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Mantis shrimp shoulder their evolutionary baggage and bluff


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Like all organisms, mantis shrimp carry baggage from their evolutionary history. Find out how this baggage has coaxed them into a deadly bluffing game.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

30 minutes

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topics of animals and animal behavior (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus). This article helps dispel the misconception that natural selection is all-powerful and produces perfectly adapted organisms. More advanced students may wish to follow the side trips for more information. Classroom discussion (especially regarding the key questions at the beginning of the article) would enhance student learning on these topics.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • There is a fit between the form of a trait and its function, though not always a perfect fit.

  • Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.

Teacher background:

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