To rate this resource, click a star:
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
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.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)
- The fossil record provides evidence for evolution.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.
- Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)
- Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)
- Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life.