Natural Selection

Natural selection is a function of evolution. It involves biological traits becoming more or less prominent depending on the needs and environment of a specific species.

2,113 Questions
Natural Selection

What are the main principles of natural selection?

The elements of Natural Selection:

1. All populations have genetic variation.

2. The environment presents challenges to successful reproduction. (fitness / survival).

3. Individuals that are better able to cope with the challenges presented by their environment tend to leave more offspring than those individuals less suited to the environment (Inheritable characteristics).

4. Individuals tend to produce more offspring than the environment can support. (over-population / competition).

From those observations, two inferences can be made:

  1. Individuals with inherited characteristics that increase their probability of survival and reproduction will have more offspring.
  2. Favourable traits accumulate in the population as individuals have an unequal ability to reproduce.
Natural Selection

How are evolution and natural selection different?

By definition.

Evolution is the change in allele frequency over time in a population of organisms. Since allele frequencies change ever so slightly with every reproduction, this means that even without mechanisms to favour certain alleles over others, populations evolve over time - although at rates far slower than anything observed in nature.

Natural selection is the non-random differential reproductive success of randomly varying replicators (individual genetic sequences). Basically, genetic sequences that are "better" at getting themselves copied (ie. having the organism they "inhabit" produce offspring that carries copies of them), will have greater numbers in the population gene pool than "rival" genes.

Note that, even though evolution and natural selection are different concepts, it is practically impossible for evolution to occur without natural selection. Every organism that has ever existed lived in an environment that it shared with "rival" replicators that were after the same foodstuffs as itself, foodstuffs that in turn are always in limited supply. This means that every organism has had to "compete" with "rivals" over the available foodstuffs in order to be better able to replicate.

Natural Selection

What is natural selection as a mechanism for evolutionary change?

"Natural Selection" is the ability of a species to survive and, subsequently, to have offspring. This ability to survive depends greatly on the environment they are in and its ability to adapt to rapid changes in this environment. For example, the availability of food, the existence of predators, the temperature, etc.

"Natural Selection" is often wrongly described as "the survival of the strongest". Though strength of a species can be a factor regarding survival and breeding particularly when strong predators are around, it is not the only factor which determines survival. For example, a lion is clearly stronger than a mouse yet when temperatures drop ('the environment') a mouse is more likely to survive given its smaller exposure to the cold, its need for smaller quantities of food and its ability to dig a warm hole in the ground to stay in.

Natural Selection

What is natural selection?

Natural Selection is the process when organisms better adapted

to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.

Natural Selection

What did darwin mean by natural selection?

It's a process where biological traits become more or less prevalent because animals are adapting to the environment in order to survive

Natural Selection

What is basis for evolution by natural selection?

The basis for all science, be it evolution or the study of how squeaky noises annoy people, is evidence. Darwin's primary evidence for evolution by natural selection was morphological homology; physical similarities between species. Modern evidence for evolution by natural selection is vast and includes a rich fossil record, well understood geologic evidence, radioisotopic evidence, as well as a host of genetic evidence from protein homologies to complex molecular systematics. All evidence for evolution converges on the singular observation that all organisms can be organized in a nested hierarchy much like a family tree; a Tree of Life.

Natural Selection

What is a sentence for the word natural selection?

Natural Selection

How do humans influence natural selection?

They can do it by selecting traits in a species and breeding more with the same traits. These are often called GMOs. These GMOs have been around for a very long time. Look at all the breeds of dogs. The corn that we eat doesn't look like the original corn at all. GMOs are often given a bad name by the Organic Farming lobby.

Natural Selection

How does artificial selection differ from natural selection?

Artificial and natural selection are two matters which are very different however can be easily confused.

