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1

How did Mendel’s work contribute to our understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection? Why is it that for many years it was thought that Mendel’s work contradicted this theory, and how was problem resolved?

Mendel (1822-1884) - Answered Darwin's questions on method of inheritance using experiments conducted in peas plants in 1858. Came up with three principles to explain inheritance:
1. Principle of particulate heredity

-Large no. of independent irreducible particles

-Retain distinctive identity

-Characteristics of organisms are determined jointly by particles inherited one from the mother, one from the father
-Disproved ‘blending’
2. Principle of segregation (1st law)
-Hereditary particles come in pairs

-1 of each pair from each parent
-each of these two particles (from the mother and the father) is equally likely to be transmitted when gametes are formed
3. Principle of independent assortment (2nd law)
-Particles for different traits inherited independently of one another

-Meiosis -genes on separate chromosomes sorted independently
His theories were thought to disprove Darwin’s theories as he believed in blending and pangenesis, both which were disproved by Mendelian genetics. Fisher, Haldane, Wright were three biometricians were important in unifying Mendelism and Darwinism by the early 1930s, into the ‘Modern Synthesis’. Term coined by Julian Huxley in 1942, the unification of Darwinism, Mendelian genetics and mutation theory.

2

Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen said “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place”. Discuss this statement with reference to two or more examples of dynamic interactions between disease, cultural intervention and physical environment in humans.

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3

Explain how human are able to adapt to living in both hot and cold climates.

Human variation is the result of genetic drift, gene flow, genetic adaptation (through natural selection) to environmental conditions both past and present, and physiological and cultural responses

4

Are humans typical primates?

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5

How have biological anthropologists explained variation in human skin colour?

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6

Imagine you are explaining evolutionary theory to a martian who is interested in life on earth. What would you describe to them as evidence for evolution?

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7

How has the work of geneticists (from Mendel to the Human Genome Project) contributed to our understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection?

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8

What features distinguish the first hominids from our last common ancestor with apes? Be sure to define derived and ancestral characters, and relate their importance in creating phylogenies.

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9

Describe how culture could be seen as an adaptation, and provide several lines of evidence supporting the idea that humans are designed to be culture “sponges.”

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10

How do variation in skin color and body morphology underpin racial categorizations as used in contemporary societies?

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11

Using language as an example, explain how genes and environment contribute to the development of ability and its expression. Include comparison with other forms of animal communication as relevant.

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12

Does natural selection account for all human genetic diversity? Use case studies to support your argument.

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13

What are 'hominins', and how are they recognised in the fossil record?

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14

Discuss the major disease transitions that have occurred since the adoption of agriculture.

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15

Discuss the relative importance of adaptive and non-adaptive factors in explaining global human genetic diversity.

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16

What features define the primate order?

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17

Our relationship with disease is dynamic not static. Discuss this statement with reference to two or more examples of dynamic interactions between disease, cultural change and the physical environment in humans.

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