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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

About this Course 

SESSION 4

SESSION 4: What Are the Processes for Evolution?

Elaborate Part B: The Galapagos Finch Study

Biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant have spent over 25 years studying the finches of the Galapagos Islands. They have been able to observe natural selection in a population of finches, something Darwin thought would not be possible in a person's lifetime.

To learn about their research, read "Natural Selection in Real Time."

Review Grants' Finch Study Data (pdf) to think about how this data supports the following postulates of natural selection:

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Individuals within a population vary in their traits.

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Some of these variable traits are heritable -- passed on to offspring.

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More offspring are produced than can survive because of limited resources such as food and nesting sites.

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Individuals with advantageous traits will survive and reproduce.

Using this data, summarize the evidence that natural selection occurred among the finches on Daphne Major.

 



Now compare your answers to the Answer Key to Darwin's Finches.

 
Taking it back to your classroom.

See the activity Darwin's Finches in the Evolution Teacher's Guide Unit 4, for a similar activity you can use with your students.

Taking it further

Read "Natural Selection and Darwin's Finches" (Scientific American, 1991), or The Beak of the Finch (see Resources List) for a more in-depth look at natural selection and the Galapagos Finches.

 

Next: Elaborate Part C: Convergent Evolution

 
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