cultural definitions for natural selection
A process fundamental to evolution as described by Charles Darwin. By natural selection, any characteristic of an individual that allows it to survive to produce more offspring will eventually appear in every individual of the species, simply because those members will have more offspring.