Anthropology assignment

Darwin and Lamarck Assignment: The goal of this assignment is for you to gain a clear understanding of the differences between Lamarck’s hypothesis and Darwin’s theory and to clearly understand how natural selection works to change populations of organisms over time. Below are two descriptions of events surrounding Darwin’s Finches. One scenario reflects Lamarck’s hypothesis and one scenario reflects Darwin’s hypothesis.

Your Assignment:

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1) Copy each scenario below into a word file and label each scenario appropriately- as either Darwin’s Natural Selection theory or Lamarck’s hypothesis of Inheritance of

Acquired Characteristics.

2) For each scenario you need to use all of the components and link them with the

appropriate sentence in the scenario. For example, in each scenario there is a sentence on environment change. This is number 1 for Lamarck and number 5 for Darwin, so you would put a 1 or 5 in front of the sentence, depending on which scenario you are working on.

(1) or (5) “A drought hits the island and there is no rain for 550 days.

There may be more than one sentence that reflects the component. You only need to

mark one example (sentence) for each component. Each scenario should have a number

for all of the components. You should use all of the components for each scenario. In Lamarck’s scenario there are 4 components and for Darwin’s scenario there are 6 components. If you are confused as to what to do, post your question on the Main discussion board, or as a last resort look ahead to my notes at the end.

3) Answer the three questions at the end of the two scenarios. One word answers are

okay for the first two questions, the last question make sure to explain WHY you gave the

answer that you did.


Assignment scenarios- Two species of birds, the cactus finch and the medium ground finch, exist on Daphne Major, one of the Galapagos Islands. The cactus finch eats cactus nectar and the medium ground finch eats seeds. The beaks of the finches are instrumental in their ability to get food. The size and shape of the finch’s beak determines what food they are able to eat. The cactus finch’s beak allows them to get the nectar out of cactus flowers and the medium ground finch’s beak allows them to crack and eat seeds.

Scenario #1 ________________________________ (Darwin or Lamarck?)

All of the medium ground finches are very similar in their beak size and shape. A drought hits the island and there is no rain for 550 days. Most all of the smaller seeds that the medium ground finches eat are consumed and the medium ground finches start dying off. The only seeds left are quite large and hard. Some of the medium ground finches are able to change their beak size and adapt to the changing environment. These finches adapt and change their beaks to be able to crack the only seeds that are left in the environment, large, hard seeds. The finches that are able to change their beaks are able to survive the change in their food source and live to produce offspring. The offspring of the surviving finches are born with the larger beaks that their parents developed in their lifetime. The population of medium ground finches is now different, it has evolved. The finches now have larger beaks and are able to eat larger and harder seeds.

Scenario #2 _____________________________________ (Darwin or Lamarck?)

The population of medium ground finches is highly variable in their individual beak size and shape. Some of the finches have smaller, shorter, weaker beaks and others have larger, deeper, stronger beaks. A drought hits the island and there is no rain for 550 days. There is now a limited supply of seeds on the island. Fairly quickly all of the smaller, easier to crack seeds are eaten. The finches that have smaller, shorter beaks go hungry and start to die off. The medium ground finches with larger beaks are able to crack the larger, harder seeds, they live longer and reproduce offspring. The offspring inherit their parents larger beaks. The population of medium ground finches is now different. Overall a majority of the medium ground finches now have larger, deeper beaks and there are very few finches with smaller, shorter beaks.

Components of Lamarck’s hypothesis of use/disuse or inheritance of acquired characteristics

1. Environments change

2. Individuals within a species are similar in the traits that they possess

3. Individuals bodies change in response to environmental change, and variation is created during an individuals lifetime (there is a fluid in the body that can be activated by the will or needs of the organism).

4. Variation created within an individual’s lifetime is inherited or acquired by their offspring

Components of Darwin’s theory of natural selection

1. Variation exists (in traits, among individuals within a species)

2. Competition exists

3. Environment selects desirable traits, as evidenced by fitness (differential reproductive success)

4. Traits are inherited by offspring

5. Environments change

6. Populations evolve over time

Three Questions to answer:

1. What is the key trait of selection among the finches?

2. What are the finches competing over?

3. Is the competition within or between species? Briefly explain why you gave the answer that you did.