What are the key premises of Darwin's theory of Natural Selection?
Overproduction of offspring,
variation in traits that benefit of hurt offspring,
heritability of traits
Define Natural Selection, Fitness, and teleology
The beneficial traits will last through generations. The mechanism of evolution.
Fitness: measure of reproductive success, number of offspring that are born and survive to reproduce
teleological: not heading toward a goal; not perfect or unconstrained, etc.
Why reproduce using sex? What are the tradeoffs?
Asexuals (1) can't purge their genomes of harmful mutations, (2) at a greater risk of being wiped out by parasites/pathogens, and (3) have higher levels of sibling competition.
With sex you have variation in offspring also
Disadvantages of sex: only pass off 50% of genes and trouble of courting/finding someone, depend on others
Why are males and females different in many species? Where can we see the largest difference?
Females invest a lot in reproduction, males not so much... usually males have "ornaments" (like a peacock or lion's mane, etc)
It increases the male's chances of passing on their genes--reproducing
Why did we develop bipedalism or desire for sweetness? How can we test this hypothesis? Any data?
Bipedalism allows us to carry things, throw things--purpose of hunting better etc. (Tarahamarro tribe)
sweetness used to be hard to come by, and it gave substance and calories. Also usually means it is safe to eat (not poisonous). Those who can acquire sweetness (Tete) are those who have increased chance of reproduction, fitness, etc.
Corrected misconceptions about evolution:
Only populations evolve, not individuals
Selection is not teleological
Every species carries artifacts from earlier environments (ex. sweetness)
Sexual selection is a special case--individuals do not do things for the "good of the species"