Natural Selection Lab Report Introduction This experiment is based upon the findings and research on Darwin’s Finches on the Galapagos Islands. These finches share a common ancestor from the mainland of South America. These finches are all similar in appearance except for the notable difference in beak types. In an article by Dr. Robert Rothman it states, “Darwin's finches share similar size, coloration, and habits. Their salient difference is in the size and shape of their beak “(Rothman 1). It is these beak types that demonstrate “microevolution” by natural selection and enable others to document and truly understand how the theory of evolution works. Recent experiments have been conducted on Darwin’s finches by Peter R. Grant and Rosemary Grant on the effects of evolution and how there are many factors that contribute to it. “Evolution can be predicted in the short term from a knowledge of selection and inheritance. However, in the long term evolution is unpredictable because environments, which determine the directions and magnitudes of selection coefficients, fluctuate unpredictably. These two features of evolution, the predictable and unpredictable, are demonstrated in a study of two populations of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos island of Daphne Major.” (Grant 1) This study of Darwin’s finches has truly opened the doors to understanding evolution and the process of natural selection. Hypothesis The Chopsticks will decrease in frequency due to the lack of skill in using them and the bulkiness of the sticks in picking up the peanuts. Materials and Methods Materials The materials used in this experiment included various “beak types” namely, tongs, clothes pins, chopsticks, binder clips, tweezers, chip clips, large hair clips, and small hair clips. The food supply was also provided it being peanuts. A cup and timer were also used in this experiment. Methods In this experiment, peanuts were distributed on rows of tables and various “beak types” were handed out one to each student. The students were then told to grab as many peanuts, one by one, as they could with their “beak” and to put these peanuts in their stomach (cup). After a minute had gone by, the students were asked to count how many peanuts they had and then the three students with the lowest number of peanuts gathered were asked to go stand on the side and the three students with the highest number of peanuts were asked to go stand on the side with their “beaks.” The students with the lowest number of peanuts then “died” and their “beak type” did not carry on and they were given another “beak type” that had been one of the winners since the winners “reproduced” with two offspring with that same “beak type.” After the round is over the data is recorded on a table and a new round is started. This process went on for five rounds. However, in the second round a mutation was added, the small hair clip, in place of a chip clip, but it only survived for two rounds and then died off. At the end of the experiment the data was collected, and conclusions were drawn. Results Narrative Summary The tongs, clothes pins, and chip clips increased in frequency. The tongs increased by 1, the clothes pins increased by 5, and the chip clips increased by 3. The chopsticks, binder clips, and large hair clips decreased in frequency. The chopsticks and binder clips decreased by 4, and the large hair clips decreased by 2. The small chip clip “mutation” did not survive during the experiment and only remained for 2 rounds. The tweezers frequency remained the same throughout the procedure staying at 5. The clothes pins had the most increased frequency success and the chopsticks and binder clips had the lowest decreased frequency. Rounds Natural Selection Beak Experiment 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Beginning Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Beak Types Conclusion The hypothesis stated above is supported in the data results that the chopsticks decreased in frequency. The data shows a constant decrease in the chopsticks after the first round resulting in only one pair of chopsticks remaining at the end. A possible error during this experiment may derive from the skill level of those using the chopsticks although this played a huge factor in the outcome of the experiment. Other errors that could have occurred would be in the process of the counting. It is highly probable that one of the students miscounted and another student could have been a “winner” or a “loser” affecting the overall results of the experiment. A replication of this experiment by other researchers would evaluate whether or not this experiment and its results are valid by determining from their results where the errors could be and how the data sample affects the experiment. Discussion The scientific method is the process of making an observation or finding a problem, determining a hypothesis that can be tested and falsified explaining the observation, creating an experiment to test the hypothesis and to gather data, draw conclusions from the data, communicate the results, and to have others retest the hypothesis using the same experimental method to evaluate the validity of the experiment and results. Some other fields that use the scientific method are: medical, engineering, pharmaceutical, physics, astronomy, and environmental. All these fields encounter problems or observations in which they need to make a hypothesis that can be tested and falsified through an experiment. These experiments are then retested over and over again to provide results and information for decisions to be made upon and for theories to be based upon. This activity demonstrated my use of the scientific method because it required me to make an observation and form a hypothesis. I then tested that hypothesis for falsification and collected data based on the number of beak types there were remaining in each category after each round. In the end I was able to draw conclusions and support my initial hypothesis. Others will be able to replicate this experiment and determine whether my results were valid. The theory of evolution by natural selection is essentially the survival of those whose genetic variations are most favorable to the environmental pressures. The favorable variations will increase in frequency in the population by helping that particular animal survive and compete with others for its needs and then passing those favorable variations to the next generation. Those who do not have favorable variations will most likely not survive and pass those variations on to next generation allowing for a natural selection to occur of those who are most suited for the situation at hand. This activity supported the theory of evolution by natural selection because it demonstrated how natural selection would have occurred among Darwin’s finches in a simpler context by having various “beak types” and having various rounds where competition for food and the “environment” had an impact on how much food one got. The losers did not reproduce just like how the finches with less favorable variations did survive and did not reproduce. Over the rounds there began to be an increase in the “beak types” that were most favorable to grab that particular food item because those traits were passed on to the next generation showing how the favorable traits increase in frequency over time in a population. References Grant, Peter R. "Unpredictable Evolution in a 30-Year Study of Darwin's Finches." Unpredictable Evolution in a 30-Year Study of Darwin's Finches. Science AAAS, 26 Apr. 2002. Web. 07 Feb. 2015. <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/296/5568/707.short>. Rothman, Robert, Dr. "Land Birds." Darwin's Finches. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2015. <http://people.rit.edu/rhrsbi/GalapagosPages/DarwinFinch2.html>.