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Megan Larsen

Anthropology 1020

Fall 2015

Natural Selection Lab Report

1. Introduction

a. The experiment of Darwin’s finches first started when he observed that the vegetation and animals of the Galapagos Islands shared many similarities as the ones on the mainland of South America. Darwin collected 13 varieties of finches which all represented they were a related group; but some of their physical characteristics were different, specifically their beaks. Darwin realized all the finches he collected had descended from a common ancestor and all have been changed over time in response to

different island habitats and foods. For example, heavier beaks are for finches that have to crack through the shell of seeds and finches with slender beaks tend to eat insects which they have to find in small holes in the ground.

b. Hypothesis.

i. My hypothesis is that the tongs will increase in frequency and the chopsticks will decrease in frequency.

ii. The way I developed this hypothesis was from prior knowledge of using both instruments to pick up food. In my past experiences I have learned that chopsticks are more difficult to use than tong, which are fairly easy.

2. Materials and Methods

a. The materials used for this experiment were sunflower seed, small Dixie paper cups, tongs, clothes pins, chopsticks, tweezers, hair clips, chip clips, binder clips, paper, and a pencil.

b. For this experiment, there were seven types of clamping devices to represent the beak styles of different types of birds. Among the class, the different types of beaks were handed out, one beak per person and five of each clap except only two for the binder clips. Sunflower seeds represent the bird’s food and the cups represent the individual bird’s stomach (one cup per person). By using the “beaks” each person must pick up as many seeds as possible and put them into their cup (stomach) one seed at a time within a one minute time frame. At the end of each round, the three people with the least amount of seeds “die off” and inherit the same “beak” as one of the three people with the most seeds. Make sure to make a graph of your findings and keep track of how many beaks survive through five rounds of collecting seeds.

3.

Results

a. Include a data table, properly titled and labeled

Data Table

 

Beak Types

Beginning

1

2

3

4

5

Tongs

5

6

7

8

8

11

Clothes Pins

5

4

3

3

3

2

Chopsticks

5

3

2

1

1

0

Tweezers

5

6

6

4

4

4

Hair Clips

5

5

5

5

4

4

Chip Clips

5

6

8

10

12

11

Binder Clips

2

2

1

1

0

0

Total Beaks Per Round:

32

32

32

32

32

32

b. Include a graph of the results, properly titled and labeled

Include a graph of the results, properly titled and labeled c. The evolutionary change in the

4.

Conclusion

a. The evidence from the experiment strongly supports my hypothesis. What I didn’t know was that chip clips would also increase in the population just as much as tongs. Also that binder clips would decrease as much as chopsticks in the population.

b. Referring to the data, it’s illustrated that tongs only increased in the population starting with five and ending with eleven people using tongs as “beaks”. With the same data, one can tell that chopsticks decreased in the population because there was originally five sets and at the end of testing there were zero.

c. Possible errors in this experiment are probably that the experiment was short three people so only two binder clips were used instead of five, like every other type of “beak”. Throughout the experiment, the sunflower seeds started to break so that could have an effect on the end results since the seed amount wasn’t consistent. A possible

outside factor could be that some people in the experiment weren’t as involved so possible favorable “beaks” became extinct or decreased in population.

d. If other researchers were to replicate an experiment to evaluate its validness it’s probably because of skepticism or out of pure curiosity.

5. Discussion

a. The scientific method consists of four parts; identifying a problem, stating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, and collecting data from the test. The scientific method is a very important part of any job, but it is used frequently in many science fields such as Cultural, Linguistic, and Biological Anthropology. These are just a few of the scientific fields where the scientific method is used frequently to help with theories and questions.

b. The activity demonstrated the use of the scientific method by starting with identifying the problem of which “beak” can pick up the most amount of seeds in a set amount of time. I made a hypothesis of what I thought the outcome of the testing would be and while testing my hypothesis I made sure to collect the data that was shown through the test.

c. The theory of evolution by natural selection is evolution over time with the idea that favorable variations will increase in a population. The opposite goes for unfavorable variations, which will decrease in a population.

d. This activity simulated the theory of evolution by natural selection by making all the students in the class act as birds in a population. The object that were being used as the bird’s beaks were like traits given to birds at birth, it cannot be changed. Over time, when not as successful “beaks” would fail that would be like a bird dying and slowly dying off. The favorable objects to pick up the seeds increased in our classroom population the same way that a bird with a specific favorable beak would increase in a population. The more successful birds in the population will thrive while unsuccessful birds lose and die off.

e. A human example of evolution by natural selection is human’s unfavorable variation for wisdom teeth. Over time, the human jaw has become smaller making the human mouth too small to hold wisdom teeth. When there isn’t enough room for them they push the rest of the teeth in the human mouth forward causing them to crowd and overlap. Many people need surgery to remove these teeth, but over time, some have been born without wisdom teeth. 35 percent of people are already born without wisdom teeth. Many others are born with just one, two or three wisdom teeth. When a trait is no longer

necessary, evolution tends to favor the elimination of that trait to save on the unnecessary energy expenditure it takes to develop it.”(Nelson)

6.

References

Work Cited

PBS. "Adaptive Radiation: Darwin's Finches." PBS. PBS, 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Truthinscience. "Truth in Science." Darwin's Finches. N.p., 2005. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Sato, Akie. "Molecular Biology and Evolution." On the Origin of Darwin's Finches. Oxford University, 24 Oct. 2000. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Nelson, Bryan. "Projecting Human Evolution: 5 Traits We Might Possess in the Future." MNN. N.p., 2 May 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.