Beak of the Finch
- What measurements do the Grants take on each finch?
- How doesDarwindescribe natural selection?
- Did Darwin ever observe natural selection in action?
- Why didDarwinbelieve we could never “watch” natural selection in action?
- Why are the finches onDaphneIslandsuch an ideal population to study?
- How many species of finch are found in the Galápagos?
- Why are the Galápagos finches referred to as nature’s “most famous toolkit?”
- What hints do we have that Linné wondered about evolution?
- How did Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology influenceDarwin?
- How did John Gould’s discovery that there were 14 (13) species of finches on the Galápagos help sparkDarwin’s revolutionary ideas?
- Why didDarwinbegin the Origin with a detailed description of pigeon breeding?
- Why might “Barnacle Bill” have been a good nickname for Charles Darwin?
- What isDarwin’s explanation for the lack of transitional forms between species?
- Describe the large, medium, and small ground finches with respect to their beaks. What kind of adaptations do you think the finches’ beaks represent?
- How does the variation in populations ofDarwin’s finches compare with variation among populations of other birds, like sparrows?
- Why is the study of variation so important to evolutionary biology?
- Why did 19th and early 20th century biologists fail to recognize the importance of variation in beak size amongDarwin’s finches in the Galápagos?
- How did David Lack’s observation of the distribution of finch species in the Galápagos lead him to conclude that natural selection had indeed been at work?
- How did the finches’ feeding behavior change during the dry season?
- What are the three requirements ofDarwin’s theory of natural selection that are found in populations ofDarwin’s finches?
- 1.How did the drought of 1977 affect the feeding behavior of finches onDaphneIsland?
- Why didn’t the Grants and Peter Boag and Laurene Ratcliffe immediately recognize the episode of natural selection at work during the drought?
- How did natural selection change the morphology of the finch populations onDaphneIslandfrom 1977 to 1978?
- Discuss the “costs and benefits” of black plumage among maleDarwin’s finches?
- Provide a “cost-benefit analysis” of John Endler’s guppies ofSouth Americawith respect to their colorful spots.
- Describe Endler’s “natural” selection experiments with guppies. What did he show?
- 1.What was the selection response in the aftermath of El Niño onDarwin’s finches?
- How have biologists reconciled the apparent paradox of rapid evolution in the short term with much slower evolutionary rates measured in the fossil record?
- Do the results on natural selection inDarwin’s finches and British Columbian sparrows change your view of a species? If so, how?
- Compare the success of finch hybrids before the el niño of 1983 with those hatched afterwards.
- Why does Peter Grant describe evolution as “change in variation?”
- Why was there so much debate over whether natural selection could give rise to new species?
- What areDarwin’s “incipient species?”
- What is adaptive radiation?
- How didDarwinimagine the “principle of divergence” would lead to new species?
- What is meant by competitive exclusion? Character displacement?
- How do Dolph Schluter’s findings support the theory of character displacement?
- What is meant by an adaptive landscape?
- What are the “invisible coasts” described in this chapter?
- In what ways are species more “fluid” than even 20th century biologists might have believed? To what extent wasDarwin’s description of species as “convenient constructions” accurate? Are species real?
- Do Benkman’s and Lindholm’s research on crossbills support the notion that gradual evolution can lead to the appearance of complex adaptations? Explain.
- How are the stickleback fishes in British Columbian lakes studied by Dolph Schluter and John Donald McPhail similar toDarwin’s finches?
- How have the finch populations on Daphne Major responded to the changing adaptive landscape?
- How might hybridization aid in a species’ shift to a new adaptive peak in the landscape?
- What role does inductive reasoning play in science?
- What does Peter Boag hope to find by analyzing finch DNA?
- Does the observation of haw flies and apple maggot flies support the notion of sympatric speciation? Explain.
- What is introgressive hybridization and what role might it play in evolution?
- Joshua Ledergerg said, “Our only real competition for domination of the planet remains the viruses.” In what respect could you make a similar argument about insects?
- What affect would global warming have on the ground finches of the Galápagos? Explain.
- Weiner suggests that we live in extraordinary times, evolutionarily speaking. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- In what way(s) is cultural evolution similar to “regular” evolution? How is it distinctly different?
- How has cultural evolution affected the success of our species?
“The thinking niche is taken…” Do you agree? Explain your answer.
Questions adapted from http://raider.muc.edu/~scottjj/courses/bi215/finchquestions.htm