Evolution is the process by which new species are formed from pre-existing ones over a period of time. The theory of evolution was first put forward by Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin in 1859, through the proposal of natural selection. This was a controversial theory at the time and not well received by many of his peers.

Darwin proposed natural selection as the force that causes changes within populations based on his observations of specific populations. More recently biologists have seen that natural selection can also maintain variation and also stabilise a population.

Natural selection is defined as a process that encourages the transmission of favourable alleles and hinders the transmission of unfavourable ones; this is a major factor in evolution and contributes to the diversity of living organisms. The adaptations which result from the promotion of these favourable alleles can be anatomical, physiological or behavioural in nature.

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