Up until relatively recently; some individuals, especially in the South, believed that man was created in God’s image and had not evolved from any lower life forms. However, archaeological evidence, along with explanations of the non-functional organs of various animals ( thought to be derived from ancient ancestor animal species), have convinced most non-believers that Darwin was correct in theorizing that animals, and even human beings, had originated from lower life forms over a continuous, long progression of evolution.
Evolution means that the fittest living being of a particular environment is best suited to their particular environment to live to an age of reproducibility and pass on their genome to their offspring so that their phenotype would survive. When different characteristics of an environment changed, so did the traits of the animals of a species that would give the animal the best advantage to survive. So, the animals with these different traits would be more apt to live to an age that they may reproduce and pass along these new traits. It these new traits differed from the mainstream appearances of a particular animal, eventually a new species would be created.
Darwin’s trip on the HMS Beagle took him to the Galapagos Islands where he studied finches which had evolved to have different sized and shaped beaks to allow them to feed best in their particular niches. These finches had survived since they competed most successfully in attaining food; while other finches that could not acquire these beneficial advantages had perished.
Darwin further theorized, that in every generation there are more animals born than can survive in a particular niche. Those animals that had survived to reach an age of reproducibility; whereas other had not, would pass along their selected genotype and of corse their phenotype. Everyone now accepts this theory and it is taught in high schools throughout the country.