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Evidence for evolution

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Thank you for using one of the Honolulu Zoo Society's educational worksheets. This teacher's guide is meant to help you direct your students through the Evidence for Evolution worksheet if needed. The worksheet is designed for students in grade 9-10, and addresses the following grade 9-12 State Science Standards: Unity and Diversity • Explain and justify the scientific classification system. Biological Evolution • Explain how molecular and anatomical evidences substantiate the theory of evolution. • Explain the basic idea of biological evolution. In keeping with current research on worksheets and free choice learning, the tasks on this worksheet mainly require observations of the animals and their behavior, but also some label- reading. The worksheet is a work in progress, though, and any suggestions or insights you have are very welcome! The following map of the Zoo will help you guide your students to the starting point for their worksheet tasks at the nēnē exhibit.
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Evidence for evolution
Grades 9-10






Evidence for evolution
Teacher’s Guide

Teacher’s Guide
Introduction
Thank you for using one of the Honolulu Zoo Society’s educational worksheets. This teacher’s
guide is meant to help you direct your students through the Evidence for Evolution worksheet if
needed. The worksheet is designed for students in grade 9-10, and addresses the following
grade 9-12 State Science Standards:
Unity and Diversity
Explain and justify the scientific classification system.
Biological Evolution
Explain how molecular and anatomical evidences substantiate the theory of evolution.
Explain the basic idea of biological evolution.
In keeping with current research on worksheets and free choice learning, the tasks on this
worksheet mainly require observations of the animals and their behavior, but also some label-
reading. The worksheet is a work in progress, though, and any suggestions or insights you have
are very welcome!
The following map of the Zoo will help you guide your students to the starting point for their
worksheet tasks at the nēnē exhibit.


2

Evidence for evolution
Teacher’s Guide


Glossary
ANCESTOR: An individual from whom a person or an animal is descended, a forefather.
AQUATIC: Growing or living in water.
CHARACTERISTIC: A distinguishing trait, quality, or property.
EVOLUTION: The historical development of a biological group (species). A theory that the various
types of animals (or other organisms) have their origin in preexisting types of animals (or other
organisms) and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive gen-
erations.
EVOLUTION, CONVERGENT: When the process of evolution causes two unrelated species to be-
come more similar with regard to certain characteristics.
EVOLUTION, DIVERGENT: When the process of evolution causes two related species to become
more dissimilar with regard to certain characteristics.
GENERATION: A group of animals that constitute a single step in the line of descent from an an-
cestor.
MIGRATION: To move from one region or climate to another for breeding or feeding.
OFFSPRING: The young of an animal, children.
PRIMITIVE: At an early stage of development, an ancestral type.
REPRODUCTIVE AGE: Sexually mature age, at an age where individual is able to reproduce or
breed.
SELECTION: A process that results in the survival and reproduction of some individuals but not of
others. This has the result that the inherited characteristics of the survivors are perpetuated.
SELECTION, ARTIFICIAL: Human intervention in animal or plant reproduction to ensure that certain
desirable traits are represented in successive generations.
SELECTION, NATURAL: According to Darwin's theory of evolution, a natural process in which only
the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic char-
acteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be
eliminated.
TERRESTRIAL: Growing or living on land.

3

Evidence for evolution
Teacher’s Guide


Answer key
1. Which characteristics might these rat-catching dogs have had, in your opinion?

Answer: they were probably quick, aggressive, and small.

2. If the rat-catching dogs had the characteristics (speed, size, and temper) that you checked
off above, what would the consequences for their offspring be?

Answer:
The offspring would probably inherit those same characteristics
The offspring would probably be good rat-catchers
Humans might have taken extra care of the offspring because of their usefulness


3. What’s the difference between artificial selection and natural selection? Below, you’ll find
two scenarios. Indicate which one is natural selection, and which one describes artificial se-
lection.

The individuals that
The individuals that
are allowed to breed
are best suited for sur-
are chosen by hu-
vival are the ones that
mans These individu-
most likely will live
als have the charac-
long enough to reach

teristics that humans
reproductive age. This
are interested in. This
means that they are
Artificial selection process produces the ones that get to Artificial selection
animals that express
breed, and their char-
some characteristics,
acteristics (being good
Natural selection
such as a stubby
survivors) are inher-
Natural selection
snout, very strongly.
ited by their offspring.


4. Natural selection is a process that creates animals that are increasingly well adapted to their
environment and thus are good survivors. On the other hand, artificial selection produces
animals that… Check off the correct statement(s)

Answer:
Express a certain characteristic that humans prefer.
Are not necessarily better survivors in the wild than their ancestors.
Would probably not exist without human intervention.


4

Evidence for evolution
Teacher’s Guide


5. Find the nēnē or Hawaiian goose exhibit. The ancestor of the nēnē is a fairly well known
goose species. Which species?

Answer: The Canada goose

6. The table lists some of the characteristics that differ between the ancestral goose and the
nēnē. Your job is to complete the table.

