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Discuss the adaptive significance (natural selection pressures) of human variation with regards to skin color, responses to the thermal (heat) environment, and high altitude.


Essay Questions, I will choose four essay questions from the list below (they will be worth 25 points each)

1. Based on lecture by Dr. Joe Lorenz posted in Canvas, and your reading of chapter 12 answer the following — Why do most anthropologists feel that “human races” make little sense as biology but need to be understood as an aspect of culture? Be sure to include specific information from both sources in your answer.

2. Discuss the adaptive significance (natural selection pressures) of human variation with regards to skin color, responses to the thermal (heat) environment, and high altitude. Be sure to discuss the geographic patterning of these adaptations and their significance with regards to natural selection. For example why do dark-skinned people have a survival advantage in the tropics? Also be sure to include a discussion of the pertinent anatomical and physiological details of these adaptations.

3. Several times in chapter 13 the authors discuss a “mismatch” between our evolved biology and our contemporary lifestyles. They suggest this mismatch has negative consequences for our health. Do you agree that many of our health problems result from this mismatch or do you think our health is generally better than our ancestors? Be sure to discuss at least three examples from the reading and be clear about what is meant by “mismatch”

4. Based on your viewing of the video: Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life answer the following: How was the voyage of the Beagle in 1831 influential on Darwin’s thinking about nature? Why did Darwin wait so long to publish his theory of evolution via natural selection? What prompted him to finally publish The Origin of Species in 1859? What was the general reaction by the scientific community and church? Darwin’s theory requires evolutionary connections between the great animal groups (brids, reptiles, mammals, etc.) Do these connections exist? Provide at least one example and discuss its significance. How is the analogy between the intricate parts of the human eye and the parts of a watch used to argue against evolution? What evidence is presented in the video that contradicts this? Why were Gregor Mendel’s discoveries, and those of Watson and Crick, so important to our understanding of evolution? When did life on earth begin? When did insects and amphibians appear? What is the difference between amphibians and reptiles? When did dinosaurs become extinct? One branch of dinosaurs survived, which one? How are mammals different from other animals?

5. Based on your reading of Science, Evolution, and Creationism – answer the following:
What is evolution and how does it occur? What is the evidence for biological evolution? Why is an understanding of biological evolution important? What is the nature of science and how does it differ from religion and creationism? Why do some creationists oppose explanations based on biological evolution? Are evolution and religion opposing ideas? (The best essays will use specific terms and examples from the reading to support their answers. Most importantly convince me that you read and thought about the book. We read this entire booklet, impress me with how much you thought about it.

6. Based on your reading of chapter 13, what exactly is meant by “the human disconnection?” (This may be a short question but that does not mean I am looking for a short answer. I am trying to determine if you have thought deeply about the concepts in the chapter, this is important material. ) Be sure to support your answer with specific information from the reading.


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