Charles Darwin’s Theories and Influences

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Charles Darwin is known as the father of evolution, yet he was heavily influenced by many people throughout his entire life. Jean Baptiste Lamarck, Charles Lyell, Thomas Malthus, Georges Cuvier, Erasmus Darwin, and Alfred Russel Wallace were all major influences on Darwin and his theories of evolution and Natural Selection. Before one can understand how Darwin’s theories were influenced, one must understand Darwin’s theories of evolution and Natural Selection. Darwin’s theories state that individuals are capable of producing their offspring at a faster rate than food supplies increase. The offspring have to compete for the limited resources, and individuals with the favorable traits are able to gain the necessary resources for survival. The environment determines if a trait is beneficial or not for example what is beneficial in the artic is not beneficial in the Sahara. If the individual is able to procreate, those favorable genes are passed on to the offspring. If said individual is able to produce multiple offspring, as compared to others, they then have greater reproductive success. Over long periods of time variations in a species occur in a population, so the later generations are distinct from ancestral ones. In this time a new species may appear. Geographic location and selective pressures also contribute to the formation of a new species. If there is a natural barrier, (mountains, oceans etc) species will begin to adapt to the different environments, thus causing basically a new species such as the Galapagos finches. An important thing to emphasize is that natural selection is the individual while evolution is the population. An individual cannot change genetically, but over time populations can. In the same way an individual with dyed red hair cannot pass that trait onto offspring unless they carry that recessive gene. One of Darwin’s influences was
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