Natural selection describes the process of evolution. Natural selection occurs when there are two animals of the same species who have slightly different features. For example, thousands of year ago, giraffe's had short necks. However one happened out of chance to be born with a long neck. The giraffe could then reach the leaves and eat what the short-necks could not. It was easier for this giraffe to survive and in times of famine where the other giraffe died of starvation, the long-neck did not. He was best adapted to his environment, and so he survived longer, and could breed. His children carried his long neck gene and so survived more efficiently than short necks. As a result the long-neck giraffe thrived and the population grew, while the short necks died out. Soon, all giraffes had long necks due to their one common ancestor.


-Mutated baby with long neck born

-Child better adapted


-Bred and passed on genes

-These survived and bred

-Population of long necks grew

-Short necks died out due to starvation

Due to natural selection, which is the process of these adaptions changing, all giraffe's now have long necks.

Artificial selection differs as humans intentional choose mutated offspring and breed them, to create certain characteristics. There is no difference between the processes however evidently survival is not key as the humans look after the animals. The only difference is the key term 'artificial' meaning that there is human interference.

Hope this helps


Natural Selection

How does natural selection lead to evolution?

Many small changes can create a whole new species

Natural Selection

What causes natural selection to occur?

The presence of predators

Limited food-APEX

Natural Selection

When will natural selection occur?

Natural selection occurs when four conditions are met:

1. There is variation among individuals.

2. That variation is at least partially heritable.

3. That variation is linked to differential reproductive success.

4. More individuals are born than can survive and reproduce.

Natural Selection

How do you use natural selection and evolution in a sentence?

didn't you just do that? or did you mean something else? ...

Or........... Over time, the change in a species is called evolution. and. Natural selection helps certain animals in a species survive.

Natural Selection

How does natural selection relate to the survival of the fittest?

Due to environmental changes the organisms need to adapt according to the changing environment, and thus it leads to survival of fittest which is nothing but the natural selection.

Natural Selection

How are natural selection and selective breeding similar?

  1. In both processes the favourable characteristics are passes on to the next generation.
  2. Both processes eventually form a new species.
Natural Selection

Natural selection is also known as what?

Survival of the fittest

Natural Selection

How does natural selection work?

Natural selection is the process whereby a species changes slowly because genetic variations are "selected" by merit of the environment killing off members of the species which do not have them.

For instance take horses. In any group of horses there will be countless variations, most of which don't impact survival or reproduction, but some of those variations might make the horse faster, slower, have stronger/weaker muscles, better or worse endurance etc etc etc, so if say a fast predator migrates into those hoses' environment it will pick off the slower, less strong ones with less endurance etc, and the genes responsible for those traits will become more dominant in the gene pool because those members of the species which have them will survive longer and reproduce more over many generations.

Natural selection might favor sharp teeth, claws, skin which retains moisture better, a stronger immune system or countless other things.

Complex or new mechanisms occur via natural selection as well, usually through a series of intermediaries. Countless mechanisms said to be "unevolvable" because of their complexity have been broken down through a series of useful slight improvements, including such notable examples as the bacteria flagellum and the eye.

Natural Selection

Is Darwinism real or not?

  • Do not confuse Darwinism and evolution. Darwinism is the name loosely given to a theory, properly called Natural Selection, which attempts to explain the mechanics of evolution, which is not a theory but a set of well-observed scientific facts.
  • Of course Darwinism, the theory that species of organisms develop through "natural selection" is real. The question should be "Is Darwinism correct?" And all the evidence shows that it is. Natural selection is happening right now. There is no question about it: organisms evolve through natural selection.
  • The proposals in Darwin's "Origin of Species" have been examined at length by science and found to be totally supportable, and repeatedly proven by observation. Fossil records confirm species evolution in the past, microbial evolution is observed constantly in hospitals.
  • Don't be misled by that word "theory." A theory is a tool used to explain the nature of facts. The fact in this case is evolution. Its existence is obvious to anyone who has ever studied the real world. Darwinism is a theory that seeks to explain the mechanics of evolution, just as Newton's Theory of Gravitation seeks to explain the mechanics of gravity.


  • Darwinism is a theory, not a fact. It is completely unproven and the social consequences of accepting such a theory need to be looked at. Not to mention that even if evolution is true, that doesn't mean that Darwinism is.


