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Darwins Natural Selection Case Studies

Name: Pnotporn Jantarakolica, SooYoung Yoon


1) There are 2 types of worms: worms that eat at night (nocturnal) and worms that eat during the day
(diurnal). The birds eat during the day and seem to be eating ONLY the diurnal worms. The nocturnal
worms are in their burrows during this time. Due to bird predation and other factors, not all worms
produced live to the age of reproduction.
a. What worm has natural selection selected AGAINST? Diurnal traits causes more of them to die because
they live during the day when the birds are eating/finding food causes them to be the prey of the birds.
FOR? Nocturnal traits causes more of them to survive because the birds do not hunt during the night which
means that they are safe and have more chances to survive.
Darwin's points: Identify the points in the scenario above.
Overproduction (more offspring produced than survive). Nocturnal worms and diurnal worms will keep
reproducing, however, the chances of the diurnal worms surviving will be less than the nocturnal which
eventually leads to none of diurnal worms existance.
Population has heritable variation. Nocturnal trait (live at night) and diurnal trait (live in the day)
Struggle to survive The diurnal worms struggle to survive from the predatorial birds.
Differential Reproduction (those with better variation survive and reproduce). The nocturnal worm has
better trait because they live during the night and that lead towards them surviving and reproducing more
offspring.
How the population will change over time. There will be an increase in nocturnal worms and a decline in
diurnal worms.
2)

In ostriches, there are 2 types: ones that run fast and those that run
slowly. The fast birds can reach up to 50 miles an hour. Jackals love to eat
ostrich, and they can reach speeds of up to 35-40 miles per hour. Due to
predation and other factors, not all ostrich produced live to the age of
reproduction.
a. What ostrich will natural selection select AGAINST? The slow running Ostriches would have less chance
of surviving because the jackals would successfully hunt them. FOR? The faster running Ostriches would
have more chance of surving because the jackals would not be able to catch up towards their speed.
Darwin's points: Identify the points in the scenario above.
Overproduction (more offspring produced than survive). The fast and slow ostriches would keep
reproducing, however, the slow ostriches would get extincted due to the fact that it kept declining due to
jackals hunting them. On the other hand, the fast ostriches will reproduce more and does not get decline
since the jackals arent able to hunt them down.
Population has heritable variation. Fast ostriches and slow ostriches
Struggle to survive the slow ostriches struggles to survive because the jackals will keep hunting them
down.
Differential Reproduction (those with better variation survive and reproduce) The fast ostriches has a
better trait because they run faster and does not get hunted easily and leads toward them to reproduce
more offsprings.
How the population will change over time. There will be an increase of fast ostriches and the decline of
slow ostriches.
3) There are two types of rabbits: those that strictly eat grass and those that strictly eat berries and flowers.
A drought occurs one year, and the plants have difficulty producing any extras (flowers, berries, etc.).

They can only try and keep themselves green. Due to drought and other factors such as predation, not all
rabbits produced live to the age of reproduction.
a. What rabbit will natural selection select AGAINST? The berries and flowers eating rabbits
would have less chance of surviving because there is a drought that occurred and causes less
production of flowers and berries. FOR? The grass eating rabbits would have more chance of
surviving because plants would try to keep themselves green instead of reproducing flowers
and berries.
Darwin's points: Identify the points in the scenario above.
Overproduction (more offspring produced than survive) The grass eating and berries and flower eating
rabbits would keep reproducing. However, the population of berries and flowers eating rabbits would
decline due to drought. On the other hand, grass eating rabbits population would increase compared to
the berries and flower eating rabbits because it is not affected by the drought.
Population has heritable variation. Grass eating rabbits and berries and flowers eating rabbits
Struggle to survive The berries and flowers eating rabbit would struggle to survive because they would
face drought and there would be no food for them.
Differential Reproduction (those with better variation survive and reproduce) The grass eating rabbits
would survive more because their food is not affected therefore they are not affected by drought.
How the population will change over time. There will be an increase in the grass eating rabbit and decline
in the berries and flower eating rabbit.

4) Within one main area of the African Savanna, there are two types of giraffes, one with
shorter necks and one with very long necks.
a) How does length of neck affect the giraffes chances for survival? The one with longer
neck will have more chance of surviving because they could get more food since they can
reach to a higher position than the shorter neck.
b) Say a species of insect comes through the giraffes habitat, wiping out all of the
grasses and bushes, leaving only trees. How will this affect the giraffes in the area?
Will it affect the two types of giraffes differently?
The giraffe will have lesser food because the grasses and bushes are part of their food and they are
destroyed. It will affect the two types of giraffe but the shorter neck giraffe will be affected more because
they are not able to reach high places in the tree while the long neck giraffes could.
c) Bob believes that giraffes have long necks because they have stretched their necks to try and reach
food that is high in trees. Since the parent had stretched its neck, it passed the long neck on to its
offspring. a) Based on what you know about natural selection, what is wrong with Bob's argument? b)
Whose theory does this most sound like? c) Using Darwins theory of natural selection, explain how the
giraffes would have acquired long necks over time.
a) He follows Lammarks theory which does not happen due to the fact that Characteristics of animals
arent acquired through their changes in experience. It has to change due to genetic evolution.
b) Lammarks theory Inheritance of acquired characteristics
c) The ones that had initially had the long necks would survive more rather than the short necks and
would reproduce more of them while the short necks ones die out and get extincted.