Examining Evolution By: Cohl and Eric

Part 1: Darwin's Voyage

Highlighted stops have illustrations to go along with Darwin's observations.

1. Departure from Plymouth, England (1831 December 27)

2. First landing was Madeira Island (4 January 1832)

3. H.M.S. Beagle arrived at the Cape Verde Islands (16 January 1832)

4. Next landing was at Feb 28, 1832 in Salvador, Brazil

5. The Beagle arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 April 1832

6. Arrive in Montevideo (July 26, 1832)

5. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina (Dec 24, 1832)

6. Falkland Islands (Mar 1, 1833)

7. Rio Negro, Argentina (Aug 1, 1833)

8. Chiloe Island, Chile (Jun 12,1834)

9. Galapagos Islands (Sept 15th, 1835)

10. Landed in Matavai Bay, Tahiti on Nov 15, 1835.

11. Arrive in Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Dec 21, 1835)

12. Anchored at Sydney Cove, Australia on Jan 12, 1836.

13. On February 5th, 1836 the HMS Beagle landed at Hobart Town, Tasmania.

14. Arrived in King George's Sound, Australia on March 6th, 1836.

15. On April 1st, 1836 the HMS Beagle arrived at the Cocos Islands.

16. Port Louis, Mauritius (April 29, 1836)

17. Arrive in Simon's Bay, South Africa on May 31, 1836

18. HMS Beagle arrived at St. Helena Island on July 8, 1836

19. Landed on Ascension Island (July 14, 1836)

20. HMS Beagle arrived at Bahia de los Santos, Brazil before taking the voyage back to England. (August 1, 1836)

21. Arrived at Porta Praya at the Cape Verde Archipelago for just five days. (August 31, 1836)

22. HMS Beagle arrived at the Azores and anchored at Terceira near the town of Angra on Sept. 20th, 1836.

23. HMS Beagle finally arrived home after a voyage of four years, nine months, five days. They arrived in Falmouth, England on October 2, 1836.

Darwin had sailed 40,000 miles around the world, explored over 2,000 miles inland over almost 5 years.

Salvador, Brazil - When exploring Salvador, Darwin was remarked because of the rain forest, and took a deep interest in this specific ecosystem, and the wildlife within it. This can be assumed because of how long he stayed in Salvador.
Argentina - When exploring Bahia Blanca, Darwin came across sets of bone from fossilized mammals at two separate locations. He was shocked when he found an outer shell of an extinct form of armadillo, while in the presence of another species of armadillo. The second set of bones he found belonged to an extinct giant ground sloth. This was especially strange because both of these animals belonged to the same primitive group of mammals classified as Order Edentata. The main question mark Darwin had through this discovery was 'Why would fossil remains and modern species found on the same continent resemble each other so closely?'
Falkland Islands - When Darwin explored the Falkland Islands he noticed that they were desolate, and there wasn't much there to explore other than a few animals and fossils. His most valuable discovery from this stop was most-definitely the fossils which were mainly brachiopods, but also some crinoids. At the time of their discovery, fossils like these were little known beyond Europe and were regarded as almost the oldest known life on Earth so this was a huge stepping stone for Darwin and his crew.
Galapagos Islands - When Darwin explored the many Galapagos Islands, he discovered that finches were common throughout the islands. He noticed however, that the finches had different lengths of beaks and eating habits, depending on their specific environments, or ecosystems on their islands. He didn't actually think much of this discovery at the time, and it took him leaving and taking his focus off of the finches, before he connected the dots and used them as large evidence behind his theory of natural selection.
Keeling Islands (Cocos Islands) - When exploring the Keeling Islands, Darwin put one of his theories to the test. He was studying coral reefs that were growing around islands to test his theory of atoll formation. His testing was successful, as he wrote about it in his journal, and later went on to publish his theory.

Waiting Several Years to Publish Findings Journal:

I think that Charles Darwin waited so long to publish his findings on evolution and natural selection because he had a sense of what the repercussions of his actions would be. The repercussions mentioned would be that once it caught wind, he would become the center of attention in the religious and scientific circles, and would be in the middle of a large debate, which is why Darwin originally wanted to have his book published after he passed away.

To expand on the main reason (in my opinion), I think Charles Darwin waited so long to publish his findings because his theory held many implications towards religion. This is because his theory stated that species evolved from one another, which was contrasting Genesis, as it stated that God created the world in six days; however, evolution states that the world and the creatures in it progressed over the course of millions of years.

