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Evolution is Not a Straight Line

Credit: Public Radio International

Everything we have ever seen about evolution has indicated that it is a linear progression from primitive to advanced. What’s the misconception?

When Darwin came out with his theory, the world had a traditional view that it was organized through a “progression in perfection.” The theory was that all beings on Earth would be organized in an increasing scale of perfection, ending with humans being at the top. Nature definitely does not organize itself in some sort of hierarchy. As we have learned, nature is a completely random assortment of all kinds of beings.

Scientists are quick to point out what people never captured from Darwin’s theory. We have always believed in the imagines of human beings originating from a monkey ancestor. Yet, in Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species,” he included a tree diagram.

The tree diagram was meant to represent the branches as a metaphor for how species originate, which is by splitting. There is no indication of a time scale in the image, which means that gradual change happens at a rate that can vary from one organism to another.

Darwin doesn’t make a specific direction clear in his theory; it shows diversity and a gradual change. Organisms today are all the most evolved they will ever be of their kind. The line of monkeys needs to be replaced with a tree full of branches. Evolution is a continuous branching and diversifying of various populations of organisms.