Natural Selection: Its Place in Today's World

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Natural Selection: Its Place in Today's World (29:00)
Item# 40306

How do humans influence changes in other species? Has Homo sapiens itself stopped evolving? This program explores natural selection as an ongoing phenomenon, showing how evolutionary processes continue to shape the future of all life on Earth. Exploring the competition for resources, territory, and mates that occurs in any ecosystem, the video illustrates how species differentiation takes place—whether the environment is a petri dish, a jungle, or a major city. Also discussed: morphological, physiological, and behavioral variation; the relationship between agriculture, selective breeding, and genetic modification; and the puzzling anthropological discovery known as the "hobbit." Viewable/printable educational resources are available online. (29 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (6)

1. What Is Natural Selection? (06:11)
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Natural selection is essential for the survival of life on Earth. It is the tendency of the most fit organisms to survive. Surviving individuals result in a favorable variation of the base species. Human-induced selection is called artificial selection.

2. Is Natural Selection Still Operating Today? (03:52)

Pesticides, vaccines, and antibiotics create powerful selection pressures. Hunting, clearing, conservation, and farming are human interventions that create selection pressures. Domestication of animals and plants have a major impact on selection.

3. Natural Selection and Humans (05:26)

All adaptations in humans are a combination of morphological, physiological, and behavioral modifications. Research suggests from the recently discovered bones of the "hobbit" that it is a separate species to humans.

4. Genetic Engineering & Artificial Selection (05:39)

Artificial selection is intentional breeding to bring out desired traits. Genetic engineering allows the exchange of genetic material. Genetically modified (GM) foods improve certain traits. Many people express concerns about GM foods.

5. Natural Selection and the Future (03:22)

The impact of rising temperature is already being measured; the mix of species is changing. Some animals have been driven out of their habitat by warming. Some creatures are at the edge of their temperature endurance limit.

6. Human Population and Earth's Resources (02:43)

Controlling human population is a major challenge for the future health of the planet and its creatures. Resources are finite for a population out of control.

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