Video Study Guide: “What Darwin Never Knew”

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Drexel University

College of Nursing and Health Professions
Behavioral and Addictions Counseling
Study Guide and Written Assignment 1 Guidelines
BACS 230

Video Study Guide: “What Darwin Never Knew”

The PBS film, “What Darwin Never Knew” presents a concise and entertaining history on the evolution of life forms, both animal and human, and the mechanisms that underpin evolution and development.The film takes us from the insights and ideas generated by Charles Darwin’s 5 year (1831-1836) observation of life on the Galapagos Islands to current scientific discoveries on how the human genome drives development.As an aside, it is important to highlight that Darwin himself was not always a very good student. He dropped out of both medical school and divinity school and then turned to natural science where he finally found himself and honed his interests. His keen knowledge of natural science (the study of plants and animals), resulted in an invitation to join the 5 year scientific expedition to study life forms in other parts of the world.Darwin’s exquisite observational skills and his meticulous notetaking throughout his voyage on the Beagle served as the basis for his theory of evolution and natural selection published in the Origin of the Species in 1859.As you view this 2 hour video, take notes on the following questions which will assist you in the completion of the related written assignment.

  • What is the meaning of Darwin’s concept, “tree of life” as well as the meaning of “descent with modification?”
  • When he returned from the Beagle voyage, what insights did Darwin have about the principle of selection by observing dog breeding practices in England?
  • Define the term “survival of the fittest” and explain how Darwin’s concept of the “war of nature” is, in reality, a creative process.
  • Darwin observed 13 different variations of finches on the various islands that he explored.What was driving these variations in finches, particularly their beaks? Define the concept of selection.
  • Darwin catalogued the effects of evolutionary processes but the substances (DNA) and mechanisms driving these processes (the workings of the genome) were not discovered until much later in the 21st century.Briefly list the holes in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • DNA or, deoxyribonucleic acid, is “a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.”Does DNA change or always remain the same?
  • What is the role of proteins in genes?
  • What are genetic mutations and do they usually have positive or negative results?
  • Give an example of a switch, the process by which a piece of DNA turns on or off the genes that drive the expression of a specific trait?
  • Describe the process by which fish developed “legs” and were able to migrate to land.
  • Why are “body planning” genes sometimes referred to as bossy genes and what is their function?
  • What role do HOX genes play?
  • What are some of the characteristics that make humans human?
  • It is well established that there is only a 1% difference in human and chimpanzee DNA.How can two species be highly genetically similar yet so different from each other?
  • Pollard’s research tries to differentiate humans from chimps and chimps from other animals.What did he conclude were the major source of the differences?
  • Explain the importance of the “thumb” and the “jaw” in the evolution of the human brain which is three times the size of a chimp brain.
  • What genetic variation is responsible for the development of microcephaly in children and is predictive testing available?
  • What were some of Stedman’s findings in his research on the genetic basis of muscular dystrophy?
  • Given the current technical sophistication in examining the genetic makeup of humans, what do you think the future holds for genetic intervention and disease eradication and what implications does this have on the counseling role?

Written Assignment 1.

After viewing the video, What Darwin Never Knew, write a 3 to 4 page paper focusing on the following;

  • Describe 3 new learnings, i.e., facts/concepts of which you were not aware until viewing the film. Explain how these new learnings changed your thinking/understanding of human behavior?(30 Points)
  • Answer the two highlighted questions from the list above:
    • It is well established that there is only a 1% difference in human and chimpanzee DNA.How can two species be highly genetically similar yet so different from each other?
    • Given the current technical sophistication in examining the genetic makeup of humans, what do you think the future holds for genetic intervention and disease eradication and what implications does this have on the counseling role? (25 Points)
  • 20 Points will be awarded for proper grammar, syntax and application of APA style in formatting and referencing.link for video

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