READ: Before attempting to complete Exercise 2 in the lab manual, read the direc

READ: Before attempting to complete Exercise 2 in the lab manual, read the directions on this Canvas Assignment! Lab #2 is the online version of Exercise 2 “Natural Selection” in the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (7th Edition). Follow the directions on this Canvas Assignment (and not on the PDF where it is different).
Link to pre-recorded Zoom video with step-by-step directions: Zoom pre-recorded lecture: Lab #2 “Natural Selection” How to complete the exercises at home

Before beginning the lab exercises, you must collect the supplies listed at the bottom of this page!
Lab exercises (PDF): Anth111Manual7Ex2NaturalSel.pdf Download Anth111Manual7Ex2NaturalSel.pdf
Lab #2 is the online version of Exercise 2 “Natural Selection” in the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (7th Edition).
Pre-recorded and captioned lecture that goes over each assigned exercise: Zoom pre-recorded lecture: Lab #2 “Natural Selection” How to complete the exercises at home
My lecture slides (PDF):02_Anth111NaturalSelecKirwin2022.pdf *Download 02_Anth111NaturalSelecKirwin2022.pdf *
Supplies: A metric ruler and pretend finch “beaks” and “seeds”. These lab exercises cannot be completed without the required supplies of several everyday household items (see list below).
Discussion #2: Disc #2: Labs #1 and #2 Student Q & A (Due 4/16/23)
Microsoft Word file of the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (7th Edition): LAVCLabManual7thEditionc2019Word.doc Download LAVCLabManual7thEditionc2019Word.doc
In this Word doc format, you can listen to its directions using an audio screen reader. You can also type your answers on its exercise questions. You can also copy-paste the questions and your typed answers onto a Google Doc or Microsoft Word doc and upload that file as your answers for this Canvas Assignment for Lab #1. ALWAYS read the directions on the lab’s Canvas Assignment page first. When the directions on a Canvas Assignment differ from the lab manual’s directions in the PDF or Word file, use the directions on the Canvas Assignment page. Some of the exercises in these labs have been modified from their original lab manual directions for this 100% online class. [Updated 4/16/23]
* You may not need to see my lecture slides. I included them for you if it’s been a while since you have taken a biology class, or Anth 101, and you are unable to define key biological concepts like natural selection, adaptation, fit, selection, negative selection, habitat, fitness, and variation.
This lab has two steps and uses the printed pages of Exercise 2 “Natural Selection” in the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (7th Edition)Step 1
Read this interesting article that explains the different inherited genes for different beak shapes of different species of “Darwin’s Finches”:
Zandonella, Catherine. 2015. “A gene that shaped the evolution of Darwin’s finches”. Scientific Daily. Accessed on February 8, 2023: to an external site.
Links to an external site.Watch this short documentary: “Making of the Galapagos Finches: Natural Selection” (2011) 16 min. HHMI. Accessed on February 8, 2023:
Step 2
During this lab, you will experience the process of pretending to investigate an instance of natural selection by describing and measuring small seed-sized snacks, pretending that they are seeds that finches eat on a Galapagos Island, and then using chopsticks and tweezers to pretend that they are finches with different beak sizes.
You will pretend to be a large “finch” with a large “beak” and then a small “finch” with a tiny “beak” that can pick up the bird’s “food” (either large “nuts” or tiny “seeds”) on their island is adapted to that environment and can survive and reproduce. In other words, the finch is biologically “fit”.
The big idea of this case of natural selection that Charles Darwin observed first hand when he was in his twenties nearly 200 years ago is that the finchs with the right beak size that matches the “seeds” or “nuts” on their island are adapted to their habitat (the island and its available finch food). The finches are adapted to their habitat and will be able to survive, reproduce, and provide food for their offspring–as long as their habitat doesn’t change (and the food they eat is always avaiable).
