Evolutionary forces

  1. A friend of yours has found out you are taking a course on human evolution. Your friend tells you that “Well,
    that’s okay to talk about evolution as a theory, but that’s all it is. Evolution is a theory, not a fact. It might have
    occurred, but on the other hand, it might not have occurred.” How do you correct your friend’s understanding of
    fact and theory?
  2. A friend of yours finds out that you are taking a course on human evolution and tells you, “I can’t accept
    evolution because it means that all of life has been due just to chance.” You assume that your friend means all
    evolutionary change is random. You explain to your friend that evolution is due to several evolutionary forces
    (mutation, drift, selection) and has both random and non-random components. Describe your explanation in
    more detail including brief definitions of the evolutionary forces and how they are random or non-random.
  3. The reading assignments for Unit 10 provided you with some background on how we can get estimates of
    the age of fossils, including methods such as carbon-14 dating and argon dating, among others. Why are
    geologic dates important when studying evolution? Do not spend any time talking about the mechanics of
    dating methods, but limit yourself to a direct answer on why we need to know the dates of fossils.

Sample Solution