Common descent  

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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.
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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, good-natured caricatures of him with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In evolutionary biology, a group of organisms share common descent if they have a common ancestor. There is strong evidence that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor, called the last universal ancestor or LUA (or last universal common ancestor, LUCA).

Common ancestry between organisms of different species arises during speciation, in which new species are established from a single ancestral population. Organisms which share a more recent common ancestor are more closely related. The most recent common ancestor of all currently living organisms is the last universal ancestor, which lived about 3.9 billion years ago. Thus all currently living organisms on Earth share a common genetic heritage (universal common descent), with each being the descendant from a single original species, though the suggestion of substantial horizontal gene transfer during early evolution has led to questions about monophyly of life.

Universal common descent through an evolutionary process, that there was only one progenitor for all life forms, was first proposed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species, which ended with "There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one". The theory has been recently popularized by Richard Dawkins, in The Ancestor's Tale, and others.

Evolution

Overview
Introduction to evolution
Evolution
Evolution as theory and fact
Evolutionary history of life
Timeline of evolution
History
History of evolutionary thought
Lamarckism
Saltationism
Orthogenesis
On the Origin of Species
Darwinism
The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection
Neo-Darwinism
Modern evolutionary synthesis
Base concepts
Heredity
Fitness
Common descent
Evidence of common descent
Mechanisms
Adaptation
Genetic drift
Gene flow
Mutation
Natural selection
Speciation
Phylogenetics
Phylogenetics
Cladistics
Cladogram
Molecular phylogenetics
Fields
Evolutionary developmental biology
Molecular evolution
Human evolution
Evolutionary psychology
Controversy and social impacts
Creation–evolution controversy
Objections to evolution
Creationism
Intelligent design
Social effect of evolutionary theory





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Common descent" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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