Evidence for Evolution

Evolution means change over time. This universe began around 13.8 billion years ago. Earth emerged 4.5 billion years ago, and life began around a billion years later.

Because it happens over such long times and is so difficult to observe, how do we know that evolution occurred and is still ongoing? By overwheloming evidence from many disciplines. See the games and activities page for links to activities that show evidence for evolution.

The following is an outline of lines of evidence for biological evolution. We have the fossil record, comparative anatomy, the molecular evidence and observations of evolution in action.

Evidence for the times that particular evolutionary events happened is provided by many methods, including relative dating (stratigraphy), absolute dating (radiometric) and paleomagnetism.

Outline of Evidence for Biological Evolution

  • Fossil Record
  • Comparative Biology
    • Comparing Skulls Activity
    • Galapagos Finches
    • Barnacles
    • Bacteria
    • Imperfect and Vestigal Parts
      • Dew Claws on Dogs
      • Claws on some bird wings
      • Gill slits in human embryogenesis
      • Appendix
      • Male nipples
      • Unused “pelvic” bones in snakes
  • Molecular Relatedness – Phylogenies
    • DNA Comparisons
    • Ribosomal RNA comparisons
    • Amino acids sequence comparisons
    • Fossil Genes
  • Observation of Evolution
    • Evolution of cultivated plants
    • Evolution of domesticated animals
    • Evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
    • Evolution of pesticide-degrading bacteria
    • Experimental evolution of cultured bacteria

    Dating Methods