On the Origin of Species Questions and Answers
by Charles Darwin

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In regards to On the Origin of Species, I need to describe an example of how natural selection influenced the evolution of a particular species.

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One example of natural selection influencing the evolution of a particular species is evident in different breeds of dogs.  All dogs have originated from the wolf, but now are in great variety.  Of course, man has interfered in the breeding of many dogs.  But, one dog that is yet close to the wolf and has evolved as a result of natural selection is the Malamute.

First described as living with the Iniut, indigeneous people known as the Mahlemuts, the Malamutes were their hunting partners and were used to haul heavy carcasses on hunts.  Thus, these dogs evolved to be large and strong, rather than fast.  Living in Alaska, they also developed a thick undercoat and an overcoat that was oily enough to repel wetness. They can withstand brutally cold temperatures.  In another adaptation, their paws became longer and flatter than other dogs, a quality that allows them to walk on the snow without sinking into it as other dogs will do.

 

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