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What are the four principles of natural selection?

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Quick Answer

The four principles of natural selection are variability among members of a species, heritability of the variable features, differences in population members' ability to reproduce and survival of the fittest in terms of variability, heritability and reproduction. Natural selection is one of evolution's four mechanisms.

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Natural selection acknowledges the fact that members of a population are capable of producing more offspring than are needed to maintain a healthy population size. Nature controls the population's size by empowering species' best specimens to survive and reproduce.

Variability among population members refers to differences in such traits as eye color or hair color, and it serves as natural selection's foundation. The variable traits must be heritable, which means they are passed down from one generation to the next. Differences among population members' ability to reproduce refers to the fact that some population members are able to reproduce and some are not. These three factors combine to help ensure the survival of the fittest, which means that the population members with the most desirable traits reproduce and create new members that share those traits, whereas members with undesirable traits fall into obscurity.

Other mechanisms that contribute to evolution include genetic mutations among members, migration of the fit populations and genetic drift, which is a random process that results when one species' genetic material finds its way into other populations.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does natural selection work?

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    Natural selection works by imposing different rates of success on genetically diverse organisms. Given a certain amount of hereditary variation amongst members of a population, some individuals naturally thrive, while others die young or fail to breed.

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  • Q:

    How does natural selection lead to evolution?

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    Natural selection leads to evolution because the traits of those who are able to reproduce influence future generations genetics and gradually lead to these passed on traits becoming the normal state of being, thus causing the species in question to evolve. If a group of people have predominantly brown hair genes and have children, then by way of natural selection the dominant gene will increase with future generations, meaning that slowly in time this group of people will evolve to have mostly brown hair genes.

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  • Q:

    What are the four steps of natural selection?

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    The four steps or conditions necessary for natural selection to occur are that more organisms are born than can survive, characteristics vary within a species, variations are inherited, and differences in reproduction and survival are due to variations. All four of these conditions must occur for natural selection to happen.

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  • Q:

    What is the concept of natural selection?

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    The concept of natural selection states that competition for limited resources among a species with varying traits results in a winner and a loser, with the winner having a greater opportunity to survive and breed offspring with like traits. Over time the advantageous traits become predominant in the species.

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