The individuals of finches with beaks that are the wrong size/shape for the available food will starve to death –or just barely be able to feed themselves but won’t be able to find enough extra food to provide for their offspring. So, after a generation, these finches will die out unless the habitat changes (like a rainy season or a drought) and the food that they can eat becomes available again. In other words, those finches are maladapted to their habitat and will experience a “negative selection pressure”. In other words, they are on the losing side of “survival of the fittest”. They are not “fit”.
–> Watch the video (“Galapagos Finch Evolution”) at the link above before attempting this lab.<--- See the link above. Natural selection is defined as the ability of organisms, that are adapted to their environments, to survive and reproduce more offspring. With the example of Galapagos finches, Charles Darwin realized that each island had different environments characterized by different available foods and a different species of finch that was adapted to that island's environment/foods. For Step 2, do the following: Complete Lab 2 "Natural Selection on its Canvas Assignment. It is the online version of Exercise 2.1 "A Review of Natural Selection" on pages 21-26. This lab's exercises are in the Lab Manual, Exercise 2.1 on pages 17-24. The link to a PDF file of its exercises is above under "Resources". Follow these steps: Read Pages 17-18. On page 17 under "2.1 A Review of Natural Selection" write down and number the "four major observations about the living world". The exercise doesn't tell you but those observations were first made by Charles Darwin and were influenced by an aristocratic British demographer named Thomas Malthus. Memorize Darwin's Three Postulates on page 17. You will be asked what they are later in the lab exercise. Complete Exercise 2.1 on page 19 where it says, "Write out Darwin's Three Postulates, explaining Natural Selection." Complete Exercise 2.2 on pages 19-21. These exercises require you to use your lab supplies of a metric ruler and some seeds (or nuts or other small things like bits of paper, rice, Skittles, etc.), tweezers, and chopsticks or cooking tongs. You can substitute a metric ruler for a sliding caliper. --> The items in “Table 1” are suggestions. If you don’t have popcorn, use popcorn-sized pieces of French fries, cookies, or crackers. If you don’t have split peas, find something that is a similar size to pinto beans. If you don’t have sunflower seeds, use other seeds like grains of rice, quinoa, chia, sesame, and/or poppy. An “everything” bagel at covered in different kinds of seeds a local bagel shop, bakery, or supermarket will likely have plenty of seeds on it for this lab assignment. If you don’t have beans, you can use cereal like Cheerios or other brands or homemade granola.
Complete Exercise 2.3 on pages 22-24. These exercises require you to use your lab supplies of some seeds (or nuts or other small things like bits of paper, rice, Skittles, etc.), a binder clip, and tweezers. Make two small bags (sandwich bag size)of seeds like these:
(1) Bag #1: Put 20-50 small seeds in it (like sunflower seeds, rice, sesame, chia, or poppy seeds, bits of paper, or bits of tissue).
(2) Bag #2: Put 20-50 big “seeds” in it (like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, popped popcorn, beans, jelly beans, Skittles, marshmallows, little balls of paper or tissue, etc.).
(3) Get a binder clip (or chopsticks) to be your bird with a “Big Beak”
(4) Get tweezers to be your bird with a “Small Beak”
(5) Get two plates to put your seeds on so they don’t go all over the table or floor. Follow the directions and complete each exercise.
Note regarding Exercise 2.3:
“Exercise 2.3 requires you to make your own little bags of seeds with different proportions of seed sizes in each bag to symbolize the changing types of foods available each year based on different weather patterns. Here are its directions with my annotations in bracket “[“…]”:”1. Each large table represents a different island. [I use plates to symbolize different islands]
2. Each student at the table will get one binder clip for [their] beak. There are two binder clip sizes [or you can use tweezers for small beaks and cooking tongs or chopsticks for larger beaks] within your population: big and small. Before your table [or plate] starts, make sure there is an even number of beak sizes within your island population. [Since you are doing this at home, you can be two birds: One with a big beak [chopsticks or tongs] and the other with a small beak [teazers]. Someone can be two birds.
3. You will be given [or make your own for this online class] pre-prepared bags of seeds representing 6 consecutive seasons. [Each bag will have a different percentage of large and small seeds.]
