Differences Between Races
"As the Worm Turns: Speciation and
the Apple Maggot Fly" Martin Kelly, D'Youville College. State
University of New York at Buffalo's National Center for Case Study
At what point in evolutionary
development does a group of individuals become two distinct
species? This case addresses that fundamental question by asking
students to decide whether apple maggot flies are distinct as a
species from hawthorn maggot flies. In making their decision,
students examine the different models of speciation and consider
the primary forces that effect evolutionary change.
Developed for an advanced
undergraduate course in evolutionary biology, it would be
appropriate for any biology course in which students are taught
about the models of speciation. It could also be used in a
general ecology course in which students consider the
distribution and use of resources leading to niche
specialization or in a genetics course if restrictions in gene
flow are taught in the context of speciation.
Game: A Case Study in Human Evolution" Shoshana Tobias,
University at Buffalo. State University of New York at Buffalo’s
National Center for Case Study Teaching.
In this role-playing case
study, students attempt to determine the identity of a variety of
human fossils based on characteristics described during a "quiz
The case was designed to be used
in a general biology class for freshman students where the focus
is on evolution. It could also be used in an anthropology or
Case of Desiree's Baby: The Genetics and Evolution of Human Skin
Color" Patricia Schneider, Queensborough Community College. State
University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center for Case Study
This case is based on Kate
Chopin's short story "Desiree's Baby," a tragic tale of race and
gender in antebellum Louisiana first published in 1893. Students
read the story and then answer a series of questions about the
genetics and evolution of skin color.
The case was developed for a
general biology course organized around the general theme of
evolution. It could also be used in anthropology and biology
courses for non-majors.
Genetics of Sickle Cell Anemia: A Case Study in Human Evolution".
Peters, John, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. This case study explores the
relationship between sickle cell anemia and malaria. It
allow students to explore the effect that the presence/absence of
the malaria parasite on the frequency of the sickle cell allele in
various populations. The case was developed for a majors or
non-majors introductory biology course. During the case
students watch an excerpt from the PBS special, The Secret of
Life, and use a Sickle
Population Genetics file which allows students to explore
how different survival probabilities for each sickle cell genotype
affect their relative frequencies over time.
NPR's Talk of the
doubt on "Hobbit" Theory - The discovery of
unusual skeletal remains on the islands of Palau suggests that the
so-called "hobbits" found several years ago in Indonesia may have
been dwarf humans, not a separate species.
CNN Video Clips
Topic: "Mystery Ape": Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002 (3:07)
In North Central Congo there is
evidence of an ape unlike any described species.
Mitochondrial DNA evidence suggests that the animal is a
chimpanzee. It is, however, larger than a typical chimpanzee, In
addition, it displays different behavior and has a gorilla-like
bony crest on its skull. One theory is that it is a hybrid between
a male gorilla and a female chimpanzee. (Student worksheet
provided on CD)
Topic: "Human Ancestor": Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002 (2:00)
The discovery of a one
million-year-old skull in Ethiopia is the first evidence that Homo
erectus was still living in Africa at the time that modern humans
arose there. That means this species could be our direct ancestor.
Anthropologist Henry Gilbert believes that Homo erectus gave rise
to Homo sapiens in Africa, lending support to the African
emergence model of human evolution. (Student worksheet provided on
"Earliest Homo sapiens": Biology 8th Ed. CNN Ed 2004 (1:42)
A 160,000-year-old fossil skull
discovered in Ethiopia provides a new glimpse at our early
ancestors. The skull appears to be from a 20- to 30-year-old man.
A second skull found nearby is of a child. Tim White of the
University of California (UC) at Berkeley classifies the fossils
as members of a new subspecies that he calls Homo sapiens idaltu.
Compared to modern humans, these ancestors had a slightly larger
skull and brain case, and a slightly longer face. Tools found in
the same area as the fossils were probably used to hunt game. The
worksheet provides the URL for an interview with Professor White
on the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley website.
(Student worksheet provided on CD)
"Biggest mass extinction": Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002
Animation recreates the asteroid
impact that occurred about 250 million years ago at the
Permian-Triassic boundary. The impact caused volcanic eruptions
and darkened the skies with ash. The result was the greatest known
mass extinction. A trilobite fossil is shown as an example of one
of the many groups that disappeared at this time. Evidence of the
asteroid impact comes from examination of cores from deep within
the earth. These cores revealed carbon buckyballs that contained
gases normally found only in deep space. The gases were presumably
carried in on the asteroid. The possibility of another asteroid
impact is discussed.
"Does Race Exist".
Bamshad, Michael J. and Olsen, Steve E. Current
in Biology. Scientific American, Inc. December 2003. 22-31.
are often used to group people into races. This article
describes molecular techniques that are used to classify
humans. It also explains that physical characteristics
resulting from natural selection do not necessarily reflect
genetic differences. These genetic differences can be used
to group humans and this grouping can be important in the
way that we diagnose and treat many diseases. The article is
followed by a short comprehension quiz and some critical
“Some striking similarities” From Egg
to Adult. 1992. Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Similarities are discussed that give evidence for a common
evolutionary ancestor. The use of
model systems to learn about developmental biology is also an
important facet of the article.
"Teams rebuild portion of
Neanderthal gene code". Weiss, Rick. Post and Courier.
November 16, 2006.
Human". Wong, Kate. Scientific
American. pp. 20-31.
Using a new kind of DNA analyzer, scientists were able to
partially decode a 38,000 year old bone fragment. This can
lead scientists to information about hair, skin, and capacity
for language. Scientists can also depict the one half
percent gene code difference from Neanderthals.
There is a lore that exists
on the island of Flores, Indonesia of the "grandmother who eats
anything". Once thought to be inspired by a macaque monkey,
October 2004 gave scientists an alternative to the monkey
hypothesis. A lilliputian human skeleton was found, having
lived 13,000 years ago. The skull size was like a grapefruit
with cognitive ability like modern humans. This find goes
along with the stone artifacts found in 1998 on the island which
made scientists previously believe that H. erectus had cross deep waters to get to the
island. The article depicts the finds and classification of
race's journey. April 13, 2005, NPR.
"On Wednesday, the National
Geographic Society in partnership with IBM is launching the
"Genographic Project" -- a five-year effort to collect and analyze
more than 100,000 DNA samples in order to trace the origins and
movement of the human race. Dr. Spencer Wells, the program's
director and a Society "explorer-in-residence," tells NPR's Alex
Chadwick the Genographic Project will be the largest and most
comprehensive public database of anthropological genetic
information ever compiled. He calls the DNA molecule a "time
machine" that can answer the most basic questions of human
history: Where did I come from, and how did I get here?"
"Chimps Champs of Memory".
Malcolm Ritter: Post and Courier (Dec. 4, 2007) -Available in
PBL resources library in SCIC outside of room 207
Japanese researchers conduct memory-based testing between
chimpanzees and humans.