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Homework answers / question archive / 1) Differentiate catastrophism from uniformitarianism

1) Differentiate catastrophism from uniformitarianism


1) Differentiate catastrophism from uniformitarianism.  Which scientist(s) was the main proponent of each of these proposals?


2. How did advocates of catastrophism explain the layering of fossil formations?


3. Distinguish homologies from analogies. What is the significance of homologies that are not analogies to ideas of evolutionary change?




4. What is faunal succession and how does the existence of faunal successions contribute to our understanding of how natural selection results in evolutionary change?


5. How do we date rocks?  If I had a fossil dinosaur bone that I thought came from the Jurassic (180 Ma) period, which isotope might I use to date this bone and why?

6. Distinguish anagenesis from cladogenesis and discuss how the two processes are interrelated.


7. What are the four postulates that form the basis for Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection?


8. Name three people who influenced Darwin’s thinking during the period when he was formulating his evolutionary theory.  Tell how each of these people’s ideas contributed to Darwin’s theory.


9. What was Darwin's critical insight into the mode of operation of this "natural selection" idea and how did this idea differ from his predecessors'?


10. Can natural selection occur without any subsequent evolutionary change?  Why or why not?


11. It appears that “hidden genetic variation” is responsible for allowing selection to move the average value of a trait beyond the range of values that the trait displayed in the initial population.  What explicitly, do we mean by “hidden genetic variation” (where is it hidden?) and by what means can such hidden genetic variation be expressed so that selection can act upon it?


12. What was Gilbert White's important contribution to the ideas of variation among individuals and how did Darwin incorporate this contribution into his ideas of evolution by natural selection?


13. We often disregard Lamarck's contribution to evolutionary biology because of his unfortunate notion of the inheritance of acquired traits. However, another of his ideas made a vital contribution to Darwin's thinking. What was that important point and why was it significant?


14. What differentiates natural selection from other forces of evolution?  Is the notion that evolution through natural selection results in slow, gradual changes always the case?  Why or why not?


15. Why is fitness considered the “currency” of natural selection?  How do we calculate the absolute fitness (W) of a phenotype?  How does the relative fitness (w) of a phenotype relate to absolute fitness (W)?  Why do we consider relative fitness when attempting to understand how natural selection is acting on a locus rather than using absolute fitness (W)?


16. If the selection coefficient (s) for a given phenotype A1A1 is 0.65, what does this value tell us about the relative contribution of this phenotype to future generations?  What is the likely fate of this phenotype under such strong natural selection?

17. What does the mean fitness (w bar) of a population measure and how does a population’s mean fitness change as the locus approaches Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in response to natural selection?

18. At what frequencies of the two alleles, p and q, will mean fitness be highest in a population under directional selection, overdominance and underdominance?  Drawing graphs as part of your explanation may help you to better explain your answer.


19.  How does overdominance differ from underdominance in terms of fitness differentials, equilibrium frequencies of A1 and A2 and A1A1, A1A2, and A2A2, and the stability of equilibrium values?  Why is overdominance easier to maintain by natural selection (stable equilibrium) than underdominance (unstable equilibrium)?


20. In the article “The selective advantage of crypsis in mice” by Vignieri et al. 2010, how was the fitness of different coat colors in the beach mouse, Peromyscus polionotus, determined?  Which type of natural selection was maintaining variation among beach mice populations in coat color and how did the study demonstrate this particular action of natural selection?


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