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Evolutionary biology is the study of the origin and evolution of species. Evolutionary biologists research the processes and causes of evolution and biodiversity, determine relationships between species, and document the history of evolution. Thus evolutionary biology includes the fields of cladistics, phylogenetics, and molecular evolution. Additionally population geneticists study the causes of genetic variation and ecolological geneticists consider the effects of the environment on species.
This scientific field is related to other areas of biology. To learn about past evolution paleontologists examine the fossil record, embryologists study developmental processes, and zoologists learn how various animals work. Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote an essay titled "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution."
Evolutionary biology became a recognized field of study in the 1930's when it was realized that evolution could be explained by Mendelian genetics, in a model of evolution termed the modern synthesis. Many universities have evolutionary biology departments. Evolutionary biology has a practical application in species conservation.
Evolutionary Biology is the name of an influential textbook on the subject written by biologist Douglas Futuyma in 1942.
Significant evolutionary biologists
- Charles Darwin
- Richard Dawkins
- Theodosius Dobzhansky
- Niles Eldredge
- Douglas Futuyma
- Stephen Jay Gould
- Julian Huxley
- Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
- Richard Lenski
- Richard Lewontin
- Ernst Mayr
- George Gaylord Simpson
- Steven M. Stanley
- G. Ledyard Stebbins
- Introduction to Evolutionary Biology on Talk Origins, Chris Colby, 1/7/96
- Evolutionary Biology, BioMed Central
- European Society for Evolutionary Biology
- Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution, Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973), The American Biology Teacher