Watch this video about the evolution of the Rock Pocket Mouse. As you watch think about how this example meets the requirements for evolution by natural selection.
- Heritable Variation - What variation is found in the fur color of the mice? Is the fur color trait caused by a gene?
- Reproductive Advantage - Does one version of the trait allow for some individuals to have more offspring than other individuals? How does that version of the trait provide some individuals to be more likely to have offspring?
Dr. Nachman and his colleagues were studying the evolution of the rock pocket mouse. They wanted to see if they could recreate the circumstances that resulted in the diversity of color in rock pocket mouse color. They introduced a large population of variegated mice into the lava-covered landscape. Each month they collected 50 mice and recorded the amount of dark fur each mouse had on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 = 100% dark fur). They wanted to know if the mice would evolve by natural selection over the course of the five-year experiment.
- Make a prediction about what will happen to the mouse coloration over the course of 5 years.
- Make a graph of the data. Make a bar graph with the month 1 data in one color and the month 60 data in another color. Color score should be on the x-axis.
3. CER: Did the mice evolve? Use the information in the graphs, and your understanding of natural selection, to explain the color changes that have occurred in the mouse population over the 5 year timeline.
Claim: Did the mice evolve by natural selection?
Evidence: Use at least two data points that support your claim.
Reasoning: How does natural selection occur? How does the data show that natural selection occurred?
Your reasoning must include the following:
Define evolution by natural selection.
Describe the "helpful" trait and the variation that exists in the population so that some individuals are born with the "helpful" trait and some are not.
Describe the heritability of the trait. Make sure you refer to the name of the gene responsible for the different versions of the trait.
Describe the reproductive advantage that results in more offspring with the "helpful" trait.
4. Check the grading requirements for both the graph and the CER assignments. These are summative assessments.
5. Submit your graphs and CER to the correct assignment pages.