Those who have followed this blog recently might know of my interest in the fossil history of the Earth. It should not be surprising, then, that I also have a deep interest in Biology as a subject. As a card-carrying science geek for most of my life, my particular area of interest was always Biology. Of all the geeks in AP Biology, I was geekiest among them. My AP Biology teacher once told my mother that if she had a daughter, she would want her to marry me. This should tell you a thing or two about the impression I made.
Anyway, just like any student of the time, we were taught about Darwin and Natural Selection. Also known as “survival of the fittest”, the concept of Natural Selection does a lot to explain the behavior of species in real life. It is especially good at explaining how species adapt to a particular niche, and how certain traits are favored over time if they lead to some kind of survival advantage. However, once a species is adapted to its niche, we no longer see changes. There have been species in the oceans which are virtually unchanged for the past 500 million years, even if improvements could still be made (the Horseshoe crab, for instance). Indeed, these unchanged species are not perfect, but they are perfect for their particular niche. If Natural Selection were constantly driving new species (speciation), then these unchanging species are a big problem for it being the main driver for speciation events.
Continue reading “Speciation: The Achilles Heel of Darwin’s Natural Selection”