from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life: Creatures of the DeepThursday, 11th February 2016 10:00 - Eden EdenLife under the waves. Read more: Life: Creatures of the Deep
The London Markets: The Fruit And Veg Market: Inside New SpitafieldsAvailable until Sunday, 13th March 2016 00:40The fruit and veg trade in England was once a closed world dominated by traditional British costermonger families.... Read more: The London Markets: The Fruit And Veg Market: Inside New Spitafields
The Bottom Line: Winter 2015-16: Customer ServiceAvailable for over a year
Thinking Allowed 2016: Consumerism, Work-life balanceAvailable for over a year
More or Less: E-cigs, politics, school and birthdaysAvailable for over a year
OpenLearn Live: 10th February 2016A king with long arms; and the debate about assisted suicide. Free learning across the day. Read more: OpenLearn Live: 10th February 2016
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Landschaftliche VielfaltGerman regions and landscapes, local traditions and the notion of Heimat are at the centre of... Try: Landschaftliche Vielfalt now
English: skills for learningEnglish: skills for learning, is a free course for anybody who is thinking of studying for a... Try: English: skills for learning now
In this free course, Evolution through natural selection, we describe the theory of evolution by natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin in his book, first published in 1859, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. We will look at natural selection as Darwin did, taking inheritance for granted, but ignoring the mechanisms underlying it.
At the end of this free course you should know that:
- By biological evolution we mean that many of the organisms that inhabit the Earth today are different from those that inhabited it in the past.
- Natural selection is one of several processes that can bring about evolution, although it can also promote stability rather than change.
- The four propositions underlying Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection are: (1) more individuals are produced than can survive; (2) there is therefore a struggle for existence; (3) individuals within a species show variation; and (4) offspring tend to inherit their parents’ characters.
- The three necessary and sufficient conditions for natural selection to occur are: (1) a struggle for existence; (2) variation; and (3) inheritance.
- Endler's experiment with guppies demonstrated that evolution through natural selection can occur in relatively few generations.
- Mutation is the ultimate source of variation.
- The frequency of a particular character in a particular population may be due to chance events.
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Evolution through natural selection
In this unit, we describe the theory of evolution by natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin in his book, first published in 1859, On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. We will look at natural selection as Darwin did, taking inheritance for granted, but ignoring the mechanisms underlying it.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extracted from Discovering science (S103) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Natural History courses or view the range of currently available OU Natural History courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 15th April 2014
Last updated on: Tuesday, 15th April 2014
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.