He knew that to the average person, who was much less educated within the field of science, that they would see these ideas as ludicrous, outlandish, and would deny without a second thought. This may be why he had such hesitation, as he knew in his mind that he was correct, but if he was labeled as a crazy man, all of his hard work would be discredited because of ignorance.

Part 2: Darwin's Life and Influences


Charles Darwin, 73, of Shrewsbury, England, passed away on April 19th 1882 in Kent , England. Charles suffered a fatal heart attack, after a history of heart attacks throughout the years leading up to this.

Charles was born in Shrewsbury, England to Robert & Susannah Darwin on 12th February 1809. He went to school at Anglican Shrewsbury School. Later graduating from the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in the October of 1831. He married Emma Darwin on the 29th of January 1839 in Shrewsbury, England. He was a huge contributor to the field of science for 51 of years. He founded the theory of “Survival of the fittest” and served a huge contribution to the field of science. His work has taken on more and more wind throughout the years, and evolution is now taught in the educational system, as it covers his many theories and contributions to the evolutionary studies.

Charles is survived by his 10 children. (Anne, George, Francis, Henrietta, Horace, Leonard, William, Charles, Mary, and Elizabeth Darwin).

Memorial will be held at Down House, Kent, England. All donations and charity will be forwarded and appreciated by the Darwin family.

Comparison Chart has been handed in through Showbie.

Part 3: Galapagos Islands

Travel Brochure: Made with PowerPoint, so unable to present through Adobe Slate, file has been sent through Showbie.

Part 4: Glossary

Biological Evolution - Biological evolution is the process through which the characteristics of organisms change over successive generations, by means of genetic variation and natural selection.

Adaption - A change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

Variations - The occurrence of an organism in more than one distinct color or form.

Descent with modification - Descent with modification is passing traits from parent to offspring.

Genetic variation - Genetic variation refers to the differences in genes between individual members, or the frequency in which the various gene types are expressed.

Genetic Drift - Difference in the frequency of different genotypes in small groups, increasing the chance of a disappearance of a gene.

Natural Selection - The process where a species better adapted to their environment has a higher tendency to survive and produce offspring.

Speciation - The formation of new and distinct species during evolution.

Microevolution - Evolutionary change in a species and/or small group of organisms over a short period.

Macroevolution - Major evolutionary change. “The term applies mainly to the evolution of whole taxonomic groups over long periods of time.”

Population Bottleneck - A sharp reduction of population due to environmental aspects (earthquakes, tsunami, ect..)

Founder Effect - “The reduced genetic diversity that results when a population is descended from a small number of colonizing ancestors.”

Survival of the Fittest - The continuation of a species survival in its best adapted environment, while others become extinct. Ex. Giraffes with long necks strive in their population because they are more healthy and can eat more regularly, without having to travel long distances for food, making them more likely to survive and pass down their genes increasingly pushing out the short necked Giraffe genes from the gene pool.

Part 5: Evidence for Evolution

Homologous Features are structures that are similar in related organisms because they were inherited from a common ancestor. These structures may or may not have the same function in the descendants.

This supports the theory of evolution because it proves that vastly different species all have similar structures, showing that they must have come from a common ancestor, expanded on with the following examples:

A dolphin’s flipper, bird’s wing, cat’s leg, and the human arm are considered homologous structures. Whereas human beings have bones such as the humerus, ulna, radius, wrist bones, and fingers, these features appear as similar bones in form in the other animals. Bats, whales, and many other animals have very similar homologous structures, demonstrating that these creatures all had a common ancestor.

Mammals share the homologous structure of the vertebrae in common. For instance, in spite of its height, the giraffe has the very same number of neck bones (seven) as a giant whale and a tiny human being.

Our eyes are homologous to the eye bulbs which blind creatures who live in caves have on their heads.

The tailbone in human beings is so-named because it is a homologous structure to the beginning of many animals’ tails, such as monkeys. It is known as "vestigial" because it is the last vestige of what was once a tail, but I will talk about that more in-depth later on.

The genetic code among all living things is homologous – extremely similar although other genetic codes exist. This suggests a common ancestor.

Homologous Structures

Analogous structures are structures that are similar in unrelated organisms. The structures are similar because they evolved to do the same job, not because they were inherited from a common ancestor.

Evidence of evolution while looking at analogous structures can be done, as it shows how different species have evolved to become more similar. Examples of these features include:

An example of this is the wings of a bat and a bird, as they are similar looking on the outside, and have the same function, but wings evolved independently in the two groups of animals. This is apparent when you compare the pattern of bones inside the wings.

