This week’s reading is section 18-1 (“Understanding Evolution”), 18-2 (“Formation of New Species”), 19-1 (“Population Evolution”) and 20.1 (“Organizing Life on Earth) of the course textbook,

This week’s reading is section 18-1 (“Understanding Evolution”), 18-2 (“Formation of New Species”), 19-1 (“Population Evolution”) and 20.1 (“Organizing Life on Earth) of the course textbook, which is accessible through the Syllabus or through the course’s “Textbooks” page.

Optional: If you are having difficulties grasping particular concepts from the textbook or if you want to explore them more in details, you could watch videos about evolution on Khan Academy at “Khan Academy Biology/Evolution and the Tree of Life”. The videos are categorized and named according to the concept they explain, so it should be easy to find those that are relevant to study

Part 1

An adaptation or adaptive trait is a trait/characteristic that has evolved in a population of organisms which provides a functional advantage. Adaptations increase the biological fitness of a population. Fitness is defined as the ability to survive and pass genes on to subsequent generations.

For the purposes of this assignment, you are to choose an adaptive trait common to more than one species. For example, birds and bats both have wings. Write a 2-3 page (500 – 750 words, 12 point font) paper including the following elements. Be sure to compose your work with your own words. Do not copy and paste from any source.

  • Describe what makes this trait an adaptation.
  • Briefly describe how the trait evolved; e.g., mutation, genetic drift, migration and/or natural selection. Be sure to support your answer with evidence.
  • What is the difference between homologous and analogous traits? How does your trait of choice fit either of these descriptions?
  • What is convergent and divergent evolution? Describe whether the trait is a result of convergent or divergent evolution.
  • Use in-text citation and provide source references for at least 3 sources. The textbook can be one source. When citing articles or other types of documents, follow standard guidelines as introduced on “Citing references in scientific research papers”.

Part 2

In your assigned readings, you learned how evidence is used to support the theory of evolution. Using examples, briefly discuss how evidence is used to support evolution. Do you agree with the use of this data/evidence? Explain your position.

Be sure to use in text citation and provide references for your sources. While not required for this discussion, you may use outside resources. Any materials cited in this course should be referenced using the APA style guidelines.