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Biogeography Evolution Evidence

Evidence
Example

Thorough description of the evidence and brief


history of the discovery of the evidence (date,
person who discovered it, ect.)

Justification Why is this evidence used to


support the theory?

Armadillos and
Anteaters

Due to their very different appearances, the


common person would assume that there is no
relationship between the armadillo and anteater;
however, they are related through divergent
evolution. Divergent evolution is defined as a
process where multiple species are created through
modifications over time from one single species.
The need for this process is due to a change in the
environment which causes specific characteristics
to be favored in survival and reproduction. More
specifically, since the organisms with these traits
are more likely to survive they are more likely to
pass on their genes to the next generation, which
gradually transforms into a new species over a long
period of time. For example, the armadillo
developed body armor and the anteater developed a
long snout and tongue over many generations.
Using this knowledge of divergent evolution, we
can apply this process to the armadillos and
anteaters. Both of them started out as the same
organism on Pangea, then began changing (over
many generations) to best adapt to their new
environments after the split of the "supercontinent".
(It is important to note that this process takes an
extremely long period of time and doesn't occur
over a single generation.)
Unfortunately, there is no one person
named as the discoverer of this piece of evidence
for biogeography. However, we do know that this
process began on Pangea, a single "supercontinent"
around 250 million years ago. When the landmass
would eventually split apart around 145 million
years ago it would begin the process of divergent
evolution in armadillos and anteaters.

The connection between armadillos


and anteaters is a key piece of evidence for
evolution shown through biogeography.
Moreover, the modification between
armadillos and anteaters shows the affect an
environment can have on a species. As
previously stated, both species started out
with a common ancestor that lived on the
"supercontinent", Pangea. When the continent
separated the two species were living in
completely different environmental
conditions. Due to these environmental
conditions, certain characteristics became
favorable and showed up in later generations.
After numerous generations these
characteristics would make the present
species entirely different than the original.
Henceforth, the need to be better suited for
the environment caused the need for
evolution.

Evidence
Example

Thorough description of the evidence and brief


history of the discovery of the evidence (date,
person who discovered it, ect.)

Justification Why is this evidence used to


support the theory?

Darwin's Finches

Finches are a common household pet, but


they are also evidence of evolution through
biogeography. Like the armadillos and anteaters
previously discussed, Darwin's finches are a
product of divergent evolution. In addition to
divergent evolution, they are also an example of
adaptive radiation which is defined as a process
where one species eventually becomes many
species to fulfill different environmental demands.
According to his theory, there was one species of
finch that lived on the mainland that somehow
ended up on each island and couldn't return to the
mainland. (This scenario can most likely be
explained by a strong storm.) When the finches
were forced to stay on the island the new
environment caused the organisms with better
suited qualities to have a higher survival rate and
therefore a greater chance of reproduction and
passing their genes on. An example would be the
beak sizes on the different islands. For example,
larger beaks became more common to be able to eat
seeds (Large Ground Finch) and thinner beaks
became more common for finches that probed trees
for insects (Warbler Finch).
As previously mentioned, Charles Darwin
made these observations about the evolution of
finches. After college, Darwin, as a young man,
boarded the HMS Beagle Voyage and set sail for a
scientific expedition. Along the way he would take
notes on his observations as well as draw sketches.
Around 1831, Darwin set foot on the Galpagos
Islands were he would make a break through on the
theory of evolution with the help of the now
famous Galapagos finches.

Much like the armadillos and


anteaters, the finches found on the Galpagos
Islands showed how divergent evolution and
adaptive radiation can be explained by
biogeography. When the finches moved from
the mainland to the neighboring islands they
were exposed to new environments.
Gradually the environment favored certain
characteristics of the finches and made them
more prevalent in future generations. For
example, the environment where the main
food source was seeds was more favorable for
the finches to have larger, more powerful
beaks. In the same regard islands were insects
were the primary food source favored the
finches with thinner beaks to probe for
insects. Overall, the environment and its
resources caused the finch to gradually
acquire new characteristics better suited for
survival and a better chance of reproduction.

Evidence
Example

Thorough description of the evidence and brief


history of the discovery of the evidence (date,
person who discovered it, ect.)

Justification Why is this evidence used to


support the theory?

Shark and
Dolphins

When looking at sharks and dolphins one


may observe that they have a very similar
appearance. Unlike our previous examples, the two
organisms are not a product of divergent evolution,
instead they are a result of convergent evolution.
Convergent evolution is a process where the
environment causes similar structures to form in
different species. Moreover, due to the two
organism living in the same aquatic environment
they had to adapt similar structures (over numerous
generations) to survive. For example, both the
dolphin and the shark have a torpedo shaped body
and dorsal fins to efficiency navigate the water.
Henceforth, even though sharks are fish and
dolphins are mammals the two have developed
similar structures to survive in their common
environment.
Unfortunately, there is no one person named
as the discoverer of this piece of evidence for
biogeography.

