Understanding Evolution

Free Response

If a person scatters a handful of garden pea plant seeds in one area, how would natural selection work in this situation?


The plants that can best use the resources of the area, including competing with other individuals for those resources will produce more seeds themselves and those traits that allowed them to better use the resources will increase in the population of the next generation.

Why do scientists consider vestigial structures evidence for evolution?


Vestigial structures are considered evidence for evolution because most structures do not exist in an organism without serving some function either presently or in the past. A vestigial structure indicates a past form or function that has since changed, but the structure remains present because it had a function in the ancestor.

How does the scientific meaning of “theory” differ from the common vernacular meaning?


In science, a theory is a thoroughly tested and verified set of explanations for a body of observations of nature. It is the strongest form of knowledge in science. In contrast, a theory in common vernacular can mean a guess or speculation about something, meaning that the knowledge implied by the theory is very weak.

Explain why the statement that a monkey is more evolved than a mouse is incorrect.


The statement implies that there is a goal to evolution and that the monkey represents greater progress to that goal than the mouse. Both species are likely to be well adapted to their particular environments, which is the outcome of natural selection.