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Sunny Kim

Chapter 22 – Descent with Modification: A Darwinian View of Life

1. Briefly describe the main idea for each of the following individual’s understanding of change
over time.
Plato, Aristotle, Fixed species concept, Cuvier, Lyle, Lamarck
Plato said that organisms were all perfectly adapted to their environment, so no change.
Aristotle were arranged on the “scale of life” from simple to complex, so he also believed that
life were good and perfect and no evolution occurred.
The fixed species concept basically said that the creator had a purpose for every species on earth
and there was no idea about evolution from this.
Then there was Cuvier, he attempted to relate fossils to current life, and he theorized that fossils
were the remants of species gone from catastrophe and species can be lost overtime. So, this
didn’t really contribute to this idea about evolution.
Then there was Lyle, and he came up with this idea about uniformitarianism. This theory said
that processes that occurred many years ago happen today with catastrophe. So, he had these
ideas about Darwin’s evolution.
Finally, there was Lamark who theorized that life changed from simple to complex overtime.
This said that fossils were the remants of the past and evolution of the past.

2. Discuss why Darwin called his idea “descent with modification” and justify why this idea is
unique as compared to the individuals or ideas in question No. 1.
Darwin descent with modification is unique to all the other theories in that he used these ideas
about natural selection to correctly state the process in which evolution occurs. “Descent with
modification says that species that exist today descended from other preexisting species and that
species change over time. So, other past scientists such as Lyle and Lamark had pieces of this
idea, but didn’t correctly describe evolution and isn’t accurate. The earlier scientists doesn’t
show evolution ever occurs, so their ideas are radical compared to Darwin’s natural selection.

3. Discuss if acquired traits are expected to evolve and justify your answer.
Acquired traits can’t be passed down like inherited traits. For example, an Olympic swimmer can
train to become muscular or become really good at it, but this trait can’t become passed down to
its offspring.

4. A non-AP Biology student makes the following statement: “Organisms adapt to survive”.
Discuss how an AP Reader would grade or evaluate this statement and justify your answer.
Depending on how lenient the AP Reader is, they would probably mark this statement incorrect
and would take anywhere from a half to a full point. The reason that this statement is wrong is
because organisms for one suddenly do not grow an extra limb to survive. It’s actually the other
way around in that organism survived to adapt. The organism passes down traits necessary for
survival so organisms can adapt to their environment.\

5. Two populations of organisms are placed in adjacent islands of similar size. Would these two
populations evolve at the same rate and to the same end result? Explain and justify your
I don’t think these populations will exactly evolve at the same rate in that depending on what
happens at one side of the island, truthfully anything can happen and at times, organisms might
drop in number for some reason. However, the end result might be similar since it is in a similar
location and based on this idea of Convergent evolution, unrelated organism show similar
adaptations, they might show similar selection pressures. So, no to the end rate, but yes to the
same result.

6. Consider the terms “evolution” and “natural selection”. Students on past AP exams often
use these terms interchangeably. Discuss if the AP Readers give them credit and justify your
natural selection is a part of evolution. Natural selection can’t account for the entirety idea of
evolution. Natural selection is part of Darwin’s theory, but evolution points to the big idea of
how evolution occurs.

7. Discuss why “survival of the fittest” is a phrase that tends to make AP Readers cringe and
shake their heads in dismay when they see students use it in their exam essays.
Because, I think this phrase is overused. It’s the first thing students learn about Darwin whether
in grade school or in their history (Sorry Mr. Smajda) classes. Plus survival of the fittest isn’t
evolution, but it is a small part of Darwin’s theory. In most populations, organisms with many
different genetic variations survive, reproduce, and leave offspring carrying their
genes in the next generation. It is not simply the one or two "best" individuals in the
population that pass their genes on to the next generation. This is apparent in the
populations around us: for example, a plant may not have the genes to flourish in a
drought, or a predator may not be quite fast enough to catch her prey every time
she is hungry. These individuals may not be the "fittest" in the population, but they
are "fit enough" to reproduce and pass their genes on to the next generation.

8. Will changes in an organism’s physical environment result in evolutionary change? Discuss
and justify your answer.
Yes, a migration or genetic thing may cause the next offsprings to have qualities that are evolved
from the parent so they are equipped more or less to survive.