Natural Selection Within a Species
Natural selection is the evolutionary process by which the most adaptable individuals survive. An adaptation is an inherited variation that helps an organism to survive. When the organism survives, its chances of reproduction are increased as well as its ability to pass on its inherited traits. All members of a species are different from one another. In this activity, you will investigate two variations among peanut plants --- length of shell and number of seeds per shell. Most shells contain a certain number of seeds which is an adaptation to its survival.
Students will investigate natural selection in peanuts.
50 peanuts in shells, metric ruler, pencil, graph paper
|Length of Shell
|Number of Shells|
|Number of Seeds Per Shell||Number of Shells|
What is the most common length of the shells you measured?
What was the most common number of seeds in the peanut shells that you opened?
What might happen if each shell contained fewer than normal seeds and why?
What might happen if each shell contained more than the normal number of seeds and why?
Was there a relationship between the most common length of shells and the number of seeds they contained? Explain your answer.
Write 1-2 paragraphs explaining how shell length and seed number in peanuts illustrates natural selection within this species.