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Lesson summary for:
Mate choice and fitness consequences


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Students read a 2005 paper on the fitness consequences of mate choice alongside an interactive guide that asks the reader to answer key questions about each section of the article.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

1 hour

Teaching tips:
This article works best as part of an extended engagement with the primary literature. To see how to use this article as part of an undergraduate journal club or discussion section, visit The Journal Club Toolkit.

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

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.

  • Sexual selection occurs when selection acts on characteristics that affect the ability of individuals to obtain mates.

  • An individualís fitness (or relative fitness) is the contribution that individual makes to the gene pool of the next generation relative to other individuals in the population.

  • An organismís fitness depends on both its survival and its reproduction.

  • Fitness is often measured using proxies like mass, number of matings, and survival because it is difficult to measure reproductive success.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence.

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Scientific findings and evidence inspire new questions and shape the directions of future scientific research.

  • Science is a human endeavor.

  • Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.

Teacher background:

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