Diversity of living things

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Diversity of living things

Richard McCulloch We live in a world of differences, of seemingly infinite diversity and variety. These differences are of all types, affecting both animate and inanimate matter, living and non-living things. Humanity is certainly no exception to this rule, but exhibits great -- sometimes even bewildering -- variation, both physically and mentally, of body and of mind.

There are different kinds of human variation. Some differences are biological or genetic, others are cultural or environmental. There are also different levels of human variation. Some differences are at the individual level, others are at the population or racial level. The first distinguish us as separate individuals, the second distinguish a population of individuals as a separate race.

In the system of biological classification called taxonomy a race is a subdivision or branch of a species, and a species in turn Diversity of living things a subdivision or branch of a genus. In this system all populations which are capable of interbreeding with each other and producing fertile offspring, and which do interbreed with each other in their natural state, are considered to be members of the same species, regardless how great their differences or how distant their relationship.

Those populations which do not interbreed under natural conditions, although they may be biologically capable of doing so, are classified as separate species. As all human populations are capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring, and in fact do so when brought together under conditions of extensive contact, they are classified as belonging to the same species.

There is variation among individuals in the degree of racial discrimination in selecting a mate. Perhaps only a minority of individuals in any Diversity of living things generation interbreed with other races under conditions of extensive contact, but over the course of generations all populations do, as the cumulative effect of a minority in each generation adds up to a majority -- and eventually a total population -- over a span of generations.

A race is a population that can be distinguished from other populations within a species by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.

Diversity of living things

It possesses a unique and distinct ensemble of genes, and is identified by the traits produced by this genetic ensemble. To the extent that mental characteristics are also transmitted or determined genetically it is logical to assume that there are mental as well as physical genetic differences between races, yet it is by their physical genetic differences that races are most readily distinguished and identified.

Members of the same race share distinguishing genetic characteristics because they share a common genetic ancestry, and consequently a similar genetic ensemble. They are capable not only of producing offspring which all members of the same species can do but of producing offspring who also share and continue their racially unique genetic ensemble and its distinctive traits and characteristics.

When members of different races interbreed they cannot produce offspring that possess the racially distinguishing characteristics of both parent stocks. The distinctive racial characteristics of one or both of the parents are either negated or diminished as their racially unique, and therefore mutually incompatible, ensembles of genes are disrupted or diluted.

The explanations for human racial diversity have been as varied as that diversity itself. Every culture and every age has had its explanation, and the more tolerant among them have had more than one, but the truth was usually unknown, and the universal rule is that the unknown is explained by legend, myth or religion, which in most cultures are one and the same.

The ancient Babylonian account of Creation was adopted by Judaism, which passed it on to Christianity and Islam. As promulgated by these two expansionist, universalist and often intolerant religions this Babylonian version of Creation, and explanation of human diversity, reigned virtually unchallenged until the advent of modern science.

Science prefers natural to supernatural explanations, and has gradually expanded the former at the expense of the latter.

As explained by science -- beginning with the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species by Natural Selection in -- the diversity of life, human as well as non-human, is caused by a process of usually gradual change called biological evolution. Life proceeds from one form to many forms.

Biodiversity - Wikipedia

As a life-form develops and expands different groups tend to become separated and lose contact with each other. This loss of contact, usually caused by geographic separation, creates a condition that can be referred to as reproductive isolation.

This reproductive isolation or separation of the different groups prevents them from interbreeding, and by doing so acts as the great enabler of divergent evolution, the essential key to the diversification of life.

Once isolated, the different populations tend to follow diverging courses of evolution resulting from different chance mutations, responses to different environments and other selective pressures. Eventually, if reproductive isolation is maintained, the differences created by the process of divergent evolution are sufficient that the two populations will not interbreed even when they do come into contact and occupy the same geographical range.

When this degree of diversity is achieved the different populations are defined as separate species. Thus the process of divergent evolution is also referred to as speciation, by which populations divide and develop into new and distinct species.

The process of divergence -- or diversification of life -- does not end with the creation of new species, but is continued as each new branch of life produces new branches and sub-branches, as each race evolves into a new species which in turn diversifies into new races. In this dynamic creative process a race is a proto-species or species-in-the-making, a potential new species in the early stages of species separation and creation.

Divergent evolution is the cause of the great diversity of living things, human and non-human, that populate our planet. It has moved life from simplicity and uniformity to complexity and diversity, and in so doing has created humanity in all its complex variation and rich diversity.

The divergent evolution of the human species has created different branches or races, each genetically distinct from the others. The process of human evolutionary divergence has itself been complex, with many branches and sub-branches, as each branch itself divides into separate and distinct branches.Living in Color: Embracing God's Passion for Ethnic Diversity [Randy Woodley] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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Diversity of Living Things Unit, Life Systems Grade 6, Ontario Science Curriculum. Full of activities and experiments.

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