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Three Examples of Evidence for Evolution

Updated on October 15, 2009

The science of evolution is well established among biologists and geologists. The facts that support it are numerous, and well documented. Here are three examples from an article in Nature ("15 Evolutionary Gems", by Henry Gee, Rory Howlett, and Philip Campbell, January 2009) to support the theory.

Toxin Resistance

One example of an organism developing a resistance to a toxin is penicillin. Once considered the standard drug treatment for many illness, it is now less reliable for some illnesses. The virus strain has adjusted to the drug and become more resistant to it.

An article by Manda Clair Jost et al. ("Toxin-resistant Sodium Channels: Parallel Adaptive Evolution Across a Complete Gene Family", Molecular Biology and Evolution, June 2008) mentions an earlier study showing that garter snakes have evolved a resistance to the neurotoxin used by their newt prey.

Jost et al. showed that four taxonomically diverse species of pufferfishes each evolved resistance to the toxins tetrodotoxin (TTX) and saxitoxin (STX). The authors mention that in wild insect populations such as flies, and cockroaches, there was the evolution of pyrethroid and DDT resistance within a few decades of insecticide exposure.

Whales in the Making
Whales in the Making
Whale history
Whale history

Predator and Prey Co-Evolution

Another way that evolution occurs is by two competing species, a predator and prey evolving side by side. As the prey adapts to make it harder for predator to kill the prey, the predator adapts to make it easier to get to the prey. This is co-evolution where organisms evolve together, and in competition.

Consider the case of water fleas, called the Daphnia, and the microscopic parasites that infest them. As the water fleas, the prey, become better at evading parasites, which are the predator, the parasites become better at infecting them. But over the long run, neither has an advantage over the other; rather a balance exists in their environment.

Another example involves the detection of bat signals by moths and crickets to evade detection. Bats are very good at making sonar signals that allow them to detect prey. But simultaneously the prey have developed sensory mechanisms that allow them to pick up on the signal and

The Journey From Land to Sea

One of the prevailing beliefs was that all life formed in the sea, and that life moved unidirectionally from the sea to land, not the other way around. But there is evolutionary evidence that life did develop from land to sea, at least in the case of whales.

Whales, as mammals, are now fully adapted to life in the water, and have been there for millions of years. They give birth to offspring; they breathe air. So how is it that they developed these mammal qualities in the sea? They did not; in fact there is evidence that mammals originally evolved on land. So whales' distant ancestors, which were land-based, must have gone to water at some point.

To show this, there are hybrid fossils that have dual characteristics, such as the crocodile-like amphibious Ambulocetus and the first known whale ancestor, the Pakicetus. These include ear anatomy, which is now seen only in whales, and they also have limbs like those of the land living mammals from which they derived. The evolutionary scientist, Stepeh Gould claimed, in Natural History magazine 1994 that the Ambolecetus is the very animal that the [intelligent designers] said could not be developed.

These three examples of evolution are but a tiny fraction of the evidence available. While the scientific process of evolution is well established, the facts supporting the theory are numerous. In fact there is more evidence to support Evolution, than General Relativity.


Toxin Resistance:

Predator and Prey Co-Evolution

The Journey from Land to Sea


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i agree with u sally because im in the 10th and do not understand this at all

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i need help as a 7th grader

      in evolution because this is boring!!!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Bats are another excellent example of the impossibility of the stepwise changes upon which the theory of evolution hinges. Bats would need to 'evolve' the ability to echo locate in one amazing mutation, otherwise they would be lugging around useless systems for millions of years until they all came online to work together. There is no incremental path to get there.

    • gingersmaltese profile image


      7 years ago from 27597

      Your first two examples are completely in the realm of natural selection (something ID proponents and creationists have no problem with). The third "proof" is entirely subjective and can be used as support for either side of the argument.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Think about the garter snake / newt example... in order for this evolutionary miracle to occur, the snakes have to be eating the newts before they developed the resistance to the neurotoxin. Otherwise, it's just a happy coincidence that these particular snakes can eat these particular newts.

      There's no logical evolutionary pathway from eating something that kills you to eating the same thing but not being killed by it.

      On the other hand, if you insist on the argument that the snakes didn't eat any of the newts until they 'evolved' the neurotoxin resistance, then you must also agree that the snakes evolved a 'taste' for the newts at the exact same time they evolved the resistance to the neurotoxin. Obviously the snakes didn't eat everything in sight: at some point in their 'evolution' they developed an urge to eat the newts and that urge appeared at the same moment in their evolutionary development that the neurotoxin inhibitor appeared in their evolutionary development.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      theres no examples *Toot*

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Another way that evolution occurs is by two competing species, a predator and prey evolving side by side. As the prey adapts to make it harder for predator to kill the prey, the predator adapts to make it easier to get to the prey. This is co-evolution where organisms evolve together, and in competition."

      Now you're working backwards. You observe a phenomenon, then compose a model that conforms to it. You're not proving anything. The predator-prey relationship could just have easily been a product of creation as evolution. The statistical possibility that evolution caused this phenomenon is as near zero as makes no odds. Consider the probability of one creature (the predator) evolving, then multiply that by the probability of the prey evolving in parallel. The probability of that system is statistically insignificant. Of course, the mathematics are easily brushed away by saying "well, we had millions of years to do it." It's an interesting thought experiment anyway.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "One example of an organism developing a resistance to a toxin is penicillin"

      You're not seeing both sides of the story. You need to research the trade-off between penicillin resistance and the negative effects that come along with that capability. It's not a zero-sum gain.

      A resistance to penicillin is typically a loss of the ability to build an effective cell wall. The organism is significantly weakened against many forms of attack, but not penicillin. It this 'evolution'? Not at all. The cell lost something significant; penicillin resistance is merely a side-effect of that loss.

    • GGarza profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Glad you liked it.

    • RomerianReptile profile image


      9 years ago

      nice pub!


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