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Evolution in Your Life

  • By Gaia Remerowski
  • Posted 10.26.09
  • NOVA

When you hear the word evolution, you may think of iconic images of Darwin and the Beagle, representations of the "tree of life," pictures of apes and the DNA double helix. But do you realize just how thoroughly the subject seeps into our everyday lives? To give a sense of this, we asked five experts in different fields to briefly describe an example. Listen in, and find out how evolution and the process of natural selection–the survival of those creatures that are best adapted to their environment–gives us dogs, makes us such good runners, and even helps us solve crimes.

Listen

From flu to food—hear five researchers discuss how evolution affects your day-to-day life.

Gaia Remerowski is NOVA’s senior researcher.

Credits

Images

How did evolution give us man's best friend?

(Clive Wynne)
Courtesy Clive Wynne
(three wolves)
© Andy Gehrig/istockphoto
(Clive Wynne with wolf)
© WGBH Educational Foundation
(dog on leash)
© Leigh Schindler/istockphoto

How did evolution make us such good runners?

(Dan Lieberman)
Courtesy Dan Leiberman
(Australopithecus painting)
© Gilles Tosello/Photo Researchers, Inc.
(Homo erectus running, H. erectus hunting)
© WGBH Educational Foundation

How does evolution make the flu a persistent problem?

(Peter Palese)
Courtesy Peter Palese
(H1N1 flu virus)
Courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(artist's representation of flu virus)
© Björn Meyer/istockphoto
(syringe)
© Freeze Frame Studio/istockphoto

How do we use evolution to make better food?

(Pam Ronald)
Courtesy Pam Ronald
(wildflowers)
© Roger Whiteway/istockphoto
(small strawberries)
© Faruk Gazibegovic/istockphoto
(large strawberries)
© ParkerDeen/istockphoto

How does evolution help us solve crimes?

(Bruce Budowle)
Courtesy Bruce Budowle
(DNA)
©James Steidl/istockphoto
(sample array)
© dra_schwartz/istockphoto
(fingerprints)
© José Luis Gutiérrez/istockphoto

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