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BIO475: Evolution

Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in 1973 that, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and his statement still holds true today.

Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in 1973 that, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and his statement still holds true today. Students will read Jonathan Weiner's Pulitzer-prize-winning book, The Beak of the Finch, which documents an ongoing 40-year study of evolution in Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands. They will also read selected chapters from Sean Carroll's text on the burgeoning field of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Evo-Devo) Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, Marlene Zuk's Paleofantasy and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True, among others. Journal articles examining current studies in evolutionary processes such as character displacement and sexual selection will be discussed by the students. Labs will include an investigation of avian comparative anatomy and a study of the students' own mitochondrial DNA using molecular techniques such as PCR and gel electrophoresis to compare their sequences to Neanderthals, Otzi the Iceman and other modern humans.