Evolution for Educators: Week 2 Review

This week in my online course, I rediscovered that I am a procrastinator.  I realized that I had course material to work through that was due and a paper to write.  Needless to say, I started on this extremely early: a whole day before I had to have the paper turned in!

I tackled the material and weekly quiz first. Part of the material was a description of the intent and requirements of the assignment.

The writing assignment required that we select an example given in the course materials and describe how that example is evidence for evolution.  We had 600 words, plus 100 for references (we were required to cite our sources).  On the day my essay was due, I wrote it.  I’m not particularly embarrassed to admit that.  I chose a deliberately obscure reference from the materials: one that was mentioned in passing, but not explored or developed in the course.  That is typical of me.  I never chose the easy topic, I never chose the obvious example.  I seem to like to create work for myself.

In this particular case, I chose to write about cannibalistic tadpoles, and how that trait might fulfil the requirements for evolution: variation (within the species and among related species), heritability, and response to selective pressure; in particular, I wanted to address how a trait that seemed so counterintuitive to survival (cannibalism) could actually be adaptive.  I found it an interesting exploration.

I also discovered that it was nearly impossible for me to write something that short! I do suffer from verbosity, but aside from that, I found it very difficult to explore the topic in as much depth as I wished.  However, I managed to write the (very brief) essay and got it proofread before I submitted it (on time).

I also resolved not to wait so late on the Week 3 material.

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