Another example of an analogous trait is fins. Animals such as penguins and fish both have fin-like structures to help them navigate through their aquatic environments. However, because one is a bird and one is a fish, it is clear that the fin evolved in these very different species because it was the best functional feature for the environment they inhabit instead of from a common ancestor.

Analogous traits are not limited to visual body structures; behavioral traits can also be analogous. Bird songs are quite varied, not just between different species but also between different flocks. However, it has been found that some bird species that are quite unrelated can develop analogous song characteristics if held together in similar conditions for periods of time in a lab.

Analogous Structures

Structures like the human coccyx are called vestigial features. Evolution has reduced their size because the structures are no longer used. The human appendix is another example of a vestigial structure. It is a tiny remnant of a once-larger organ. In a distant ancestor, it was needed to digest food. It serves no purpose in humans today.

Proof of evolution with vestigial features is quite obvious, as the only reason a species would have a structure in their body that isn't used anymore, is because the have evolved from a past ancestor who did have a function for that structure. Vestigial structures are often homologous to structures that function normally in other species. Therefore, vestigial structures can be considered evidence for evolution, the process by which beneficial heritable traits arise in populations over an extended period of time. The existence of vestigial traits can be attributed to changes in the environment and behavior patterns of the organism in question. As the function of the trait is no longer beneficial for survival, the likelihood that future offspring will inherit the "normal" form of it decreases. In some cases the structure becomes detrimental to the organism. This is shown with a multitude of examples throughout the animal kingdom, including the following:

The erector pili are smooth muscle fibers that give humans "goose bumps". If the erector pili are activated, the hairs that come out of the nearby follicles stand up and give an animal a larger appearance that might scare off potential enemies and a coat that is thicker and warmer. Humans, though, don't have thick furs like their ancestors did, and our strategy for several thousand years has been to take the fur off other warm looking animals to stay warm.

Biologists believe that for 100 million years the only vertebrates on Earth were water-dwelling creatures, with no arms or legs. At some point these "fish" began to develop hips and legs and eventually were able to walk out of the water, giving the earth its first land lovers. Once the land-dwelling creatures evolved, there were some mammals that moved back into the water. Biologists estimate that this happened about 50 million years ago, and that this mammal was the ancestor of the modern whale. Despite the apparent uselessness, evolution left traces of hind legs behind, and these vestigial limbs can still be seen in the modern whale. There are many cases where whales have been found with rudimentary hind limbs in the wild, and have been found in baleen whales, humpback whales, and in many specimens of sperm whales.

In general, wings of a bird are considered complex structures that are specifically adapted for flight and those belonging to these flightless birds are no different. They are, anatomically, rudimentary wings, but they could never give these bulky birds flight. The wings are not completely useless, as they are used for balance during running and in flagging down the honeys during courtship displays.

Vestigial Structure

Fossils provide solid evidence that organisms from the past are not the same as those found today; they show a progression of evolution. Scientists calculate the age of fossils and categorize them to determine when the organisms lived relative to each other. The resulting fossil record tells the story of the past and shows the evolution of form over millions of years. For example, scientists have recovered highly-detailed records showing the evolution of humans and horses . The whale flipper shares a similar morphology to appendages of birds and mammals, indicating that these species share a common ancestor . Over time, evolution led to changes in the shapes and sizes of these bones in different species, but they have maintained the same overall layout, called homologous features. Many examples of fossils leading to evolutionary advances include:

Organisms have changed significantly over time. In rocks more than 1 billion years old, only fossils of single-celled organisms are found. Moving to rocks that are about 550 million years old, fossils of simple, multi cellular animals can be found. At 500 million years ago, ancient fish without jawbones surface; and at 400 million years ago, fish with jaws are found. Gradually, new animals appear: amphibians at 350 million years ago, reptiles at 300 million years ago, mammals at 230 million years ago, and birds at 150 million years ago. As the rocks become more and more recent, the fossils look increasingly like the animals we observe today.

Fossils of land animals, or tetrapods, first appear in rocks that are about 370 million years old. In older rocks, only sea creatures are found. But in 1998, scientists found a fossilized fin, 370 million years old, with eight digits similar to the five fingers humans have on their hands,However, the fin was undoubtedly that of a fish, which means this fossil is strong evidence of a transitional form.