Answer (suggestion):
Characteristics Ancestral
goose
Nēnē
Body posture
Horizontal Upright
(upright or horizontal)
Webbing reduced, long
Shape of feet
Webbed
toes
Length of neck
Long Relatively
short
Wing size
Long, strong
Shorter, less strong

7. Write in your own words how you think the nēnē characteristics were created by natural se-
lection:

Answer (suggestion):
The nēnē lives on land, and rarely swims. The upright posture is
Nēnē posture better for walking. (The horizontal posture of a Canada goose is
better for swimming.)
The nēnē evolved with no land predators, so it never needed to

Shape of nēnē feet swim to escape. Instead, the webbing on its feet is reduced so the
long toes can grip uneven ground more easily.
The nēnē feeds on land plants. Unlike its ancestor, it doesn’t need
Length of nēnē neck a long neck to be able to reach plants underwater.
The nēnē never leaves Hawai’i, and only flies short distances.
Nēnē wing size Over time, its wings have become shorter and less strong than its
ancestor’s.

8. Find the gharial exhibit. Gharials and dolphins give an interesting example of convergent
evolution. Which feature do gharials have in common with dolphins? (Hint: think about what
they eat!)

Answer: A long slender snout full of equally sized, cone-shaped teeth. This is an adaptation
for catching fish.



5

Evidence for evolution
Teacher’s Guide

9. Do the following pairs of animals give examples of convergent or divergent evolution?

Convergent
Divergent
and




and




and




and





6

Evidence for evolution
Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet
Did you know that all dog breeds originated from the same ancestor? The ancestor of modern
dogs was probably a wolf-like type of dog.





Wolf-like ancestor
Yorkshire
Golden retriever
Cocker
Poodle
terrier
spaniel

Most modern dog breeds, like the four shown above, have been created by humans. But how
were the breeds created? Consider this scenario:

The first primitive dogs were probably wolf-like animals that hung around human settlements to
find food scraps. But where there are human settlements, there are often also rats. At some
point, humans in these settlements probably noticed that some dogs were very skilled at catch-
ing rats.

1. Which characteristics might these rat-catching dogs have had, in your opinion?

Quick or Slow
Aggressive or Docile
Large or Small


The humans in the settlements might have taken special care of these rat-catchers. They might
even have bred rat-catching female dogs with rat-catching male dogs.

2. If the rat-catching dogs had the characteristics (speed, size, and temper) that you checked
off above, what would the consequences for their offspring be? Check off the correct state-
ment(s)


The offspring would probably inherit those same characteristics
The offspring would probably be good rat-catchers
Humans might have taken extra care of the offspring because of their usefulness



7

Evidence for evolution
Student Worksheet

Imagine what would happen if humans kept breeding rat-catchers with rat-catchers, generation
after generation. The end result would be a small, quick, aggressive type of dog, not because
humans wanted a small, quick, aggressive dog, but because they wanted a good rat-catcher,
and those are the characteristics of a good rat-catcher.

There are several examples of such rat-catchers today! Most terriers were
actually originally bred as rat-catchers, and if you’ve ever known a terrier,
you’ll know that they are indeed small, quick, and aggressive.

The process of crossing animals with certain characteristics with other
animals with those same characteristics is called selection. When humans

control the process, it is called artificial selection.

The process of selection happens in nature, too. In this case, it is called natural selection.

3. What’s the difference between artificial selection and natural selection? Below, you’ll find
two scenarios. Indicate which one is natural selection, and which one describes artificial se-
lection.

The individuals that
The individuals that
are allowed to breed
are best suited for sur-
are chosen by hu-
vival are the ones that
mans These individu-
most likely will live
als have the charac-
long enough to reach

teristics that humans
reproductive age. This
are interested in. This
means that they are
Artificial selection
process produces the ones that get to
Artificial selection
animals that express
breed, and their char-
some characteristics,
acteristics (being good
Natural selection
such as a stubby
survivors) are inher-
Natural selection
snout, very strongly.
ited by their offspring.

4. Natural selection is a process that creates animals that are increasingly well adapted to
their environment and thus are good survivors. On the other hand, artificial selection pro-
duces animals that… Check off the correct statement(s)

Express a certain characteristic that humans prefer.
Are not necessarily better survivors in the wild than their ancestors.
Would probably not exist without human intervention.


Now, let’s look at some animals that have evolved through natural selection! Go to the next
page…





8

Evidence for evolution
Student Worksheet


5. Find the nēnē or Hawaiian


goose exhibit at the Zoo. The

ancestor of the nēnē is a fairly
Natural
well known goose species.
selection
Which species?


Answer

Ancestor
of
nēnē

Nēnē


The ancestor of the nēnē was originally from North America. It arrived at the Hawaiian Islands
about 500,000 years ago. Since arriving here, the goose changed its appearance from the an-
cestral form to the present form: the nēnē. Let’s look closer at some of these changes!

6. The table lists some of the characteristics that differ between the ancestral goose and the
nēnē. Your job is to complete the table.


Characteristics Ancestral
goose
Nēnē
Body posture


(upright or horizontal)


Length of legs


Webbing of feet


Length of neck


Wing size



9

Evidence for evolution
Student Worksheet


Now, let’s think of how these changes came about. What caused this selection to happen?
Think about the different habitats the ancestor and the nēnē occupy, and the different behaviors
they have as a result of this.

Ancestor Nēnē
• Lives in marshes,
• Lives on land

near water
• Feeds on terrestrial
• Feeds on aquatic
plants
plants
• Had no terrestrial
• Has many terrestrial
predators for thou-
predators
sands of years
• Migrates over long
• Migrates only over

distances every year
very short distances


7. Write in your own words how you think the nēnē characteristics were created by natural se-
lection:


Nēnē body posture

Length of nēnē legs

Webbing of nēnē feet

Length of nēnē neck

Nēnē wing size


10

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