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Darwin on Natural Selection

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Thesis
In Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” the reader is introduced to evolution by way of Natural Selection, Artificial Selection, and Sexual Selection. The process of evolution is seen in species that undergo changes over long periods of time by adapting characteristics which will better suit them to their environments. By utilizing a combination of both hypothetical imagery and scientific observation, Darwin has developed a persuasive argument intended to shed light on the origins of life.
Natural Selection
Natural selection is understood as the evolutionary process by which organisms capable of successfully adapting to their environment have a greater chance of survival. The survival of a species is dependent on whether or not the organism has been able to reproduce. The equation is quite simple; the longer an organism stays alive, the greater its chance for reproduction, passing along the same advantageous traits. Evolution tends to favor the species that are most capable of adapting to their environments, leaving the stragglers for extinction.
Adaptations chosen by Natural Selection can be seen in a variety of forms. The ability for both predator and prey to camouflage in their habitat is a prime example of characteristics chosen by Natural Selection. A gazelle who has adapted longer legs will run faster, making an easy escape from his predators. With a better chance for survival, this gazelle is more likely to reproduce offspring whom will share the adapted trait.
Artificial Selection
Natural Selection is nature’s way of selecting those species best suited to their environment; however, human consciousness carries the capacity to change the direction of this process. We refer to human intervention in this manner as Artificial Selection.
Artificial Selection is the process in which humans identify desirable traits within a species and breed to develop a new population. By isolating characteristics, breeders are able to produce entire populations containing traits which are aesthetically pleasing, or otherwise beneficial.
Examples of Artificial Selection can be seen everywhere! If you own a pure-bred dog, you can be certain that it was the product of artificial selection over successive generations.
Sexual Selection
There is no shortage of examples when dealing with artificial selection, however, nature has a similar method for executing this same task. Sexual Selection is the process by which nature selects the evolutionary direction of a species. The environment plays a large role in the selection of mates; variables ranging from climate, to an abundance of predators will all play a role in which traits are sexually selected.
Consider a female bird searching for a mate. In an environment where predators are seldom, the female may choose a mate whose colors are vibrant, his song loud and distinct. On the other hand, in an environment where predators are plentiful and compete for food, our same female bird may desire a mate with more subtle characteristics to ensure her offspring have the best chance for survival.

Conclusion
Once considered to be the work of a supernatural “creator”, the origins of life, have been reexamined through the lens of science and logic. Charles Darwin has packaged a persuasive argument in the form of endless data and spectacularly detailed observations. Experiments, in conjunction with imaginative scenarios allow the reader an opportunity to understand the material in an assortment of ways. Published at a time when much of the civilized world was under control of the Catholic Church, “the origin of species” came under scrutiny for its alternate interpretation of speciation. Darwin had bravely ventured into the public forum with his research and laid the foundation for modern science.

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