Today we moved on to a new topic: Evolutionary Trade-Offs. This lesson will lead directly into Monday’s lesson where we will simulate the future evolution of humans. But first I wanted to look at five different human traits and the trade-offs associated with each. I began by explaining that a trade-off is really something that has a good side and a bad side. For example, a mating call is a pretty clear trade-off. The good side is that it helps an animal find a mate to reproduce with. The bad side is that it also might alert predators to your whereabouts. So which species can afford this trade-off? It’s not the ones (like mice) who live on the forest floor. It’s the ones who are already safe up in the trees (like birds)!
Human traits involve trade-offs too. My students read five different articles (posted below), each about a different human trait. They summarized the article, figured out the good and bad side of that specific trait, and then made a prediction about how humans might evolve in the future. On Monday we will see whose predictions came true and whose didn’t.