Abstracts (first author)


The role of chance in Evolution: how to teach it in the classroom

Author(s): Noguera-Solano R, Ruiz-Gutierrez R, Alvarado VH, Rodriguez-Caso JM


Comprehend the role of chance in evolutionary processes has been one of the most notorious difficulties in the practice of teaching and learning of evolution. Historical research has noted the persistence of teleological and finalist thinking even after taking courses of evolution. The proposal is based on the builder metaphor (or the architect metaphor) used by Charles Darwin to explain the causal disconecction between variation’s origin and the process of natural selection (C. Darwin, 1868, The variation of animals and plants under domestication). Darwin developed this rethoric form to show the contingency (or chance) in the evolutionary history of the species, and to explain that variations that arise from natural causes, they do not have in their origin any relation to the adaptive role that variations have in the life history of organisms. This proposal is divided in three sections: First, a description of the builder metaphor; second, how the metaphor can be used to explain the role of chance in a human-made construction: a “stone snake”, and third, an explanation of the role of chance in the origin and evolution of rattlesnakes (Crotalus sp), emphasizing the following characteristics: elongated body, lack of limbs, flathead distinguished from the body, and three specific characteristics of the genus Crotalus: specialized dentition or solenoglyph, sensitive pits to infrared light and the rattlesnake. This proposal is intended for teachers of upper secondary education and seeks to explain schematically trough illustrations the role of chance in evolutionary processes.


Chairman: Octávio S. Paulo
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XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Organization Team
Department of Animal Biology (DBA)
Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
P-1749-016 Lisbon


Computational Biology & Population Genomics Group