The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.
UC Museum of Paleontology
Class discussion could enhance student learning on this topic.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)
- An organism’s features reflect its evolutionary history.
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.
- Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution. (LS4.A)
- Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- There are similarities in the cell function of all organisms. (LS4.A)
- Artificial selection provides a model for natural selection.
- People selectively breed domesticated plants and animals to produce offspring with preferred characteristics.
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.
- Scientists use physical, chemical, and geological evidence to establish the age of fossils.
- Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.
- Scientists use artificial selection as a model to learn about natural selection. (P2)