How Evolution works – a great animated cartoon

 

Evolution can be a tough concept to fully grasp. It’s chess, not checkers. There are a lot of moving pieces in the interactions of individuals, species and the environment over time.

There are genes, heredity, sperm competition, mating strategies, predators, microbes, viruses, and climate change. There’s chemistry, biology, physics, quantum effects, mutations, visible and invisible cosmic rays. There is a lot of random chance and a surprising amount of directed development. Evolution is the story of the universe, and it is a big one.

Fortunately, humans have invented animation and have fiendishly clever minds and art skills. The best simple explanation of evolution I have seen is a twelve minute animation from Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell titled How Evolution works.

  How Evolution works

It covers almost everything important with wit and style. It highlights the need for diversity at every level of life. It’s an explanation that wasn’t possible until the 21st century.

Highly recommended!

Evolution: It’s the law! – Part 1

It is a common joke that you have to obey gravity because IT’S THE LAW! This is true of evolution, as well.

The evidence for evolution is so massive and overwhelming that most people are now arguing about the relative importance of different evolutionary mechanisms. Is evolution governed by chance, mutation, reproductive strategies, or the hand of a Creator? Often, the answer depends on the scale of the evolution you are discussing.

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Our primate cousins

Properly speaking, the evolutionary branch that contains humans is known as the great apes, and contain orangutans, gorillas, humans, chimps and bonobos. The last four species are called primates.

By both fossil and genotype estimates, chimps and bonobos had a common ancestor 2.5 million years ago, humans, chimps and bonobos had a common ancestor 5.5 million years ago, and all four primates had a common ancestor seven million years ago.

ape-evolution-branch

Although each species has continued to evolve in the millions of years it has been separate, the path of its evolution is still constrained by the qualities of the common ancestors. So looking at our primate cousins tells us a great deal about the basic layout and behavior of humans.

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