Evolution and Natural Selection in Darwin’s Finches

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Evolution and natural selection were Charles Darwin’s theories that sought to explain the origin, migration and population of living things. All living things fight for their survival through the application of their internal instincts. They also have natural features that enable them to exist and survive in the environment. The paper would examine a test to identify certain traits in the beaks of birds. The hypothesis is that the bigger the beak, the larger the seed that it can pick. Another assumption is that the smaller the beak, the more the seeds it picks.

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During the first test, environmental conditions were normal (Hodge 69). The seeds were the same for each category. There were 100 seeds for every type. The pliers picked 166 sunflower seeds, 115 millet and 16 thistles. They were the total results after every person in the group had used the pliers. The curved tweezers picked 119 sunflowers, 100 millet and 20 thistle seeds. It shows that the pliers did not pick as many thistles as it was able to pick the sunflowers and the millet. The large forceps picked 40 sunflower seeds, 122 millet and 65 thistle seeds. The small forceps picked 21 sunflower seeds, 178 millet and 89 thistle seeds. The forceps had difficulties picking the sunflower seeds as much as they picked millet seeds (Donohue 399).

In the normal condition, it seems that all the beaks performed better when they had to pick millet. The total number of millet seeds that the beaks picked was 515. They picked 346 sunflower seeds and 190 thistles. It shows that in the familiar environment, both beaks can survive comfortably on millet seeds. They would have difficulties in finding and picking thistle seeds (Hodge 69).

The results were different for the sunflower category. The outcome shows that the bigger the seed, the bigger the beak that could pick the seeds. The small forceps could only pick a few seeds while the pliers picked most of the seeds (Donohue 399). The pliers picked 166 seeds while the small forceps picked 21 seeds. The results are also indicative of the same for the thistle seeds. The small forceps picked more seeds than the pliers. The pliers picked 16 seeds in total while the forceps picked 89 seeds.

During the typical test, most of the beaks picked more millet than the rest of the seeds. The least amount of seeds was the thistles. The total number of seeds was 1,051. The pliers were the most adaptive because they picked more seeds than the rest of the tools. It picked 297 seeds. The small forceps picked 288 seeds while the curved pliers and the large forceps picked 239 and 227 consecutively.

Another aspect of the test required the change of environment. During the drought condition, there was the need to use 200 sunflower seeds. The millet seeds were 50. The thistle seeds were also 50. The pliers picked more sunflower seeds than the rest of the tools. It picked 224 sunflower seeds, 61 millet seeds and two thistle seeds. The curved pliers also showed the same trend. It picked 230 sunflower seeds, 73 millet seeds and eight thistle seeds. The pattern changed when it came to the forceps (Grant and Grant 385). The large forceps picked 271 millet seeds, 33 thistles and 29 sunflower seeds. The small forceps picked 190 millet seeds, 74 thistles, and 13 sunflower seeds.

Normal Condition

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Drought Condition

During the drought condition, the total amount of the millet that the beaks picked was 595. The tools picked 496 sunflower seeds and 74 thistle seeds. All the instruments picked a total of 1,208 seeds combined. It was a higher figure compared to the normal condition. The large forceps picked the most amounts of seeds than all the other tools. It picked 333 seeds. The curved pliers picked 311 seeds while the pliers and small forceps picked 287 and 277 consecutively.

The seeds with the highest frequency were the millet. The total number of the millet was 1,110. Sunflowers were 842 seeds while the thistles were 307. The millet seeds seemed to fair well with all the beaks. The small and large forceps had the highest amount of millet seeds. The pliers and the small pliers also picked more millet seeds during the normal condition (Grant and Grant 385).

The most adaptive beak type was the small forceps. Although the pliers had the highest number of seeds, they picked the least seeds in two of the three categories. The small forceps beak type could pick a considerable amount of seeds from all the categories. It seems that the tool’s little beak could still pick the large seeds and the small seeds better than the beak types (Donohue 399).

During the drought conditions, the beaks picked more sunflower seeds as compared to the normal state. The leading beaks in this category were the pliers and the curved pliers. Both of them picked a total of 454 seeds during the drought condition and a total of 285 during the normal state. The drought situation was also leading in the millet category (Donohue 399). It had 595 seeds while the typical case had 515 seeds. But the thistles performed differently. There were 190 seeds in the normal condition and 117 seeds in the drought condition. The beaks picked 1,208 seeds during the drought condition and 1,051 seeds during the steady-state. Millet had the highest number of the two forceps while the sunflower seeds had the largest number of the two pliers beak types.

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When there was drought, the large forceps beak types picked 333 seeds. It was the highest among its other beak types. It picked 271 millet seeds. It was the greatest number. The small forceps picked the least amount of seeds. It had a total of 277 seeds. It picked less than 200 seeds in all its categories. The pliers-type of beak only had significant challenges picking the thistle seeds (Martínez 280).

The data supports the hypothesis that bigger beaks pick larger seeds while smaller beaks pick most of the seeds. The larger beak type was the pliers. It picked 390 sunflower seeds. But it could not pick a good amount of the thistle seeds because they were small. In fact, it picked only two thistle seeds during the drought condition. The small forceps type of beak selected a total of 565 seeds and an average of 94 seeds in every category. In all the categories, it did not pick any amount that was less than ten seeds. The change of environment caused the beak types to change their picking pace. During the drought, they picked more seeds because they had to survive through the harsh conditions. The smaller beak types also increased their seed picking during the dry state.

Works Cited

Donohue, Kathleen. Darwin’s Finches. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.

Grant, Peter R, and B. Rosemary Grant. The Evolution of Darwin’s Finches, Mockingbirds and Flies. Firenze: L.S. Olschki, 2010. Print.

Hodge, M. J. S. Darwin Studies. Farnham, UK: Ashgate/Variorum, 2009. Print.

Martínez, Alberto A. Science Secrets. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011. Print.

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