Skip navigation

About IDEA Center

News & Events



IDEA Student Clubs


Contact Us



Primer: Evolutionary Theory in a Nutshell

Charles Darwin

The British naturalist, Charles Darwin, first proposed his theory of evolution in 1859 in The Origin of Species. (Picture from
How Darwinian Evolution Works: 1. Random mutations cause changes, or variation, in a population of organisms.
2. These different organisms then compete to survive and reproduce.
3. Those which are best able to survive and reproduce do so, and tend to leave the most offspring. This is called “natural selection.”
4. Over time, if some organisms survive and reproduce more than others, a species will "evolve."
Evolution claims: - All organisms are related through "common ancestry."
- All organisms arose through the random process of mutation.
- All organisms arose and persist because of unguided natural selection, which can only select for actual beneficial mutations.
The Grand Naturalistic Story:

The story of evolution.

*Evolutionary theory says some reptiles also turned into birds.