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For the Week Two assignment, class members will investigate how adaptations are a product of natural selection. Select one of the options and then follow the instructions below to develop a three-to four-page
paper discussing the adaptations and selective pressure of your chosen species or group of species.
The paper should not include direct quotes but instead be written in your own words, paraphrasing academic sources as needed to develop content. There are several videos in this week’s required and recommended reading list to help you get started. If you need clarification or additional guidance, feel free to post questions in the Ask Your Instructor Forum or email me.
Options: Select one of the following five choices:
- Cheetahs can run faster than 60 miles per hour when chasing prey. How would a biologist explain how cheetahs evolved to run this fast, assuming their ancestors could only run 20 miles per hour?
- Bee pollinators are known to prefer yellow and blue flowers with nectar guides and a landing platform. How would a biologist explain the evolution of yellow and blue flowers, given that the first flowering plants where likely white and pink?
- Polar bears have white fur that blends in well with their arctic environment. The white fur is a type of camouflage that helps bears hunt seals. The polar bear ancestor is thought to have evolved from bears that had brown fur. How would a biologist explain the change from brown fur to white fur in polar bears?
- Molecular evidence shows that dogs are descended from gray wolves that were domesticated about 130,000 years ago. Suppose you wanted to turn a pack of wolves into a pack of poodles? Describe your strategy and explain why it would work.
- Plants with the C4 photosynthetic pathway have the ability to use water efficiently in warm, dry climates. C4 plants have evolved from C3 plants and first arose in grasses, probably during the Oligocene epoch (24–35 million yrs. ago). How can a biologist explain how C4 plants evolved?
Your paper should include the following points in your response to the above selection.
- Define natural selection and describe the two general conditions that lead to natural selection. Explain what conditions could have led to natural selection in your species or group of species.
- Explain the difference between your species genotype and phenotype and the role each has in natural selection.
- Describe processes other than natural selection that can alter the patterns of genetic variation in the species you selected.
- Explain how your species adaptations reflect trade-offs and constraints imposed by the physical environment and/or species interactions.
- Predict how increasing global temperatures will affect the adaptations of your chosen species. If you selected an animal, be specific with regards to body size and thermoregulation. If you selected a group of plant species, be specific to photosynthetic rates as well as water demand and use.
- The paper should include an introductory paragraph briefly describing your selection followed by a one-to two-sentence overview of the topics that you will discuss.
- The paper should end with a summary by reviewing the main points discussed and then drawing a conclusion.
- Use the following terminology in your paper: dominant allele, phenotype, phenotypic plasticity, genetic variation, selective agent, genetic differentiation, genotype, mutations, gene flow, assortative mating, random and non-random mating.
The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection
- Must be double-spaced and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must reference at least three academic journal articles from the library databases (EBSCOHost, JSTOR, ProQuest) in addition to the course text. You may also use any of the assigned or recommended reading materials from the course.