What is Natural Selection? Natural Selection is the difference between the reproductive success and survival of individuals due to subtle differences in their genotype. It is an important mechanism of natural evolution, whereby the contrasting selective mutations in a population over successive generations. These mutations are then selected against over time by the survival of the fittest individuals.
Natural selection is the result of genealogical events taking place at different times and under varying environmental conditions (natural environment). The principle of Natural Selection is simple – it states that the strongest genetic differences between individuals will frequently lead to the evolution of differing characteristics (phenotype) from one individual to the next. The theory of Natural Selection has evolved into many branches of research in different domains including anthropology, genetics, physiology, and ecology. Evolutionary psychology attempts to shed light on the role of natural selection in human evolution and the origin of behavior.
When does what is natural selection occur? The theory of Natural Selection suggests that Natural Selection occurs during the accumulation and over time, the mutation of genes that are advantageous to an organism will be passed on to subsequent generations in order for these organisms to better adapt to the environments in which they grow up. Selection has been scientifically proven to be an instance where differences between individuals will cause them to better adapt to their environment and through this, differences can be used as a tool to help other organisms survive and thrive.
How can individuals that have been selected to be made better suited to their environment? The way in which an organism is selected can be through its ability to reproduce. Genes that are highly reproducing (aka. “highly productive”) are generally favored in nature. This means that organisms that have these capabilities will be better suited to reproduce and pass on their features and traits. Through this method of natural selection, individuals who have a higher rate of reproduction are going to be favored in terms of survival.
How is what is natural selection different from mutation? Unlike mutation, there are certain characteristics that an organism can acquire that can be passed on from generation to generation by natural selection. For instance, an organism can be Darwinian in its structure. A Darwinian trait is one that help an organism to reproduce, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the organism will be better at reproducing.
In order to see how Darwinian characteristics or traits are selected, we must understand how selective pressures select them. There are many different selective forces, such as sexual selection, geographic isolation, strength or size advantage, and population persistence. Sexual selection, or mate selection, happens when an individual organism is able to choose its own mate. This force is often used to explain the existence of different sexual species. However, it can also be applied to how the distribution of an animal trait could change over time.
Geographic isolation is another example of natural selection. Individuals that are geographically isolated have the ability to be selective. An example of this selective force is seen in different types of ants. When a colony has a member that dies, then it is not advantageous for the surviving members to reproduce with the death of that individual. The other members of the colony might eventually adapt and begin to reproduce, but the goal of adaptation is to become as successful as possible.
Another example of natural selection comes from the study of brown beetles. These beetles have a very unique process of reproduction. They lay their eggs in masses called cocoons. The eggs hatch into larvae, which grows until it is about two inches long. The larvae grow until they reach the size of a pea, and then the adult beetles emerge and reproduce the process again.