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Adaptation and Evolution of Populations

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Evolution is No Game
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Evolution is No Game

Credit: Sid Mosdell
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidm/7311820688/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A predator would have a very hard time seeing this grasshopper. The grasshopper’s coloring has undergone natural selection so that it matches the ground surface.

Why It Matters

  • For an animal to live long enough to have babies, it can’t get eaten. 
  • There are a few ways to do this. You could be big enough or mean enough that you eat the predator first. You could escape by running or swimming very fast. 
  • Another good way is to be camouflaged so that predators can’t see you. How would an animal evolve to match its background? And what happens if the likely background changes? 
  • Credit: Colin Houston
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colhou/4633274118/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    A Leopard Chameleon blends into the leaves [Figure2]


Explore More

With the link below, learn more about evolution by natural selection. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Which “organisms” are the most likely to survive when the background is yellow?
  2. If the background is yellow and most of the organisms are yellow, but you change the background to red, what happens to the populations of the yellow organisms and the red organisms?
  3. What happens to the total population if there are only yellow organisms and you change the background color to purple?
  4. Think about the grasshopper in the image above. How did its ancestors evolve to match the background so perfectly?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Sid Mosdell; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidm/7311820688/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Colin Houston; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colhou/4633274118/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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