a201-11f-02-WhatEvolutionIs

a201-11f-02-WhatEvolutionIs - Introduction to Biological...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Biological Anthropology: Notes 2 What evolution is and how Darwin became convinced of it Copyright Bruce Owen 2011 - Announcements - Remember to check the class website for reading assignments, announcements, etc. - you can click to it by going to sonoma.edu, click on “Academics”, then click on “Class web pages”, then click on the link for this class: Anth 201 - class user ID and password - Remember to email me a recognizable photo of yourself - so I can attempt to connect your name to your face… - for a dead easy 20 grading points (out of 1000 total) - named like: a201-11f-SimpsonHomer.jpg - email it to me at [email protected] Quiz - You will notice that I cover today’s material fairly differently from the reading in the textbook - pay attention to both! - The term “evolution” refers to (at least) two different things: a fact , and a theory- First, evolution refers to the observed fact that populations of living things change over time - this is an empirical, observable process in nature - contrary to what you sometimes hear, there are many well-documented cases of evolution - I'll mention some examples shortly - Second, evolution also refers to a theory that explains how the observed process of evolution could occur - a theory is just a logical story that we hope helps to make sense of something - we can't actually observe a theory - but we can use it to make predictions or test implications - that is, statements like “if the theory is correct, then we should expect to see x” - if a theory makes logical sense, and if the test implications fit the facts in case after case, we may be convinced that the theory correctly describes what is really going on - in fact, the theory of evolution is so well supported by so many cases and experiments that effectively all biologists and anthropologists believe that it is basically correct. - many scientists do argue about many of the details - but they do not dispute the general theory - once you understand it, you will probably agree, too - The fact of evolution - Here is a preliminary definition of evolution as an observable fact: change in the frequency or magnitude of heritable characteristics of a population of organisms over generations - later on, we will use a more precise definition of evolution in terms of genetics - but this one will do for now - let’s look at some examples before returning to the specifics of this definition - A few of the many examples of evolution actually observed in nature: Intro to Biological Anthro F 2011 / Owen: What evolution is and how Darwin became convinced of it p. 2 - the famous study of “Darwin's finches” on one of the Galapagos islands - Peter and Rosemary Grant attached labels to the legs of almost every single individual of the “medium ground finch” species on the island of Daphne Major, and recorded numerous measurements about each one - they kept updating this census of the birds over several years - over several generations, there was a significant increase in the average depth of the...
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a201-11f-02-WhatEvolutionIs - Introduction to Biological...

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