by the Understanding Evolution team
Natural selection is a powerful process: it produces amazing adaptations (such as the “leaf-disguise” of the katydid shown below) and helps us understand much of what we observe in the natural world — but natural selection is often misunderstood. Frequently, the process is misconstrued as one that simply grants a species any trait that it might need for survival. However, as we will see, natural selection has its limitations, and many characteristics of organisms can be better understood with a more realistic view of the process.
- What are some common misconceptions about the process of natural selection?
- Why are those views of the process inaccurate?
- Why might natural selection not have removed all deleterious alleles from a population?
- What aspect of natural selection is non-random and how does this affect the direction of evolution?
- What sort of traits are adaptations, and what sorts of traits are not?
- What is the "neutral theory?"