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Running Head: NATURAL SELECTION LAB REPORT

Theresa Lopez
ANTH 1020-004
02/06/15
Natural Selection Lab Report

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My initial hypothesis was that tweezers were going to be the most successful. I developed
this hypothesis by analyzing the other beak types and evaluating which would be most successful
in picking up small seeds.
The materials used in this hypothesis consisted of many beak types and seeds. The beak
types included: tongs, chopsticks, clothes pins, large hair clips, tweezers, binder clips, small hair
clips, and chip clips.
During this experiment, I was given a binder clip, chopsticks, and tweezers to pick up as
many seeds that I could in a matter of 60 seconds and place them into a small Dixie cup. I was
given a handful of seeds and they were scattered on the table. My neighbors and I could both
pick from the seeds because they were representing feeding in the real world. After 60 seconds,
the timer stopped and it was time to count how many seeds I picked up. The level of difficulty
varied on the beak type that I received.

Natural Selection Activity Result Chart
Beak
Types
Tongs

Beginning

Round

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

#:2

1
#:2

#:2

#:2

#:2

#:1

Freq:6.25%

Freq:

Freq: 6.25%

Freq: 6.25%

Freq: 6.25%

Freq:

Chopstick #:5

6.25%
#:7

#:6

#:5

#:5

3.125%
#:4

s

Freq:15.625

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:15.625

Freq:

Freq:12.5%

%

21.875

18.75%

%

15.625%

Clothes

#:5

%
#:3

#:4

#:4

#:5

#:5

Pins

Freq:

Freq:

Freq: 12.5%

Freq: 12.5%

Freq:

Freq:

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LG. Hair

15.625%
#:5

#:5

#:4

Clips

Freq:

Freq:

Freq: 12.5%

15.625%

15.625

#:5

%
#:6

#:7

#:8

#:9

#:10

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:21.875

Freq:25%

Freq:28.125

Freq:31.25

Binder

15.625%
#:5

18.75%
#:4

%
#:3

#:3

%
#:2

%
#:2

Clips

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:

Freq: 6.25%

Freq:

SM. Hair

15.625%
#:5

12.5%
#:4

9.375%
#:3

9.375%
#:3

#:2

6.25%
#:2

Clips

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:9.375%

Freq:

Freq: 6.25%

Freq:

Chip Clip

15.625%
-

12.5%
-

#:1

9.375%
#:1

#:1

6.25%
#:1

Freq:3.125%

Freq:

Freq:

Freq:

3.125%

3.125%

3.125%

Tweezers

#:4

15.625%
#:4

15.625%
#:4

Freq: 12.5%

Freq: 12.5%

Freq:
12.5%

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Natural Selection Activity Graph
12
10
8
Beginning

6

Round 1
Round 2

4

Round 3
Round 4

2

Round 5

0

The results were quite interesting. As predicted in my hypotheses, the tweezers became
the most successful beak type. Other beak types such as the chopsticks and binder clips slowly
declined and became the least effective and least successful beak type. These beak types were not
able to pick up the sunflower seeds as effective as the other beak types.
My hypothesis was distinctly supported. The tweezers started off with a total of 5 beaks
throughout the class and increased in frequency with about 3% each time. My hypothesis stated
that the tweezers were going to become the most successful because they were able to pick up
the sunflower seeds easier than the other beaks.
There are different errors or factors that could have affected my results. The participants
in the lab had unique sets of skills that could have impacted the way that they handled the beak
types. Some people could have easily used beak types better than others. Some sections of the

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class had more sunflower seeds than other parts of the class which allowed different beaks to
become more successful. As shown with Darwin and his finches, there will always be outside
resources that affect the outcome with the experiment. (Cimadom, Ulloa, Meidl, Zottl, Zottl,
Fessl, Nemeth & Dvorak, 2014)
When other experimenters replicate the study, it allows the procedure and results to prove
its own external and internal validity. The procedure needs to be able to have the same results
multiple times so others know that it is useful in the real world. For the experiment to have
external validity, the results need to be applicable toward the masses.
The scientific method consists of observation, measurement, the experiment, testing and
modifying the hypothesis. There are many other fields that use the scientific method. These
different fields include: Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Zoology, Archeology, Human Biology,
etc.
The natural selection activity allowed me to test my hypothesis about which beak type
would be most successful. It allowed me to test the hypothesis and modify it. I also used
observation within the natural selection activity. All of these components consisted of the
scientific method.
In the theory of evolution, living organisms descend with modifications from species that
have lived before them. Natural selection is the base of the theory of evolution which states that
many more organisms are produced that can survive. Organisms compete for resources and
better adapted organisms are the ones that are fit for survival.
The theory of evolution has many underlying assumptions. The assumptions state that life
arose from nonliving matter, virus, bacteria, and plants are interrelated, spontaneous generation

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only occurred once, multicellular animals formed from unicellular or single celled organisms.
(Servedio, Brandvain, Dhole, Fizpatrick, Goldberg, Stern, Van Cleve & Yeh, 2014)
This activity supported the theory of evolution because it demonstrated the survival of the
fittest. If someone did not have the right skill or if they didn’t understand how to properly use the
beak type, they were at a less of an advantage and they eventually got taken out of the equation
in which they were then replaced by a beak type that was more successful. The activity also
showed how mutation occurred. The mutation randomly came into play and the beak type was
then a less of an advantage. The seeds placed around the classroom also demonstrated how many
organisms try to survive out in the wild.

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References

Cimadom, A., Ulloa, A., Meidl, P., Zottl, M., Zottl, E., Fessl, B., Nemeth, E., & Dvorak, M.
(2014). Invasive parasites, habitat change and heavy rainfall reduce breeding success in
Darwin’s finches. PLoS ONE, 9(9), 1-10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107518

Servedio, M. R., Brandvain, Y., Dhole, S., Fizpatrick, C. L., Goldberg, E. E., Stern, C. A., Van
Cleve, J., & Yeh, J. D. (2014). Not just a theory—the utility of mathematical models in
evolutionary biology. PLoS Biology , 12(12), 1-5. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002017