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Explain The Evidence For Evolution

In this worksheet, students will explain the modern evidence and fossil discoveries that scientists use as evidence for evolution and update systems of classification.

'Explain The Evidence For Evolution' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  

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Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Evidence For Evolution

 

 

For centuries, there’s been debate regarding the development of life, all thanks to Darwin.

 

He published ideas stating EVOLUTION was due to NATURAL SELECTION, explaining that different individuals of the same species have variations of the same characteristic, e.g. height.

 

The more advantageous versions thrive in the environment and survive to breed, passing on these positive genetic differences down generations.

 

An example that supports Darwin’s theories is ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE in bacterial evolution.

 

Bacteria reproduce fast and the constant turn-over of DNA leads to MUTATIONS and new strains of bacteria, some of which can’t be killed by certain antibiotics.

 

This is a demonstration of natural selection: advantageous mutations occur and help the bacteria survive by resisting the deadly antibiotic, going onto multiply and pass on these variations.

 

 

Evidence for Human Evolution

 

 

Human evolution was also proposed by Darwin to be the result of natural selection, believing all organisms ultimately originate from simpler beings.

 

We prove this using FOSSIL discovery, which are preserved imprints or remains of organisms that were alive millions of years ago.

 

Archaeologists have used these fossil records to develop evidence for human evolution, primarily with 2 key discoveries in the lovely African ladies LUCY and ARID!

 

Arid is our older lady, being a female fossilised human-like skeleton from 4.4 million years ago, her bones suggesting that humans and chimpanzees didn’t evolve together.

 

Lucy is slightly younger at 3.2 million years old and is another African fossilised skeleton that seems human-like with suggestions of an upright posture and foot bones like modern-day humans but a smaller skull.

 

Also, more evidence was provided by the Leakeys, a scientific couple who discovered fossils as old as 1.6 million years, heavily resembling modern-day humans even more so than Arid and Lucy!

 

 

Another sign that we have evolved over time is the discovery of STONE TOOLS from 2.5 million-year-old flint hand axes to 10,000-year-old arrowheads.

 

However, all dates are an indirect estimate as scientists consider the tool as old as the rock around it!

 

 

From 5 Kingdoms to 3 Domains Using Genetic Analysis

To organise the information gathered from fossils and living organisms, classification systems were designed to categorise beings based on their characteristics.

 

An early model was the 7 group LINNAEAN SYSTEM, placing organisms in gradually smaller and more specific groups, the first group being the 5 Kingdoms.

 

However, the Linnaean system was founded on human judgment, and scientific advances have now updated classification by allowing scientists to document more details that they can use to compare organisms, even down to the genetic level!

 

GENETIC ANALYSIS highlights DNA base sequences we can use to contrast the relations between beings, leading Carl Woese to propose the THREE-DOMAIN SYSTEM. 

Which of these would be considered fossils?

Solidified Footprints

Shell Imprints in rock

Bones and Teeth

A Mosquito Frozen in Ice

What 3 discoveries have helped prove the theory of human evolution?

Solidified Footprints

Shell Imprints in rock

Bones and Teeth

A Mosquito Frozen in Ice

If sediment on a discovered arrowhead is 3 million years old, do scientists consider the tool the same age or older?

Solidified Footprints

Shell Imprints in rock

Bones and Teeth

A Mosquito Frozen in Ice

Which scientist(s) helped to provide fossil evidence to support human evolution?

Darwin

Mary and Louis Leakey

Carl Woese

Carl Linneaus

With modern scientific advances, the classification of organisms has gone from a...

Darwin

Mary and Louis Leakey

Carl Woese

Carl Linneaus

What data did Carl Woese use when he designed the Three-Domain System? 

Genetic analysis can be used to contrast the relations between beings using DNA, improving classification methods.

 

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

The early, traditional system of classification was called the...? 

Mutations lead to evolution, but what really happens in this process called Natural Selection?

Column A

Column B

1. Sometimes when beings reproduce, the DNA they g...
breed
2. Some can be advantageous, helping the organism ...
live longer
3. During this time, the organisms...
passed on
4. This way, the positive characteristics are...
mutate

Darwin's theories changed how scientists looked at development from the past and in the future, and there are some modern occurrences that have helped support his proposals.

Column A

Column B

1. Sometimes when beings reproduce, the DNA they g...
breed
2. Some can be advantageous, helping the organism ...
live longer
3. During this time, the organisms...
passed on
4. This way, the positive characteristics are...
mutate
  • Question 1

Which of these would be considered fossils?

