Evidence for evolution 5.1

There are different types of evidence which support the theory of evolution, from fossils to selective breeding. This topic covers a range of evidence and some of the concepts related to inheritance, natural selection and evolution. 

Key concepts

Learn and test your biological vocabulary for 5.1 Evidence for evolution using these flashcards.

Essentials

These slides summarise the essential understanding and skills in this topic. 
They contain short explanations in text and images - good revision for all students.

Read the slides and look up any words or details you find difficult to understand.

Summary

Revision summary list for 5.1 Evidence for evolution

  • A change in the heritable characteristics of a species is evolution.
  • Evidence for evolution comes from
    • the fossil record.
    • Selective breeding of domesticated animals
    • "Adaptive radiation" can explain similar structures with different functions.
    • Isolated populations can produce separate species by divergent evolution.
    • Continuous variation across the geographical range of related populations matches the concept of gradual divergence.

Skills (can you ....)

  • Describe how the dark bark leads to the development of melanistic insects in polluted areas.
  • Compare and contrast the pentadactyl limb of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
  • Describe how each limb structure is adapted to each different method of locomotion.

Mindmaps

These diagram summaries cover the main sections of topic 4.3 Carbon cycle.
Study them and draw your own list or concept map, from memory if you can.

Exam style questions

Exam style question about pentadactyl limbs as evidence of evolution

The question below, requires an understanding of the structure of the pentadactyl limb and the differences and adaptations which can be found in different animals. In this case the examples are birds and humans.

Answer the question on paper and then compare your answer to the model answer.

Compare and contrast the pentadactyl limb of mammals and birds. [4]

  • Include similarities in structure
  • Mention differences in specific elements

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Describe how the structure of the wing and hand is adapted to each different function [2]

  • Try to link structure and function in each point of your answers?

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Explain how the existence of these structures in birds and mammals provides evidence supporting the theory of evolution. [3]

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Click the + icon to see a model answer.

Extra exam question about adaptive radiation (evolution).   Click to open it .

The question below, requires an understanding of adaptive radiation, but also knowledge of the finches of the Galapagos islands. Explaining how the finches provides evidence for the process of adaptive radiation is worth thinking through and practising.

Answer the question on paper and then compare your answer to the model answer.

The diagram below, drawn by Darwin, illustrates the size and shape of finch species in the Galapagos islands.

Explain how the shape of beaks in Galapagos finches provides evidence for adaptive radiation[4]

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Extra exam question on speciation    - - - click to open.

Speciation is the evolution of two distinct species from a common ancestor.

Answer the question on paper and then compare your answer to the model answer.

Outline how one population of a species can evolve into two separate species. (5 marks).





Hint: Outline requires the main points. The word "speciation" is not in the question and so will gain credit.
Click on the "+" icon to see a model answer.

Test yourself

Multiple choice questions

This is a self marking quiz containing questions covering the topic outlined above.
Try the questions to check your understanding.


START QUIZ!

This is a second self marking quiz containing different questions covering the topic outlined above in a slightly different way.


START QUIZ!

Drag and drop activities

Test your ability to construct biological explanations using the drag and drop questions below.

The acceptance of a scientific theory requires evidence. Fossils are one piece of evidence for the scientific theory of evolution.

Drag and drop the correct word or phrase to outline the evidence for evolution provided by fossils.

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present day long time scales complexity sequences living hundreds of years internal organs hard preserved shells extinct single-celled

Fossils are the remains of previously living organisms. Bones and are commonly fossilised as they are and durable by nature.

Fossils provide evidence for evolution in several ways:

  1. They demonstrate the existence of organisms that are not now .
  2. Fossil show gradual evolution of species.
  3. Fossils provide evidence of evolution over .
  4. Fossils of now species can be linked to species.
  5. The sequence in time of the fossil record equates with the increasing of living organisms from to multicellular organisms.

Fossils are good evidence of the evolution of life over a long time scale.


Just for fun

Everyone needs a bit of fun while they revise. Try this Evidence for evolution arcade game.
Can you reach the leader board?