Far from a quaint notion developed by a Victorian gentleman some 160 years ago, evolution is an idea that ties together all the information that biologists and naturalists have gathered throughout history. It makes sense and orders our observations about all plants and animals. It ties our emerging knowledge about genetics/DNA to our understanding of our biological past and weaves a history of common ancestry for all living things. It explains the range and breath of the 4 billion year old fossil record, both for animals and plants that came before us and for our own heritage. Perhaps most important, however, is that evolution affects our daily lives! Evolution matters today in health care, for instance, as it informs our fight against antibiotic drug resistance, or in agriculture and pesticide resistance, or in the radically changing composition of life on this planet. We are witnessing the likely extinction of 50% or more of the species on Earth: understanding evolution gives us both tools to deal with this crisis and a sense of what the world will look like in its aftermath. In this course, we will make a distinction, as Darwin did, between the simple fact of evolution and the theories that have been proposed to explain the causes of evolutionary change. You will learn why evolution has changed our view of the natural world and revolutionized our view of our own meaning and essence.
This course is applicable toward the following certificate(s):
*Basic Biology for the Classroom
Visit our Certificates page for more information.
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