Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
Since the concept of evolution was introduced more than 150 years ago, scientists have dedicated their careers and lives to proving the theory as fact. Modern technology, DNA sequencing, and pioneering scientists, such as Sean Carroll, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, John Maynard Smith, and Stephen Jay Gould, have greatly increased our overall understanding of evolution.

Since 1976, awarding-winning author and Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has revealed the magic of evolution though his educational and entertaining books. Dawkins’ most recent publication and bestseller, "The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution", debunks myths and reveals surprising secrets packed into scientific evidence that supports evolution. Dawkins presents facts along with candid analogies that explain complex concepts in simple, easy to understand dialogue. Dawkins’ tenth publication focuses on the concrete scientific evidence of evolution more than any of his previous works. "The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution" is one of many books on evolution that are available online.

Dawkins’ latest book clearly explains the differences between natural and artificial selection as well as visual evidence of evolution seen in the mutation of drug resistant, viruses, bacteria, and diseases. Dawkins highlights domestic animals and vegetables as further evidence for how quickly genetic changes can occur. In particular, Dawkins mentions the significance of undeniable fossil records, DNA profiles, and geographic evidence that all support evolution as fact.

According to geological records, life on earth began more than three billion years ago. Microbes and algae were the first common life forms. The prevalence of algae was extremely important to the evolution of early earth. Through photosynthesis, blue-green algae released enough oxygen to alter the atmosphere. Increased oxygen made it possible for multi-cellular life to arise followed by the evolution of humans.

In DNA records, fragments of 1,000 year old viruses have been found. The purpose of certain RNA sequences was previously unknown. However, revolutionary research indicates viruses were instrumental for initiating important evolutionary and reproductive changes that altered the future of mankind. RNA viruses evolve and mutate extremely quickly, which makes them very valuable to evolutionary biologists and scientists searching for cures to chronic diseases and cancer.

Dawkins end his book with a chapter that mirrors the last paragraph of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The closing chapter reflects on the grandeur of nature as well as the extreme and miraculous beauty of genetic diversity in the natural world.

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