Lesson 7

Could Miroungas and Piloses be Related?

Big Idea: The selective survival and reproduction of organisms with sets of beneficial trait variants over multiple generations can lead to the emergence of a population that is so distinct from the original population that we classify it as a new species. Despite these species looking very different, they share a common ancestor: different looking species can therefore be related.

Activity: A storybook provides evidence on how organisms that look very different might be related. Students use their understanding of natural selection to explain how a group of piloses, swept away and isolated on a distant island became so different that when a scientist saw them they gave them a different name – miroungas. They decide which variants of three pilosa traits would be most beneficial for swimming in deep island water and thus would be likely to appear more frequently in future generations.

Materials to Have Ready

  • Review the table at the end of the lesson plan

Video Overview (1:59)

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