Essential idea: There is overwhelming evidence for the evolution of life on Earth.
Above is an image of fossilised primitive vascular plant called a horsetail. Fossils are just one example of evidence for evolution along with homologous structures, the universality of DNA, and examples such as antibiotic resistance.
Understandings, Applications and Skills
|Evolution occurs when heritable characteristics of a species change.
|The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
|Selective breeding of domesticated animals shows that artificial selection can cause evolution.
|Evolution of homologous structures by adaptive radiation explains similarities in structure when there are differences in function.
|Populations of a species can gradually diverge into separate species by evolution.
|Continuous variation across the geographical range of related populations matches the concept of gradual divergence.
|Development of melanistic insects in polluted areas.
|Comparison of the pentadactyl limb of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles with different methods of locomotion.
[Text in square brackets indicates guidance notes]
Presentation and notes
The presentation is designed to help your understanding. The notes outline is intended to be used as a framework for the development of student notes to aid revision.
Use the Cornell style template to collate your own notes for Topic 5.1 Evidence for evolution.
Nature of science
Looking for patterns, trends and discrepancies—there are common features in the bone structure of vertebrate limbs despite their varied use. (3.1) [See the presentation for details, covered by 5.1.A2]
Theory of knowledge
Evolutionary history is an especially challenging area of science because experiments cannot be performed to establish past events or their causes. There are nonetheless scientific methods of establishing beyond reasonable doubt what happened in some cases. How do these methods compare to those used by historians to reconstruct the past?