CORRECT ANSWER
Solidified Footprints
Shell Imprints in rock
Bones and Teeth
A Mosquito Frozen in Ice
EDDIE SAYS
ALL TRUE! Fossils are preserved remanents of creatures that lived millions of years ago. These can be hard like bones and teeth which are slowly replaced with minerals over time. They can also be soft tissues that have been encased in a protective barrier that stopped them decaying, like insects in amber, tar or ice! Finally, footprints or trails of beings or imprinted patterns of decayed shells are all also considered fossils!
  • Question 2

What 3 discoveries have helped prove the theory of human evolution?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Arid and Lucy are the two African human-like fossilised skeletons that have allowed scientists to provide evidence supporting Darwin\'s theory of evolution. They demonstrate how similar we are to our ancestors but also what features we\'ve lost or gained through natural selection, for example, Lucy had a smaller skull than us and Arid had very long arms and toes! The discovery of stone tools also shows the advancement of cognition and resourcefulness as time went on, so this is also an important demonstration of human evolution.
  • Question 3

If sediment on a discovered arrowhead is 3 million years old, do scientists consider the tool the same age or older?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Dating of artefacts is estimated BASED ON THE ENVIRONMENT IT\'S FOUND IN! So the answer is the same because if the rock layers on the arrowhead are 3 million years old, we know the tool has existed for at least 3 million years, anything else can\'t be supported.
  • Question 4

Which scientist(s) helped to provide fossil evidence to support human evolution?

CORRECT ANSWER
Mary and Louis Leakey
EDDIE SAYS
Lots of scientists means lots of opportunity for confusion but hopefully this question has helped clarify who did what! Darwin created the theory of evolution, Woese and Linnaeus contributed to classification systems, and so the remaining Leakeys are the ones responsible for discovering fossils which show very close resemblance to modern-day humans.
  • Question 5

With modern scientific advances, the classification of organisms has gone from a...

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The Linnaean system is a 7 group system, the largest and first group being the Kingdom an organism belongs to like we belong to the animal kingdom. There are 5 Kingdoms to know about: Plant, Animal, Protists, Prokaryotes and Fungi. However Linnaeus relied on the characteristics he could see to classify beings, so when scientific advances were made, Carl Woese proposed a THREE Domain System instead, using more detailed data from microscopes and examining DNA.
  • Question 6

What data did Carl Woese use when he designed the Three-Domain System? 

CORRECT ANSWER
GENETIC ANALYSIS
EDDIE SAYS
Looking at the genetic structure of organisms was one thing Linneaus couldn't do because he didn't have the technology available, but Woese did, leading to the Thre Domain System of classification.
  • Question 7

Genetic analysis can be used to contrast the relations between beings using DNA, improving classification methods.

 

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this question? Genetic analysis shows use the ordering of the bases in an organism's genome. This section of DNA can be compared to another organism's to see if they have the same base sequence, and the more bases that are different, the less closely related the beings are! I hope it's clear now that Woese proposed a THREE domain system, not five, but he did use genetic analysis to decide on the domains. Well done on making it through this activity!
  • Question 8

The early, traditional system of classification was called the...? 

CORRECT ANSWER
LINNAEAN SYSTEM
EDDIE SAYS
Carl Linneaus proposed a 7 group classification system that split organisms into groups from kingdoms all the way down to specific species using their characteristics. This was an early model of categorisation as scientists at the time had less technology and no microscopes, and since then more models have been proposed.
  • Question 9

Mutations lead to evolution, but what really happens in this process called Natural Selection?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1. Sometimes when beings reproduc...
mutate
2. Some can be advantageous, help...
live longer
3. During this time, the organism...
breed
4. This way, the positive charact...
passed on
EDDIE SAYS
So let\'s use bacteria as an example: 1. Bacteria multiply fast and the continuous replication of DNA means sometimes the sequence doesn\'t get copied as it should, leading to a MUTATION in the DNA. 2. Sometimes this changes nothing, sometimes it makes the organism sick but sometimes it helps it to become stronger and live longer. 3. The longer an organism lives, the more chance it has to reproduce. 4. And when it does, there is a chance that it will pass on this advantageous mutation to its offspring who will continue to survive with its help, maybe even gaining some more advantageous mutations of their own. This whole process of mutations developing a being and helping it evolve is Darwin\'s theory of NATURAL SELECTION.
  • Question 10

Darwin's theories changed how scientists looked at development from the past and in the future, and there are some modern occurrences that have helped support his proposals.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Antibiotic resistance is an example of natural selection, as a mutation has clearly led to the evolution of bacteria into strains that our antibiotics can't kill, showing first hand the advantage bacteria have gained but also the harm this proposes for humans if we get sick
---- OR ----

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