4. Your group will be given a box [you can use a dinner plate or a sheet of paper]– scatter the contents of one bag evenly in the box.
5. All the birds from your island will be given one minute to pick up as many food items as they can. Do this with all birds at the same time. Hold onto the seeds your bird “eats”.
6. Count the food your bird was able to eat to determine what happened to you that season:
a. Death: Bird didn’t eat enough to survive.
b. Life: Bird ate just enough food to survive, but did not reproduce.
c. Reproduction: Bird ate enough food to survive and reproduce. Your offspring will have the same beak size as you.
7. Return the nuts and seeds to the bag for that season – don’t get these mixed up please.
8. Repeat these steps for the remaining 5 “seasons” of seeds. If someone is playing 2 birds, have over one beak to someone [whose] bird died the first round.”
Regarding the six bags of seeds. Each bag will have a different percentage of small and large seeds. Drought years will be symbolized by bags of more than 70% of small seeds. Rainy years will be symbolized by more than 70% of large seeds or nuts. For example, during rainy years, there will be more grasses and more tiny grass seeds. For a rainy year bag of seeds, you can fill it with lots of sesame, poppy, or chia seeds. (or, just buy one “Everything Bagel” at Noah’s Bagels or your local grocery store and use the seeds on it). In drought years, there will be fewer grass plants (and fewer tiny grass seeds) and more cacti and flowering plants with larger seeds or nuts. For a drought year bag of seeds, you can put in larger things to symbolize large seeds or nuts like popped popcorn, almonds, jelly beans, or other candies, walnuts, etc. “[Updated 4/16/23]
Answer the Study Questions on page 24.
Take a photo of your lab supplies with your smartphone (or another device) that you used to complete these exercises (i.e. your metric ruler, “seeds” and “bird beaks” experiment that you set up for Exercise 2.2 and Exercise 2.3).
Ask a question (or make a comment) about Lab #1 or Lab #2 in the Canvas Discussion #2: Disc #2: Labs #1 and #2 Student Q & A (Due 4/16/23)
Submit your work:
Upload your completed lab page exercises (PDF file) (or re-type the page numbers, questions, and your answers and copy-paste them as text).
Upload a photo of your lab supplies and set up (plates, “seeds”, tweezers, chopsticks, and/or cooking tongs) (jpg file).
Below are a few updates to this lab assignment to help you complete it online. There may be a “Study Question” based on Darwin’s four observations and three postulates and that is why I am repeating both of them on this Canvas Assignment (because in the past some students couldn’t find them in the lab manual…).
The “four major observations” reference Charles Darwin’s observations that he based on the five observations of economist and demographer Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), which helped Darwin discover and explain the process of natural selection:
Darwin’s four observations
1. Individuals within a population are variable.
2. Some of this variability is inherited.
3. More offspring are born that can survive to reproduce.
4. The “selection” of those individuals who survive and reproduce is not random.
The individuals who survive and reproduce are those who possess those favorable traits that make them more likely to survive and reproduce in their environment.
In other words, mother nature “selects” the individuals best adapted to survive and reproduce—hence Darwin’s term “natural selection.” Darwin based his four observations on Thomas Malthus’s five observations.
Malthus’s five observations:
For most organisms, every pair of parents produces multiple offspring.
For most organisms, the population size remains the same.
The population is limited by food supply, disease, or violence.
Members of populations compete for access to food.
No two members of a species are alike in their physical attributes–variation exists.
Important notes regarding the online versions of the lab manal exercises originally written for in-class work:
Page 19: Use a metric ruler to measure seeds. Under the words “Steps to complete Exercise 2.2”, disregard “your group”. This lab is an online version of the in-class exercises.
Page 20: For “Table 1”, Your “small bag of seeds” includes at least five (5) of each type of “seeds”. Four (4) types of seeds: Popped popcorn or jelly beans or walnuts/almonds for the largest ones, sunflower seeds or Skittles for smaller ones, and sesame, chia, or poppy seeds for the smallest ones. Or you can just buy a bag of birdseed at a pet store and treat your avian neighbors later.
