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Objectives

Students should be able to:

  1. Understand the how various types of evidence is used to support the concept of evolution.

  2. Identify local marine fossils, and utilizing this information, infer the type of environment under which they were living.

  3. Identify selected fossils from the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and utilizing this information, infer the type of environment under which they were living.

  4. Determine the biochemical relatedness of various types of fish by analyzing their proteins using gel electrophoresis.

  5. Describe how biochemical evidence is used to determine the evolutionary relationships among organisms.

  6. Describe how fossil evidence is used to determine the evolutionary relationships among organisms.
     

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Introduction

Evolution is change, change over time. When applied to life, it is as Charles Darwin stated, descent with modification from a common ancestor. It occurs over the spectrum of life on the earth, and offers insight into how life changed over the last 3.5 billion years. It is controversial, even among biologists. There is disagreement among biologists as to how evolution occurs, how fast, the factors which drive it, etc., but there is no disagreement concerning the concept of evolution. It is one of the basic tenets of biology. Evolution has no means to an end, it is random, continuous, and adaptive. It is essential in the explanations of the diversity of life, the unity of life, biological relationships and the enormous number of empirical facts of biology. It is in other words, the "unifying theory of biology".

Our approach is to let you examine some of the types of evidences for evolution. These are only a miniscule portion of the entire body of evidence that supports biological evolution. We will examine portions of the fossil record, population genetics, and biochemical evidences.

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Pre-lab Activity

Pre-Lab Activity #1 - Biographies

Go to Access Science (from the LRC Homepage) and find the biographies of the following persons. Print it out, read it, it will help you with your Pre-Lab Questions. Attach it to your Pre-Lab Questions

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Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882)

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Alfred Russel Wallace (1823  - 1913)

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Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900 - 1975)

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Pre-Lab Activity #2 - Geologic Eras

Using any resources available to you, find a geological history chart that includes the eras, periods, and if possible the dominant life forms for the periods. Print it out so it can be used in lab.

The following sites may be of assistance when answering Pre and Post-Lab Questions, and questions on the Data Collection Sheets.

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UCMP Web Time Machine

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Geologic Time Chart of Virginia

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Geologic Time (Set printer to Landscape before printing this)

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Pre-Lab Activity #3 - Data Collection Sheets

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Evolution - Download and print this data collection sheet for lab.

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Pre-Lab Activity #4 - Yorktown Formation Fossils

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Yorktown Formation - Download and print out this document for use in lab.

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Image of Yorktown Formation (in situ)

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Pre-Lab Questions (html version)           Pre-Lab Questions (Word version)

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The Laboratory Activities and Data Collection

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Lab Activity #1 - Fossils of Coastal Virginia (Yorktown Formation)

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Virtual Version - Click on this version if you wish to do this portion of the lab virtually.  You will be viewing images of the fossils and materials. Asked the instructor for a copy of the Identification Guide before attempting this version.

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Lab Activity #1 - Fossils of Coastal Virginia (Yorktown Formation) - In-lab version.

Materials:

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Selected representative fossil species

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Selected modern representative species

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Identification Guide - Handout in lab

Procedures:

  1. View the representative fossils, and using the identification guide, ascertain their common and/or scientific name.

  2. Using various resources available to you, determine their phylum.

  3. Using various resources available to you, determine their habitat.

  4. Compare them with modern representatives. Is there a change? Explain.

  5. Answer the questions on the Data Collection Sheet.

 

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Lab Activity #2 - Fossils of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras

Materials:

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Fossil Kits for the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras- Data Collection Sheet. See Pre-Lab Activity #3

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Identification Guide - Handout in lab

Procedures:

  1. Obtain a fossil kit for one of the above geologic eras

  2. Obtain the identification guide for the fossils in the kit

  3. Choose four (4) fossils at random and fill in the information requested on the Data Collection Sheet.

  4. Repeat this process until you have examined the fossils of the three geologic eras.

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Lab Activity #3 - Population Genetics and Evolution

Materials:

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Handout on Population Genetics and Evolution

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Materials to carry out the exercise

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Data Collection Sheet

Procedures:

  1. Follow the procedures as outlined in the handout. - This is a class activity.

  2. Record your data on the Data Collection Sheet.

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Lab Activity #4 - Biochemical Evidence: Analysis of Fish Protein (Optional Activity as determined by the instructor)

Materials:

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Gel electrophoresis chamber

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Gel tray

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Fish protein samples

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Protein gel agarose

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Comb

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Wire micropipets

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Water bath

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Staining solution (Coomassie)

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Destaining solution (Coomassie)

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Protein size standards

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Gloves

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Staining tray

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Procedural/Protocol handout

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Data Collection Sheet

Procedures:

  1. Follow the procedures as outlined in the handout.

  2. Record your data on the Data Collection Sheet.

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Post-lab Activity and Data Analysis

Results and Analysis

  1. Fill in all data on the Data Collection Sheets (2).

  2. Answer all Post-Lab Questions.

  3. Return all materials to the area designated by the instructor.

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Post-Lab Questions (html version)     Post-Lab Questions (Word version)

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