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This research profile follows ornithologist Kim Bostwick through the jungles of Ecuador and the halls of museums as she investigates the evolution of an exotic bird's complex mating dance.
UC Museum of Paleontology
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of animal reproduction and behavior (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This research profile includes discussion and essay questions that can be assigned to students. Get tips for using research profiles in your classroom.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.
- Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.
- Features sometimes acquire new functions through natural selection.
- Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution.
- Evolution occurs through multiple mechanisms.
- Sexual selection occurs when selection acts on characteristics that affect the ability of individuals to obtain mates.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence.
- 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.
- Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.
- The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.
- Scientific findings and evidence inspire new questions and shape the directions of future scientific research.
- Science is a human endeavor.
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple lines of evidence (including morphological, developmental, and molecular evidence) to infer the relatedness of taxa.
- Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.
- Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence.
- The principle of parsimony suggests that the phylogenetic hypothesis most likely to be true is the one requiring the fewest evolutionary changes.
- Evolutionary trees can be used to make inferences and predictions.