Subtitled: Hey, he started it!

  • Claiming that something is "theory, not fact", does nothing to address the issue.
  • Claiming that a theory is "unproven" shows either a complete misapprehension of how science works, or demonstrates denial of the comprehensiveness of the evidence supporting the theory.
  • Arguing "social consequences" is a blatant and undisguised appeal to consequences. Scientific theories don't become less true (or truer) just because they have less favourable (or more) consequences. In the end, only one question matters: does it match the available data, ie. is it accurate?
  • Arguing that natural selection/Darwinism could still be false again does nothing to address the point that it currently does fit all the available data.

The claims of Darwinism/Evolution are that life evolves and does so by common ancestry and the driving force of that evolution is Natural Selection. It is supported by every scientist in the world (or, if it isn't, it should be, given the evidence). But never mind who supports it - it is so simple, very easy to understand. And, perhaps more importantly, there is evidence and confirmation from kaleidoscopically varied branches of science (genetics, ethology, paleontology.) There is no refutation yet and brilliant explanation. Indeed, the claims of Darwinism/Evolution are true (we conclude this because of evidence). In the terms of the question, Darwinism is real.

Most experts in the field question whether the term "Darwinism" is even appropriate. As an analogy, one might question how appropriate it is to describe an explanatory model for gravity as "Newtonism". Not just because Newton was succeeded by Einstein, but also because it's just silly.

"Darwinism", when used, is most likely to refer to Darwin's original hypotheses regarding natural selection. In effect, the question posed becomes: "Is natural selection real or not?" The answer must be, unequivocally, yes. Natural selection is observed and confirmed through so many independent lines of evidence that denying it takes place is the epitome of unreasonably.

The best way to look at evolution is to just look at the evolution of the air plane. The Wright Brothers flew the first engined powered aircraft in 1903. You may know people who were alive then. Now where has this evolved to? The "walk on the moon". How about computers? The very smallest today have evolved from rather large ones only a few years ago. These small ones have taken us to Mars. The old ones could not have done so. These are all examples of evolution and have been happening right under your nose, every day.

Remember that evolution means change over time.This is called a theory but scientists mean that these are provable facts.

Many people say that evolution is only a "theory" but this following statement is also a theory: E=MC2 This should seem familiar to all. Remember Einstein? This is his "theory". I know no one who disputes this theory.

Natural Selection

Why are vestigial structures not removed by natural selection?

Vestigial structures do not harm the organism. Nature selects against only harmful traits.

Natural Selection

What is the definition of theistic Darwinism?

Well, theism is the belief in a personal god, and darwinism is darwinian evolution via natural selection, so I imagine theistic Darwinism would be accepting evolution and believing in a personal god at the same time. Christians who accept theistic Darwinism assume that the creation story found in Genesis came about due to macro evolution (i.e. the evolution of one species from another).

Natural Selection

Would evolution stop if there were no natural selection?

No, but adaptive change would be difficult. Remember, evolution is the change in allele frequency over time in a population of organisms. Mutation, genetic drift, genetic flow and other processes would continue without natural selection.

Natural Selection

When will natural selection favor altruism?

Altruism is basically when a member sacrifices itself for the well being of the population. If the population that was protected has favorable traits, they will be naturally selected for and over generations become dominant in the population. If they weren't protected, the population could die out.

Natural Selection

What are tenants of Darwin's theory of natural selection?

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection observed;

1. There is genetic variability in all species

2. The variability is inherited (passed from parent to offspring)

3. There are more offspring born than will survive to reproduce

Natural Selection

Those individuals that are best adapted to the environment are more likely to survive and pass favourable characteristics (genes) to offspring.

Natural Selection

What is the only thing that natural selection can act on?

The phenotype or genome of the individual organism. Remember, individuals are selected, populations evolve.

Natural Selection

When does competition occur in the theory of natural selection?

Competition is a constant aspect of natural selection; it occurs all the time, even while I am typing.


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