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LO: To understand Charles Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’


Evolution: The way the same species in the same location gradually develops and makes changes over time (genetic factors).


Adaptation: The way something changes for the better to suit its environment. (environmental factors).


Watch the following videos:

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) introduced the theory of evolution. He was a famous English naturalist (an expert in studying nature), biologist (an expert in living things) and geologist (an expert in rocks and fossils).


He discovered that humans and apes shared ancestors which led to this famous image…


The thing about evolution is that it happens over the space of a long, long, long time so we don’t really notice it happening. One animal, plant or person doesn’t just change… there are small changes with each new generation. Evolution happens through inheritance – meaning that tiny changes only happen as traits pass to the next generation.


Animals and plants evolve to make adaptations to not only survive but to survive better. Darwin studied different finches living in different parts of the Galapagos Islands and realised, even though they were different, they all had the same ancestors!


Some had evolved to have larger beaks in certain areas, some with smaller beaks in other areas due to different food being available.

Small changes over time add up to big changes. Over time, the results of a few generations start to make noticeable differences.


Looking at the Galapagos finches

The ones with large beaks reproduced and had offspring. More of these offspring inherited large beaks and survived. In other parts of the Galapagos, smaller beaks ensured better survival than

larger ones. The adaptations meant that over a long period of time, the Galapagos finches evolved adaptive traits that caused differences between them. Each generation is slightly different from the last but different families make their own generational changes and this can lead to species going down different evolutional paths.


Research Charles Darwin in detail and express your findings in writing under the following headings:


  1. The Life of Charles Darwin
  2. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  3. The difference between evolution and adaptation.


Please write in (detailed) paragraphs and include diagrams.