• Question: According to evolution, the diversity of life is a result of chance occurrence. Doesn't that make evolution wildly improbable?

    Asked by ashleighlou to Betul, Bridget, Ceri-Wyn, Maria on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Bridget Waller

      Bridget Waller answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      Not at all! The principle of evolution is that not all individuals can survive and reproduce, so those that have an advantage are more likely to succeed and have babies. These characteristics stay on, and the unsuccessful ones die out. Its quite simple really! The ‘chance’ element is in the mutations that allow new strategies to develop, but the process is not about chance, but about ‘selection’. Does that answer your question? Do you agree?

    • Photo: Ceri-Wyn Thomas

      Ceri-Wyn Thomas answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      The only things that happen by chance are genetic mutations! The rest of evolution is not governed by chance at all! Mutations change the way our genes set out the blueprints for our development. This can sometimes cause our bodies to change- we might grow wings, change colour, become larger or even loose limbs! These changes will make us either well adapted or poorly adapted for our environment. If we are well adapted we will stand a better chance of surviving and passing on these beneficial mutations to our offspring. If we are poorly adapted we stand less chance of passing our altered genes to our offspring and those mutations will not make it into our gene pool. This is how natural selection works. Either an organism is well adapted for its environment or not. Natural selection relies on variability between organisms which creates competition for resources and competition for defending against predators. Also, changing environments also affect the course of a species’ evolution. Natural selection is governed b these factors, not random chance.