The similar structures of sharks and


dolphins proves that the environment can
greatly shape a species evolution. Since, the
shark is a fish and a dolphin is a a mammal
we know that they are not related by a
common ancestor. Instead the environment
has chosen the same characteristics in both
organisms to be favorable. An example of the
characteristics would be the torpedo shaped
body and dorsal fins. Both creature use these
qualities to have a better chance of survival
and reproduction in the aquatic environment.

Evidence
Example

Thorough description of the evidence and brief


history of the discovery of the evidence (date,
person who discovered it, ect.)

Justification Why is this evidence used to


support the theory?

Rabbit's Fur

Rabbits come in varying colors due to


geographical variation. More specifically,
geographical variation is differences in populations
due differing environmental conditions. For
example, when looking at rabbits, the farther north
you travel the lighter their coats get. In the south,
where there is less snow fall rabbits, for the most
part, have a darker coat. In the same regard, rabbits
in the North have a lighter coat, because there is
more snowfall. (This phenomenon occurs due to
cline, which is a gradual environmental change;
therefore, the coats of rabbits gradually get lighter
as the cline begins to change.) Why would the
amount of frozen precipitation affect the rabbits
coat color? Well, their coats help camouflage them
from predators. Therefore, the rabbits in the North
have a better chance of survival when they blend in
with the snow. Most likely the fur got lighter in
more northern environments, because the rabbits
with darker fur were more vulnerable to predation
causing the lighter fur rabbits to have a higher
survival rate and a better chance for reproduction.
This same process occurred with rabbits in the
South except inversely, because darker fur is
favorable in environments lacking constant
snowfall.
Unfortunately, there is no one person named
as the discoverer of this piece of evidence for
biogeography.

Another piece of evidence for


evolution would be the fur color of rabbits.
Over numerous generations the color of their
fur as changed to better camouflage
themselves from being spotted by predators.
More specifically, the color has become
lighter in environments that a have a higher
level of frozen precipitation, and darker in
environments with less frozen precipitation.
Therefore, the fur color has adjusted the
environment in order for the species to
increase their survival and chance of
reproduction; therefore, passing their genes
on to future generations and making the
lighter coat more common as time passes.

Evidence
Example

Thorough description of the evidence and brief


history of the discovery of the evidence (date,
person who discovered it, ect.)

Justification Why is this evidence used to


support the theory?

Vaquita

The Vaquita, a type of porpoise, is primarily


found in the Gulf of California, because of their
need for shallow water and certain dietary
requirements. Unfortunately, their population is
rapidly declining due to detrimental human
activities such as fishing and pollution. In addition,
most of these "timid" porpoises are found only in
the Gulf of California, which means that their are
no second chances to save the species. If the
processes that are hurting the Vaquitas in that
specific area are not stopped an entire species could
go extinct. In fact, scientists have approximated
that only 97 porpoises remain in the Gulf today and
are expected to go completely extinct by 2018.
The rapid declining of the Vaquitas is a
recent occurrence and was written about in a
National Geographic article in 2012. One of the
major players in the research and conservation of
the porpoise is the Mexican government. More
specifically, they have restricted the areas where
fishing is allowed and have altogether banned
hunting the the Valquitas. Overall, this discovery
was made by multiple scientists in order to save the
porpoises known as the Valquitas.

The decrease in the population of the


Vaquitas is another piece of evidence for
evolution through biogeography. Because the
Vaquitas are only found in one location, they
are dependent on that environment.
Furthermore, they have to stay in that one
location, because of the perfect combination
of water depth as well as natural resources.
The Gulf of California's pollutants and fishing
has devastated the population and has made
their number rapidly decrease; therefore, the
species has to evolve to survive the conditions
of the environment.

References for Evidence


Evidence

Reference

Armadillos, Anteaters, Antishrikes, and Armored


Catfish

http://www.nicholls.edu/biol-ds/biol370/Lectures/Geography%20of
%20Evolution.pdf
http://geology.com/pangea.htm

Darwin's Finches

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/biogeography-watchingdarwins-finches.html
http://www.aboutdarwin.com

Shark and Dolphins

https://www.boundless.com/biology/textbooks/boundless-biologytextbook/evolution-and-the-origin-of-species-18/evidence-ofevolution-129/convergent-evolution-525-13103/

Rabbit's Fur

http://www.aitc.sk.ca/saskschools/arctic/Ahare.html

Evidence

Reference

Vaquita Porpoise

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140813-vaquita-gulfcalifornia-mexico-totoaba-gillnetting-china-baiji/