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Natural Selection

Jill Schettini
BIO 101-102
July 30, 2014
Everything on Earth has evolved from something. Some have only changed in the
smallest ways over thousands of years but many have come such a long way from their
primitive states. Evolution is the way many species survive throughout the ages. The
way that species adapt and evolve is mainly through natural selection. Charles Darwin
was one of the first to discover the process that he called natural selection as a
mechanism for evolution (Starr, Evers & Starr, 2013, p. 194). Many think that natural
selection is the survival of the fittest but in reality it is really about how well an organism
can adapt to its environment. The purpose of this experiment is to simulate natural
selection in the wild by using colored (blue, green, red, yellow and natural) toothpicks in
a grassy area. We think that the green toothpicks will be the most difficult to find as they
blend into the grass.
Materials and Methods:
This experiment has a very simple setup and procedure. We used toothpicks in
five different colors (blue, green, red, yellow and natural) 100 each. We went out to a
grassy area and as a class we lined up with our backs to the instructor. The instructor then
scattered the toothpicks across the area behind the students, when they have finished, the
instructor tells the students to turn around and quickly and as a group walk through the
area picking up any toothpicks they see. The students should all move at that same pace,
with no one lagging behind. When the students reach the end of the area they return to the
lab to count how many of each color was found. Since the toothpicks were divided into
100 each color, the amount we found would be the percentage.

Natural Selection of Toothpicks
!"#"$ & '"()* & +,-.
/#(, 80% 20%
0,##"1 71% 29%
2,* 70% 30%
34.($4# 61% 39%
5$,,) 44% 56%

As the above table indicates, the color of toothpick that was the least adaptive to
its environment was the blue, followed closely by yellow and red. The two colors that
were the most adaptive, with the lowest percentages found were the natural and green.
This data shows that the green toothpicks adapted to the surroundings and in turn less
were found than the other colors.
In doing this experiment the data proved our hypothesis correct, with the green
toothpicks having the lowest number found. This proves how adaptation to ones
surroundings makes their survival rate increase. Although it is not a 100% guarantee that
every single organism in a species will survive, the adaptation to its environment will
increase the likelihood of that species existence. I think that our experiment was a fairly
accurate depiction of natural selection, or at least as much as it can be.


Starr, C., Evers, C. A., & Starr, L. (2013). Bio 101 Fundamentals of Biology (4th ed.).
Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.