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Anthropology 1020 ePortfolio Signature Assignment

Human Origins Mon and Wed. 8:30-9:50

Changhun Kim

Darwins Finches Lab Report/ ePortfolio Signature Assignment

A finch is a species of bird very common in the Galapagos Islands; the group of
islands along the coast of Ecuador. These birds had lived to play a huge roll according to
Charles Darwins theory of natural selection. In 1835, Darwin went the islands for five
weeks. During these weeks, he studies the different kinds of finches that were on different
islands. He recognized that the birds were different depending on which island he was on, but
the birds were all still from the same species. Darwin noticed that the birds had adapted their
beak shape to fit their diet. Birds that ate insects generally had longer, thinner beaks, and
birds that ate seeds and nuts had shorter, wider beaks. [1]
On the Galapagos Islands, one team of volunteers is researching how Finches are still
evolving. With the introduction of the Philornis downsi fly, which have been present on the
islands since the 1960s. These flies lay eggs in the Finches nests and eat the blood and tissue
of the young birds. These researchers have noticed that anywhere between 30-97% of all
Finch chicks die each year. [2] The research focused on two related issues:

How to control the Philornis parasite

How physical changes due to Philornis are shaping evolutionary change in Darwins

The chopsticks will be the least successful, they will decrease gradually and be the
first beaks to go extinct. I chose this hypothesis because I believe it will be harder to pick up
seeds with a longer, very narrow beak. Also, that it will be much easier to pick them up with a
shorter, wider beak depending on environment.

Materials and Methods:

In class, we performed a Natural selection activity with all thirty four students. Each
student was given their own beak and had to pick up seeds from the table. Cup is stomach,
seeds are food. The different tools to pick up seeds are beaks, and all room is ecosystem.
Three students with the most seed at the end of 60 seconds would pass their beak to their

offspring. Meaning that they would keep their beak, but also give one to one of the three
people who got the least seeds, who would lose their original beaks. We did this for 5 rounds.

The 6 (7 after a mutation) beaks were as follows:

5 Tweezers
5 hair clips
6 Clothes pins
6 Chopsticks
6 Chip chips
6 Binder clips
1 Tongs (an unfavorable mutation in round 2)

Findings for each round:

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5


7 (+2)




Hair clips

Clothes pins








Chip clips






Binder chips











Binder chips
Chip clips
Clothes pins
Hair clips


Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4



Round 5

As shown in the above chart and graphs, the tweezers are the most effective in
picking up the seeds. Clothespins are for the least effective, it is ended with two remaining.

My hypothesis that chopsticks would be the least effective in picking up seeds was
proved wrong. However, Chopsticks decreased at first and second round.
There are several different factors that contributed to this study. Mostly, is that
everyone is at a different skill level with their beaks. For example, several people didnt even
know how to use chopsticks, while others were very skilled with them. Also, the number of
seeds available affected the outcome a little. Some people had more seeds in front of them,
and some had to go elsewhere to find seeds. Some beaks also provided protection from other
people trying to steal their seeds.

The Scientific Method is a very important method to use when researching anything.
The steps are as follows: Observation/Research, Hypothesis, Prediction, Experiment,
By using these five steps, ideas become more thought through and calculated, and are
proven correct or false. Almost every field in science uses the Scientific Method; in fact,


anyone who is trying to test anything out should be using it.

In this experiment, we used the Scientific Method to make an educated guess on
what beak would me the most or least effective for picking up seeds. We then got to test it out
and see the results for ourselves. After, we got to make conclusions about what we saw
happen, and state if our hypothesis was correct or incorrect.
The theory of Natural Selection explains that animals adapt to their surroundings to
survive. Throughout time, almost all species (if not all) have adapted in one way or another
to their surroundings. The Finches on the Galapagos Islands are a good example, but not the
only one. It is believed that Giraffes once had shorter necks, but grew longer necks as the
need to reach the leaves on the top of trees increased. However, the example that makes it
clear to me is that of the field mice in New Mexico.
Tan field mice in a specific region of a New Mexico desert were very common,
because the tan grass and dirt would camouflage them from predators. But when they would
go onto the black lava rock that was also a big part of that region, they would stand out to
predators. Researchers noticed a rice in grey mice on the lava rock. The mice had adapted to
their surroundings and had started breeding dark mice to protect them from predators when
they lived on the lava rock.

The underlying assumptions of Natural Selection are as follows:

1. Natural Biological Variation Favorable, Unfavorable, Neutral

2. Inheritance
3. Competition for Survival There are more living things than there are resources
4. Individuals with favorable variation are more likely to survive and leave more

This activity was the perfect opportunity to explain Natural Selection. The offspring will
generally get some of the same traits as the original animals (like beak shape) and also thrive
and have a lot of offspring. Therefore, in that certain region, there will be animals that are
more adapted to living there and thriving.

[1] "Darwin's Finches." Darwin's Finches. Truth in Science. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
[2] "Darwin's Finches and Natural Selection in the Galapagos." Darwin's Finches and
Natural Selection in the Galapagos. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.