Beverly Yett’s Adaptive Evolution Experiment
Report from RESET Volunteer Beverly Yett:
The two things the students seemed to be most excited about were the facial reconstruction and what they called the bird beak experiment. This was a bit of a diversion for me but I wanted to demonstrate both biodiversity and adaptive changes to the environment.
The students made “cootie catchers” a simple origami form that you may remember as a fortune telling thing or a color guessing game or some such (I’ll show you how if you don’t remember them, in two sizes. I distributed different sized squares of paper-large and small.
There were two types of “food” ( I used large and small wrapped candies-you can use pebbles, M&Ms etc.)
The idea was that when food was plentiful, the large beaked and the small beaked birds got enough to eat so they could reproduce. (we did timed food gathering several times and averaged the results)
After a drought on one Island, the “small” food disappeared since the plants died. The small birds didn’t get enough food to reproduce and pretty much died out in that area. On a neighboring Island, there were floods and the “large” food producing plants drowned. The large beaked birds couldn’t reproduce because they did not have enough food.
Fast forward 200 years and you can see that the populations on the two Islands are different and if they come together, they occupy different ecological niches.
That was very popular with the teacher and the students.