Tuesday, March 30, 2010
What are some living organisms that have simple anatomy. Why would there be a selective advantage for simplicity? How does the organisms rudimentary make-up affect structure and function of its biological mechanisms? How does the simplicity affect the evolution of its population (past, present, future)?
Monday, March 29, 2010
What does this mean for the future of medicine? Will antibiotics become obsolete? Is it feasible to ban their use or only use them in certain situations to prolong the effectiveness they still have? What other kinds of medicines are being developed to fight bacteria while antibiotics lose their power? Research, and I implore you to post your findings in response to this post.
Can you name any other deadly vestiges in humans or in other organisms? What are the possible evolutionary histories behind them? How do they affect the organisms ability to survive and reproduce? How may it be considered an evolutionary "roadblock"?
Feel free to discus wisdom teeth or the appendix.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Also, Coyne mentioned that Homo floresiensis may have preyed on Komodo dragons. How could a species that is so closely related to us as to be in the same genus, eat something that is so poisonous to us now?
Also, Coyne says on pg 149 that features such as bright colors and ornaments in animals are molded by a type of sexual selection, mate choice. In plants, who can't choose mates, why did bright colors and ornaments evolve? Give specific examples of plants with bright colors/ornaments, and example why they adapted them.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Why did multicellular organisms suddenly develop during this "Cambrian Explosion"? Consider a wide variety of factors in your answer, and be sure to incorporate outside information. In addition, why were bacteria and single-cell organisms able to survive after the Cambrian Explosion?
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
On Page 230 of his book, Jerry Coyne discusses how humans have introduced choice to how they live their lives, driven by individual perceptions that are shaped by social mores rather than only being guided by the evolutionary goals of survival and reproduction. Notably, he describes the gradual decline of social activities that may be seen as ‘barbaric’ as one aspect in which human individuals have elevated themselves beyond solely evolution. However, in class we have also discussed the existence of altruistic behavior among species that may encourage ‘kindness’ extended to other individuals even at the cost of one’s own chances of survival and reproduction. Taking these factors into account, to what extent can human society today be seen as a result of evolution? (Hint: consider the evolution of nonaggressive, communal social behavior among bonobos vs. the aggressive, individualistic behavior among the common chimp, two species closely related to humans)
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
How does the development of the human embryo relate to gene regulation and expression? Explain the connection between the obsolete DNA in humans and the various stages through which an embryo passes. What examples are there of organs from other types of animals that disappear during embryonic development?
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
What effect does the relatively safe surgical removal of an infected appendix have on the process of natural selection as it pertains to humans and the appendix? Think of how the survival of affected individuals that would otherwise have died impacts future generations. What other examples of medical technology alter patterns of human survival, and how does the increased survival rate affect traits of future generations of humans? (Hint: think vaccines)
Question: How do the multiple "transition animals" from land animal to flightless bird show the adaptive process of evolution? What other adaptions besides wings do the birds evolve over time and how were they adpative? Provide examples of transition animals that exist today.
What traits do we humans have that allow us to be classified with Primates? What traits set us apart?
Brain size, teeth, and locomotion (bipedalism) have been used to differentiate species of hominin fossils that have been found. On page 199, Coyne tells us that "bipedal walking was one of the first evolutionary innovations to distinguish us from other apes", and on page 202 that "our upright posture evolved long before our big brain".
Theorize about the order in which our bipedalism, big brains, and teeth evolved. Include why each trait would have been and important advantage and why it came before and after other traits. Include other hominin species and their advantages (for example, we know that H. erectus could use tools and control fire, and had a brain size "nearly equal to that of modern humans" (Coyne 205)).
Also consider the further evolution of humans. Are we done evolving? Are we just too good at fighting disease and other things that would wipe out those without selective advantages? Or are we part of a continuous arc of evolution that will keep producing humans better suited for life on Earth?
How come domestic dogs can exhibit such variation but still remain just one species?
How is artificial selection evidence for natural selection?
Give some examples of organisms that have been bred for a desirable variant and state their purpose(s).
In your opinion, is there anything wrong with humans imposing their will on the characteristics of other organisms? Why or why not?
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Why does bad design support evolution? What arguments could a Creationist make about bad design to support himself?
Name an organism with a feature that could have been better placed/designed. Explain the bad placement by tracing the evolution of the feature.
Think of a neutral ("neither useful nor injurious") trait, such as an animal's external feature, that seems to have evolved by genetic drift, and argue that it has a selective advantage. Suggest features for other responders to argue for.
Are there any features that are known to have evolved by genetic drift that are obviously helpful, (or that used to be injurious or neutral but are now helpful under different circumstances)? Why is it hard to tell whether helpful features evolved by natural selection or genetic drift?
We also know that "genetic drift is...powerless to create adaptations, but can actually overpower natural selection". Are there any small populations that seem to have unhelpful features that evolved by genetic drift? Name the population, the feature they have, and what makes the feature unhelpful.