Introduction to Biology: Evolution


Part of the Introduction to Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity Specialization.

The evolution course is one of the most exciting fields within biology and central to a complete understanding of modern biology. We begin by tracing how Charles Darwin developed a theory of evolution by natural selection and the many ways that biologists have advanced the science of evolution since his lifetime. We then go on to learn about the many applications of evolutionary biology to our everyday lives.

Module 1. On the Origins of Evolution

  1. Be familiar with some of the ways that evolution is relevant to our everyday lives.
  2. Know how ideas about evolution changed from ancient Greece to Victorian England.
  3. Understand how events during the lives of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace led them to develop a theory of evolution.

Module 2. How Evolution Works

  1. Be familiar with Darwin’s key observations and conclusions about natural selection.
  2. Be aware of the role of heredity in evolution and how our understanding of it has developed.
  3. Be able to define evolution.
  4. Know the five mechanisms of evolution.
  5. Be able to apply the Hardy-Weinberg Principle to determine whether a population is evolving.

Module 3. Macroevolution

  1. Be familiar with the process of speciation.
  2. Be able to read and interpret a phylogenetic tree.
  3. Be aware of some of the practical applications of phylogenetics.

Module 4. Evidence for Evolution

  1. Be familiar with some examples of transitional forms.
  2. Be aware of how biogeography provides evidence for evolution.
  3. Be aware of how comparative anatomy provides evidence for evolution.
  4. Be familiar with some examples of how evolution can be directly observed and studied in the field and in the lab.
  5. Gain an appreciation for the role of evolution in the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Visit our three biology courses


Any questions? Please e-mail