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Several stages of human evolution
Evolution is the scientific theory that all living species are descended from a common ancestor.
Evolution is the process by which the genetic material of organisms alters itself, resulting in different inherited traits to the next generation. While generally these differences are small or even imperceptible from generation to generation, they can, over a long period of time, accumulate, causing a considerable change in a population of organisms. Given enough time, this process may lead to the formation of a new species. By slowly and gradually diverging, every species would have evolved from a single, common ancestor. The overwhelming consensus among scientists regarding a theory that explains the causes of evolution is the mechanism of natural selection, independently proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.
Dr. Chandra Suresh developed a hypothesis that humans are undergoing a new stage of evolution. In particular, some people have genetic changes that alter brain development in such a way that they manifest unusual powers. His son Mohinder scoffs at his father's findings, preferring to believe humans are not the top of the evolutionary ladder. He argues for cockroaches instead. However, after his father's death, Mohinder reviews Chandra's research with a skeptic's eye, and begins to unravel a mystery that Mohinder believes to be the reason behind his father's murder.
Mohinder ponders, "Is it evolution that takes us by the hand? Does science point our way?"
Mohinder muses, "When evolution selects its agents, it does so at a cost. ... This force, evolution, is not sentimental." Peter Petrelli shows his brother Nathan a copy of the book by Mohinder's father Chandra Suresh, called Activating Evolution. Mohinder finds a copy of this same book in Sylar's apartment.
Mohinder postulates, "Evolution is an imperfect and often violent process."
Zach gives Claire a copy of Activating Evolution, and points her to the spontaneous regeneration chapter. Mohinder remembers arguing with his father after having read the manuscript for Activating Evolution an unspecified amount of time before. Soon after this, he uncovers his father's encrypted list of evolved humans, discovered through the Human Genome Project.
Sylar quotes from Chandra's book, citing an "evolutionary imperative" that affects creature behavior. Later Sylar cites that phrase again, just before hitting Brian Davis in the head with a paperweight.
On Charles Deveaux's rooftop, Peter asks about Claude's pigeons. Claude says Charles Darwin bred pigeons while working on his theory of evolution, matching different genes to reach their "maximum potential". When Peter asks what that means, Claude says he believes it means someone like Peter.
Sylar tells Mohinder that he is a natural progression of the species, and that evolution is "a part of nature and nature kills" after he declares his lust for a new list of evolved humans. Mohinder tells Sylar that what he is doing is not evolution — it's murder.
Over the phone, Sylar tells Mohinder that he is about to kill a lot more people. He continues saying that he understood his acts of murder before, he killed to take what others didn't deserve and that it was natural selection.
"You use a phrase in your book. Evolutionary imperative."
"That which we are destined to do."
"Sea turtles die on the same exact beach where they were born, lions slaughter gazelles, spiders eat their young. They don't want to. They have to."
"I'm a natural progression of the species. Evolution is a part of nature and nature kills. Simple, right?"
"I understood it before the killing, I had a reason - to take what others didn't deserve. It was natural selection."
- For other uses of evolution, see evolution (disambig).
- Understanding Evolution page by the University of California at Berkeley.
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