The change that evolution undergoes is blind, it doesn't have the outcome of intelligent life as its aim, there is no conciousness to guide it. Saying that a non biological, personal thing such as craving and desire can affect a population of biological entities is making a huge leap. I will concede that craving (although I resent to use that word, for reasons I shall explore momentarily) in some ways can affect biology, desire for sex can lead to new life, the craving for food can affect survival etc, and these no doubt have effects upon populations. However, if you are making such an argument you have to be careful when using words such as 'craving and desire' because, at least to me this words imply sort of concious, thought driven process - a thought process that I would say animals lack entirely.
An animal operates on instinct, I doubt that a dog would be capable of thinking "I really fancy a steak and kidney pie" a dogs instinct is to eat what it can get, not developing addictions, and attachments - simply fulfilling it's body's needs. Craving and desire, especially from a Buddhist perspective is about patterns, habits and attachments. I would say to crave and to desire are a uniquely human thing (or at least in the way we generally understand the term), here's why:
All animals have instinct, this is a primal biological need, there is no fluff around it, its simply organisms doing what they do to survive. Humans have instinct, desire for food, sex, safety etc, however craving and desire, as we understand them are, I would argue a human construction on top of basic instincts. Humans have an incredible ability to piece together their surroundings and make sense of the big picture. I shall illustrate this with an example. If there were rhinoceros tracks leading in a certain direction across the dirt - an animal would not be able to deduce from that, that those tracks come from a rhino's foot, they lead in X direction and this means the rhino is that-a-way, whereas humans are uniquely capable of making such deductions. This being able to make sense of things in our surroundings is one thing that influences our craving, because we are able to deduce A+B+C = D and D feels pleasurable in some way so what we need to do is bring A, B, and C onto the scene and we can achieve D. Perhaps other animals take pleasure in D, but they do not possess the ability to deduce what brought it about. When humans know how to bring about a certain pleasurable experience, they can repeat it as often as possible, or at least attempt to repeat it, this what leads to patterns of addictive behaviour.
Perhaps animals can form simple addiction-like patterns when the equation would be a lot simpler and therefore much more likely that they stood a chance of working out how to get D. A+B = C would be simple enough for a few animals, however the human mind is capable of deducing things far beyond the capacity of animals (A+B-C+D+E+F+G = H for a random example) and we have the intelligence to be able to set up those things if we can. This makes our world of pleasures a lot larger than those of animals. I would say that this world of pleasures that has opened up due to our ability to know what makes us feel good, how to achieve it, the fact that we can bring these things to life in our imagination (another uniquely human attribute), our ways of reasoning these are things I would say are directly implied by the term craving and desire, rather than basic instinct.
If we imagine a scenario that might help demonstrate what I mean. Someone is hungry - that's the instinct, your body tells you that you need food. Where humans would differ from animals is that animals eat what they can get, maybe some intelligent animals get to a point where they can form the beginnings of what we might call 'pickiness' where the resources are in abundance so they can choose one favourite food over another, but this couldn't be confused with the extreme pickiness of humans. Desire may exist in primitive forms in the more intelligent species on the planet, but it is very limited and not not overly open to what we would call attachments and desires in the complex sense. The realm of desire and craving truly opens up at the level where the human can think "If I get some strawberries, mix them with some ice cream and put some whipped cream on the top I could eat something really pleasurable and tasty to satisfy my hunger" this process of being able to logically understand our environment adds such a depth to our world, food doesn't mean a means of survival, we can create it into a pleasurable experience, bring about ourselves the conditions for the release of certain pleasurable chemicals in our brains and get attached to certain ways of feeling.
Then of course you have the cognitive dissonance of the desire to eat tasty food and the desire to remain healthy and attractive. The meeting of these two opposites can further complicate things, perhaps to name one example off the top of my head; a kind of cyclic pattern of behaviour where one would eat a lot for a period of time, then go into a health crazy for a time over and over again. At a human level desire and craving are a highly complex web that involve parts of our uniquely human conciousness. If you wish to refer to desire and craving in animals, its important to understand that it is nothing like our world of desire and craving. This should be distinguished when discussing the terms, that human desire and craving is the not the same as animal desire and craving. Also its probably fair to say that if you are going to get specific every single species would have its own different form of desire.
For us humans however, we possess a unique form of intelligence that distinguishes our human desire and craving greatly different from that of animals. I feel a distinction has to be made because generally we interpret 'desire and craving' to mean the human level of craving and desire as opposed to the animal level which would be very different and hard to comprehend and should not really be referred to with the words desire and craving because those words point towards a uniquely human psychology - the one we identify with, rather than ones we cannot understand or identify with.
Why did I go through that long winded rambling? I'm not sure entirely (this post is very free form), but I'll try to answer it. Firstly its the fact that Ajahm Brahm doesn't make a distinction between human desire and craving and animal instincts which may mislead the listener into thinking that animals may possess some kind of human-like cognitive form desire and craving, rather than a more basic instinctual version - which is not correct.
These basic instincts have arisen not as a start point for evolution, but as a by product of it. Its handy for the survival of an organism if it knows when it's hungry and if it is attracted to the opposite sex. An awful lot of animal behaviour is genetic, dictated by genes rather than intelligence, where as our behaviour is severely dictated by our psychology and intelligence. Desire and craving are only a by product of evolution, and so is intelligence. They are not the cause or the force behind it. The genes for certain instinctual behaviour are selected by natural selection as a means for the genes to be passed on from one generation to the next. We are a machine to protect our genes essentially, from a purely evolutionary stand point (this does not mean we should generate a philosophy around this fact, but it's essentially true) whether it be instinct, or intelligence - these things are favoured by natural selection because they increase the chances of the genes surviving. The fact that we desire and crave is not a force behind evolution, it is merely a successful adaptation and is therefore favoured by natural selection.
How could craving and desire impact evolution? A lot of speciation events occur due to a change in geographic location - when a gene pool is separated by a mountain range for example, perhaps some of the population found themselves crossing the mountain in a harsh drought in search of food. This was not, however a concious, if we go over that mountain there might be more food, it was more like a chance event; the animal searches for food and a few of them accidentally cross a pass in the mountains and end up separated from their relatives. It wasn't a concious desire to cross a mountain, it was the urge for food in harsh conditions. The animals would have stayed together if the drought hadn't occurred, it is not desire that drives evolution, its the environment.
If the environment was steady and there was enough resources there wouldn't be much adaptation going on. The environment and external events drive evolution, not internal desires. The animals didn't desire to cross the mountains, the conditions led to the animals crossing them, but it wasn't driven by the animal suddenly and whimsically deciding it would be nice to cross that mountain there.
Natural selection is not going to listen to what we want, what we like and what we need. The world is constantly changing, we might not want things to change but the conditions will force them to. The forces of nature do not listen to our whims, we at their mercy. Craving and desire ultimately have no impact on nature. To say they do is misleading and can potentially lead to harmful outcomes.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."