Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko’s research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.
UC Museum of Paleontology
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Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.
- There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit.
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.
- Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Science is a human endeavor.
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.