You can use your own “seeds”: You can cross off the suggested “seeds” (printed in the Lab Manual for Anth 111 like “popcorn”) and substitute your own “seeds”.
Tiny Seeds: I recommend using things to symbolize tiny seeds (like chia seeds or sesame seeds–or non-edible items) that cannot easily be picked up using chopsticks.
Large seeds: I recommend. using things to symbolize large seeds (like walnuts, peanuts, or jelly beans–or non-edible items) that cannot easily be picked up using tweezers.
Page 22: Disregard where it says “each student”. You will play the role of two students in this online version of these in-class exercises. You will need a big binder clip (or chopsticks or cooking tongs) and a little binder clip (or tweezers).
Or, you can make it a competitive game of survival of the fittest for Exercise 2.3 on pages 23-24 and do this with a friend or a family member.
Spread out some seeds in a circle. Flip a coin to see which person gets the “small beak” (tweezers) and who gets the “large beak” (chopsticks). Set your smartphone timer for 30 seconds. Then compete to see who can pick up the most seeds in 30 seconds.
Darwin’s three postulates:
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was based on the logical outcome of his three postulates:
Individuals within species are variable.
Some of these variations are heritable.
Individuals that reproduce the most are those with the most favorable variations.
Page 24: Memorize definitions for “Terms to Know” so you can explain them in your own words for Quiz #1
Page 24: Answer the four questions under “Study Questions”:
Using the case of Darwin’s finches as an example, explain the process of natural selection.
Why is variation so important for evolution? (Think of variations of seed types and finch beak sizes).
Why is inheritance so important for evolution?
What makes a particular trait more (or less) “fit”?
Lab supplies you will need

Gather the following items to complete this lab: Metric ruler with millimeters to measure your “seeds”. You will need a ruler to measure the items that you are using a pretend seeds (see below for examples).
Two plates (paper plates or any kind of surface–even paper towels or napkins. Something to represent one or two “islands.” A ribbon or string to make a circle about the size of a medium pizza (that will be your “Galapagos island”) can also be used.
Tiny “seeds” that are too small to pick up with a big binder clip or chopsticks.Examples of things that you can use: Raw quinoa, , tiny colored beads, poppy seeds, chia seeds, and/or sesame seeds), or tiny balls of tissue, toilet paper, or bits of a paper towel scrunched up into a ball.
Quantity: 20 minimum
Large “seeds” that are too large to pick up with a small binder clip or tweezers.Examples of things that you can use: are almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds with shells still on, raw beans, jelly beans, Cheerios, rice, barley, Skittles–even non-edible things like buttons or pebbles. Quantity: 20 minimum
Tweezers: Something to represent a tiny finch’s tiny “beak.”
Chopsticks or cooking tongs: Something to represent a larger finch’s big”beak”.
Lab #2 Grading Rubric
1 point: Ex. 2.1 “A Review of Natural Selection” (question on page 19 of the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (PDF))
3 points: Ex. 2.2 “Simulating the Evolution of Beak Size and Shape” (exercises on pages 21 & 21 of the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (PDF))
3 points: Ex. 2.3 “Simulating Natural Selection within a Population” (exercises on pages 23 & 24 of the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (PDF))
2 points: Study Questions 1-4 (page 24 of the Lab Manual for Anth 111 (PDF))
+ 1 point: Photograph of the supplies you used at home to complete this lab.
10 points = Maximum points
How to submit your completed paper exercise pages online
Where: Turn in your completed lab exercises to this Canvas Assignment, by clicking on the red “Submit” button.
Turn in
Submission formats: Text or uploaded files (pdf,doc,docx,txt,jpg, png).
A. How to annotate (type on or edit) a PDF file online using your computer or tablet.
If you use a PDF file of the lab manual’s exercise pages, you can annotate (write on the file) using a free Chrome extension called Kami (Link: to an external site.
If you have Adobe Acrobat DC (you can get the student version, which is cheaper), you can annodate a PDF file of the lab manual’s exercise pages and upload the pages to this lab’s Canvas

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