: Darwin, C. 1858. The Origin of Species
. Chs 2-4
(through sexual selection).
General Outline for Origin of Species
- Develop an Historical perspective
- Why did he use so many examples?
- What did he have to overcome?
- Discuss the structure of Darwin's argument. Ask for examples
in the text for the following observations and deductions.
- Observation #1: Organisms over-reproduce, leaving more offspring
than needed to replace themselves.
- Observation #2: There are limited resources; and therefore not
all individuals survive and reproduce.
- Deduction #1: Therefore there is a struggle for existence
- Observation #3: Traits exhibited by organisms in a population are
- Observation #4: Traits are inherited.
- Deduction #2 Natural Selection, or the survival of the fittest,
results in survival and reproduction by those organisms
best adapted to the environment.
- Discuss Darwin's foresight and allusions to future studies in evolution
(i.e. group selection etc.)
More Discussion Questions
- Describe a bizarre organism that you know of. Can you imagine how
or why this organism may have evolved?
- Think of an organism with high rate of natural increase. Are these
organisms always the most successful?
- What does “success” mean in the context of evolution?
- This coming week take some time to look at organisms around you and
notice variation between individuals and closely related species. Think about
which aspects of this variation are genetic and heritable.