Mammals first appeared in the fossil record about 230 million years ago, nearly 70 million years after reptiles first appeared. One group of reptiles, the cynodonts, first appeared about 260 million years ago and became increasingly mammal-like in more recent fossils—circa 245 million years ago.


Part 6: Controversy about Evolution

This cartoon clip is from a TV show called South Park, which is intended for adult viewers and doesn't really target the younger audience. It pretty much shows what someone who lacks an education would think of evolution or has no understanding of it. I can’t really explain the cartoonist's opinions because upon my knowledge South Park is generally just meant to criticize evolution for pure mockery.


Darwin’s an Ape? Upon researching the most apparent photo to appear has by far been the Charles Darwin head on an ape, and there really isn't any information on why it's such a trend. Audience wise it could be targeting anyone from younger to older ages , anyone who really has any knowledge of Darwin could easily find these photos as they are EVERYWHERE.

Article #1 “C-Sections May Change the Course of Human Evolution”

In this article, it briefly describes the theory of “Survival of the Fittest” then covers on how recent data gathered on birth internationally shows an high increase in “obstructed births” meaning that the baby cannot fit through the birth canal, the most common factor in this is “cephalopelvic disproportion” meaning there was a mismatch between the baby’s head and the carriers pelvis. Which now a day is easily fixed by performing a C-section. If not performed the mother would pass away during birth. But because of the C-section the mother lives and passes on its gene of the narrow pelvis thus creating a long line of narrow pelvis woman which theoretically eventually lead to ALL births needing to be C-sections. But this wouldn’t be apparent until years and years into the future. But if we would not perform C-sections Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the fittest” would sort this problem out by essentially “whipping” out all the narrowed pelvis woman.

Article #2 “What Happens When Tech Takes Control of Evolution”

Firstly, the article touches on how all species originally followed a set path but for the first time ever “homo sapiens” have taken control over their destiny and pave their own way. Which according to Daniel Wilson, “You can graph human evolution, which is mostly a straight line, but we do get better and change over time, and you can graph technological evolution, which is a line that's going straight up. They are going to intersect each other at some point, and that's happening now.”. For examples Genetic engineering and neurotechnology are ways we shape our own form of evolution, Scientist say soon we’ll be able to think what kind of species we’d like to be and we will be able to shape and self-evolve ourselves to be the species we self-imagined. And then in touches into genetic engineering and mutation, and why if we can us Genetic engineering to solve medical problems why not use it to enhance our species beyond just medical traits.

Part 7: Reflection

Eric :

In the ISP based on evolution it touched on Darwin’s voyage and his theory of “Survival of The Fittest”. During my time researching on this topic my beliefs and thoughts based around evolution hasn’t changed at all really, I always chose to believe evolution over other religions because I found that evolution had the strongest information behind to back it up, there was always an answer for when someone tried to prove it wrong, I thought evolution to be the most logical in my point of view even after researching on this topic I am still a strong believer of its theory because to me logically it’s the one thing that makes sense of how everything is today. In the context of how I view it , I now have a better understanding of how and why certain animals are in region specific areas , such as why there’s lions in Africa but none in the Arctic. All because of Darwin’s theory Survival of the fittest where animals are evolved to adapt in their region specific areas, such as lions in the hot African weather won survive in cold arctic nights.

Question wise, the only thing I’d really want to know is a definite answer on how everything came to be and not just several “theories” but regardless I still enjoyed researching and completing this assignment and has benefited me in learning more about the theory of evolution.


When reflecting on my experience learning about evolution, I have had a slight change in my views of this subject. My ideas have only been skewed slightly when working on the controversy about evolution section of this assignment. Before this assignment, I assumed that all of Darwin’s theories on evolution were the most accepted and agreed upon, but when researching I found that there have been many advancements in this field of science, and there have been more recent theories that I agreed with more. An example of this was how some of his evidence of evolution and common descent were weak, such as his evidence of small-scale changes, including the modest changes in the size of finch-beaks or slight changes in the colour frequencies in the wings of “peppered moths”, which shows microevolution, not macroevolution. I did however confirm that for the most part (other than a few little discrepancies), my beliefs have been confirmed in the field of evolution. Even without doing this assignment, I have looked into the different available options for life, and the beginning of life, and have already concluded that I believe in the science as there is far more anecdotal evidence behind it and it isn’t just purely based on faith, such as religion for instance.

A question that I still have would be, if a species was in danger of becoming extinct, would the evolutionary process be accelerated, and if so, by what rate would it be accelerated? Another question I would love the answer to would be, how much proof would be needed to take evolution from a theory to a fact?

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