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Lecture Notes for ASTR 380 - LIFE IN UNIVERSE-ASTRBIO with Miller at Maryland (UMD)

Notes Information

Material Type:Class Note
Professor:Miller
Class:ASTR 380 - LIFE IN UNIVERSE-ASTRBIO
Subject:Astronomy
University:University of Maryland
Term:--
Keywords:
  • Complicated
  • Unfortunately
  • Incorporation
  • Combination
  • Differences
  • Many Proteins
  • Perspective
  • Assumptions
  • Opportunistic
  • Explanation
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Common misconceptions about evolution, and how it really works The fact of evolution is straightforward: forms of life change over time, via descent with modification. The basic principle of the theory of evolution is also easy to state: the characteristics of a population are most strongly influenced by the individuals who leave the most viable offspring. This seems so uncontroversial as to be almost tautological, but there is a lot of confusion about what evolution means. Admittedly, most of the confusion is promoted by people who feel that evolution threatens their worldview in some way, but there can be honest misunderstanding as well. Most of this class will therefore be a discussion of some common misconceptions, but first let's break evolution into a two-step process: . Variation. Some variation is needed to produce changes that can lead to better adap- tation. Mutation is an example: when a new organism is created, there are sometimes errors in transcription of DNA. Sex is another: both pa...

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