Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!

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The thoery of evolution suggests that any species has the ability to better itself, by random genetic mutations that occur. These mutations can alter the individual's physical shape or the inner workings of the body so that organs may change their shape or size or the immune system may develop a different reaction twards disease. After the mutation has occured, it's up to nature to test that change in real life. If the change benefits the individual, the individual is most likely to have a better chance of survival. Otherwise, the individual will most likely die and the faulty mutation will be discarded.
However, these processes last thousands of years due to the slow rate of mutations as well as the lifespan of the individual.
The concept of survival of the fittest is backed up by the evidence of fossils that show the gradual changes of species and even adaptation to a different habitat (Such as whales that are mammals yet have chosen to go back into the ocean.)
Charles Darwin has suggested the idea, and the concept has been rejected for many years as a result of the church's opposition (The theory contradicts the bible) however, it is very much accepted nowadays.