Essays for Final Exam; EVO 301; GG; SP 2015


Of the following, four will emerge on the final exam – and you’ll be asked to complete three of these during the final exam period. Your encouraged to write drafts ahead of time and bring your work to Glenn or to one of the TAs to get feedback before the exam.

  1. Describe the ideas of “natural selection,” “adaptation,” “genetic fitness,” and “reproductive success.” In your essay, address how these concepts are inter-related. Finally, address what these concepts imply about understanding evolution at level of genes or of individual organisms (compared with evolution at the level of a species).
  2. Glass, Wilson, and Geher (2012) provide evidence that evolution training is hard to obtain in modern higher education. Provide a summary of their reasoning along with a summary of their data.
  3. Describe the specific idea of “Evolutionary Psychology” – including how it conceptualizes behavioral patterns. In your answer, be sure to address the metaphor of the “selfish gene.”
  4. A few of the readings address evolutionary studies (EvoS) as a truly interdisciplinary endeavor. Explain what “interdisciplinary” means in this context – along with some of the evidence provided in the readings that speak to the idea of EvoS as being particularly interdisciplinary. Finally, take all this information into account in commenting about the future of evolution in higher education.
  5. Briefly describe Kara Belinsky’s work on veeries in response to manipulated predator stimuli. Briefly describe the methodology used (particularly related to dusk-related vocalizations) – and briefly summarize the main findings. Finally, address how these findings can be thought in terms of the concept of adaptation.
  6. Wright’s work on lemurs tells a great evolutionary story. Address how the highly biodiverse nature of lemur species relates to the early ecology of Madagascar. In this essay on lemur evolution and ecology, describe three specific adaptations that Wright addressed (regarding any species of lemurs) and explicate how these features make the concept of adaptation clear.
  7. Dr. Todd described modern technologies used to examine how related species are to one another. Briefly describe the nature of these technologies and then address how he has been able to document the existence of newly discovered species of primates as a results.
  8. O’Brien studies human territorial behavior from an ecological perspective. Briefly describe some of his main findings (including the concept of neighborhood “custodians”) from his 311 research. Finally, address how his findings can be thought of in terms of adaptations.
  9. Guitar’s work on the evolutionary psychology of social media suggests that evolutionary concepts can help elucidate much in the way of how people use social media. Describe three specific phenomena that she covered – and, in each case, describe a specific evolution-related concept that she includes in her explanation.
  10. Lynn focuses on the evolutionary origins of religion. In his work, he talks about religious events that include “speaking in tongues.” Briefly describe this work – including how he has provided evidence for an adaptive explanation of these kinds of phenomena.
  11. Wade focuses on an evolutionary psychological account of relationship termination – with a focus on sex differences. Describe at least two male-specific reasons for relationship termination – and two female-specific reasons – and address how these can be explained from an evolutionary perspective.