We have a greater understanding of evolution and its processes than ever before, and what science is telling us is amazing. While many spend their lifetimes trying to explain Darwinian concepts like evolution and natural selection, YouTube channel Stated Clearly makes short work of it.
This short series of videos will provide you with the incredible evidence scientists have used to support Darwin’s theories, without needlessly complicating anything.
What Is Evolution?
Evolution isn’t about explaining the origin of life on earth but the journey between then and now. It can be defined by the physical and behavioural changes that have occurred between generations of species, and punctuated by remembering that every living species is as “evolved” as any other regardless of physical characteristic or position on the food chain.
Consider this “Evolution 101” for beginners, with concepts vital to the theory (reproduction, similarities in physiology, DNA) explained simply, with some lovely animation to boot.
The Evidence For Evolution
The theory of evolution is all well and good, but a theory is just an idea – right? Correct, but few theories have been embraced and accepted wholesale quite like Darwin’s, and that’s because there’s mounting evidence to support it. The idea that all living beings are related is central to the theory, and this is explored in greater detail by looking at our larger, mammalian sea-dwellers – the cetaceans.
What Is Natural Selection?
Natural selection is another fundamental Darwinian concept that’s key to understanding evolution and all that it entails. DNA modifications create slight variations in species as they reproduce, but not all of these variations are best adapted for survival. Natural selection is the name given to the process which favours the better adapted set of genes.
The Implications of Evolution
Evolution is often thought of as something that takes millions of years, but that’s not strictly the case. Particularly when man interferes with the environment, evolutionary traits can form almost by accident – like the fact that the world’s fish are shrinking due to government policy.
In this scenario the theory of evolution can be used to help ensure more healthy fish populations (that aren’t shrinking) by leaning on scientific evidence to create better policies.
The Origin Of Life
It is believed that all life on earth stems from primitive cellular colonies that emerged some 3.5 billion years ago. These did not evolve, as evolution depends on reproduction – from where did life itself emerge? These days scientists are getting their brightest theories from the study of chemistry. We’re still a long way away from answering that question, but the possibilities being explored are exciting and mind-blowing in equal measure.
DNA & Genes Explained
Finally two videos to bring you up to speed on some of the terminology used in this video – the exploration of DNA, life’s blueprint and genes, the vehicle used by evolution to deliver its modifications. The second video (below) also explores the notion of modifying genes, briefly.
You can subscribe to Stated Clearly on YouTube to find more beautifully animated videos explaining important scientific theories and concepts. If you’ve enjoyed this then you might enjoy It’s Okay To Be Smart and Veritasium, both of which take the concept of YouTube science to the next level.
What has YouTube taught you recently?