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Megan Larsen

Anthropology 1020
Fall 2015
Natural Selection Lab Report
1. Introduction
a. The experiment of Darwins 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 birds food and the cups represent the individual
birds 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

Beak Types
Tongs
Clothes Pins
Chopsticks
Tweezers
Hair Clips
Chip Clips
Binder Clips

Total Beaks Per Round:

Data Table
Beginning
5
5
5
5
5
5
2

1
6
4
3
6
5
6
2

2
7
3
2
6
5
8
1

3
8
3
1
4
5
10
1

4
8
3
1
4
4
12
0

5
11
2
0
4
4
11
0

32

32

32

32

32

32

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

c. The evolutionary change in the experiment was that the tongs, chip clips increased in
the population. Binder clips and chopsticks decreased in the population.

4. Conclusion
a. The evidence from the experiment strongly supports my hypothesis. What I didnt 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, its 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 wasnt consistent. A possible
outside factor could be that some people in the experiment werent 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 its
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
birds 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 humans 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 isnt 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.