How Natural Selection Works in The Animal Kingdom

If you're reading this today, you can partly thank natural selection for that. Have you ever wondered why some animals are able to blend in with their environments? Why do horses have four hooves instead of 12 toes? Natural selection takes "survival of the fittest" to the most literal level. During evolution, some species will discover they're prone to undesirable traits. For example, take short-beaked and long-beaked finches from the Galapagos islands. During times of drought, the long-beaked finches tended to survive in higher numbers because their elongated beaks helped them conserve more water. Eventually, the majority of finches that survived the drought were long-beaked, and mated with other long-beaked birds—decimating the short-beaked population.

But what is the difference between natural selection and evolution? What are some of the genetically advantageous traits certain species have developed throughout history? What's a phenotype and how do they influence which species make it and which are doomed to be the next dodo bird? This playlist has all the natural selection essentials you need to figure out how to outlast your genetic competition.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. In general, the word "evolution" means change or development. 00:11

  2. Darwin proposed the theory of natural selection as an explanation for how evolution could have occurred naturally. 01:14

  3. Frozen O-rings in the rocket boosters probably caused the tragic Challenger explosion. 01:39

Written by Curiosity Staff June 10, 2014

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