Understanding Evolution

Misconceptions about natural selection and adaptation :

The straight story

We've seen that misconceptions regarding natural selection and adaptation are common. Natural selection is often incorrectly viewed as the only mechanism of evolution and is commonly misinterpreted as "trying" to perfect organisms. Similarly, people tend to over-apply the concept of adaptation, looking for adaptive advantages in traits that may have evolved for some other function or through means other than natural selection. Although natural selection and adaptation are key concepts in evolutionary theory, the mechanisms of evolution are diverse and include mutation, migration, and genetic drift, and the results of evolution are contingent upon the vagaries of history.

Natural selection is just one mechanism of evolution
Natural selection is just one mechanism of evolution and is not all-powerful.

 

View this article online at:
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/misconcep_09

Understanding Evolution © 2015 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California