5.1  Evidence for Evolution

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Essential Idea:

There is overwhelming evidence

for the evolution of life on earth


  • Evolution occurs when heritable characteristics of a species change
  • The fossil record provides evidence for evolution
  • Selective breeding of domesticated animals shows that artificial selection can cause evolution
  • Evolution of homologous structures by adaptive radiation explains similarities in structure when there are differences in function
  • Populations of a species can gradually diverge into separate species by evolution
  • Continuous variation across the geographical range of related populations matches the concept of gradual divergence


  • Development of melanistic insects in polluted areas
  • Comparison of the pentadactyl limb of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles with different methods of locomotion