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This activity assumes students have a background in evolutionary theory, so students without such a background should have additional instruction prior to conducting this part of the activity. Consider a discussion of mechanisms that drive evolution, including genetic drift, natural selection, and gene flow. Evolution is a change in gene frequencies in a population over the course of several generations.

Genes are the genetic code controlling many individual characteristics or traits, so the frequency at which genes occur dictates, in large part, the frequency at which individual characteristics or traits exist in a population. The frequency of a gene can increase or decrease due to selection (including natural, sexual, and/or artificial selection), genetic drift, gene flow, and/or genetic mutation. Natural selection is the evolutionary process whereby certain individuals have traits that are better suited for their environment, and thus have a better chance at reproductive success compared to other members of the same species. Over many generations, selection favors genotypes with the most advantageous traits and other genotypes die off, causing the gene frequency of a population to change and evolution to occur.

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Nature; Environmental ethics; Values;

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Curricular Materials


Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Philosophy




This learning module was developed as part of a 2018-2019 NEH Human Connections grant to Rowan University faculty titled Cultivating the Environmental Humanities. This content is copyright 2020 by the authors and must be properly attributed (see Recommended Citation). Contact the author for reuse permission.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Are Humans Natural? Part 4: Human-Nature Relational Values through Time