Anthropology Research Project

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Anthropology Research Project

Anthropology Research Project


50 points total


This research simulation will take you through a fictional example of genetic inheritance. The

textbook and lecture slides on heredity, genetics, biological evolution, and population genetics

should have all of the information that you need to successfully complete the assignment. Use

Internet resources as a last resort since that information is less controlled.

Enter your answers into the Research Simulation 1 Answer Sheet Word document and upload it

to Canvas to turn in.

Assignment Start

Congratulations! You have been accepted into a prestigious research program. You will be

joining a team of primatologists who have started to conduct research on a population of tarsiers

living on an island in the Philippines. (Tarsiers are

hand-sized primates who share a distant common

ancestor with humans but evolved in their own way to

survive in forests). The researchers believe that tarsier

fur color is strongly influenced by their genes, so they

plan to genetically test tarsiers of different colors to see

what their genotypes are like.

Since you’re the newest member of the research team,

the primatologists have given you the work of




{ Caption: A tarsier. }

preparing the data that they have collected to present to The National Science Foundation. At

least you get to work in the Philippines!

Part One

The international airport is bustling with activity as you wait for your flight to the Philippines.

Announcements in many languages ring out over the speakers. You make a small game of

trying to identify the languages being spoken. Surprisingly, you hear a young voice next to you:

“Hi are you a scientist?”

A child full of curiosity has climbed into the seat next to yours while you were distracted. You

reply to the child that you are indeed a scientist. The child looks up at your with beaming eyes. “I

have a question. In school, we learn about the scientis- scientific method, but I didn’t understand

something. Could you tell me the difference between a hyp- hypo- hypothemesis and a theory?”




{ Your new workplace (not really). }


Explain to the child the difference between a


and a


in your own way,

based on the book and lecture. Use at least one sentence. (1 point)


The child has you attention for now. Continue by explaining how the process of scientific

research improves our knowledge over time while bad data and theories are discarded. (1


Satisfied, the child climbs off the seat and wanders away. Soon, the gate opens and you board

the plane to your research adventure.

Part Two

By the time you are able to join the team in the Philippines, the researchers have already taken

genetic samples of wild tarsiers. Analyzing their DNA, scientists have isolated a few genotypes,

or the genetic makeup, or a few individuals. The genotypes have been given names following

the standard convention of using capital and lowercase letters to represent different alleles in a


For each of the following four genotypes, indicate in the answer sheet whether it is



homozygous dominant


or homozygous recessive

: (1 point total)











Make up your own heterozygous genotype, using a letter of your choice (1 point).

Part Three

The scientists noticed that the tarsiers of this particular island came in two varieties of fur color:

brown and silver. These colors are determined by the Fur gene, which has two possible alleles.

Comparing the fur phenotype with the genotype, they found that the uppercase ‘


’ allele codes

for brown fur while the lowercase ‘


’ allele codes for silver fur.

Based on this information, would the fur color of tarsiers with the following genotype be brown or

silver? (1 point total).




{ Caption: Photoshopped renditions of the silver and

brown tarsiers for this assignment. Real tarsiers do

have differences in fur color, though!}







Part Four

Continuing their research, the primatologists temporarily capture a few tarsiers to observe over

a few days. Two of the captive tarsiers, one male and one female, are very fond of each other.

Looking at their DNA, scientists found that one has the genotype


for the fur color gene and

the other tarsier has


as its genotype. One of your fellow researchers, Jherry, is filling out a

Punnett square to diagram the possible genotypes of any offspring of this tarsier pair. He shows

you his template:

Jherry is eager to demonstrate what he learned when he took ANTH 101 last semester: “You

see, each parent’s genotype is given in the gray squares. With this information, we just move

the alleles for Parent 1 across each row and drop the alleles for Parent 2 down each column to

see how these alleles would combine in their offspring. For this pairing…”




Parent 2







Not to be outdone, you jump in to help Jherry figure out his Punnett square.


What would be each offspring genotype in the four white blanks in the Punnett square? In

the answer sheet write the genotype derived from the parents in each white square. (1 point)


What would be the fur color of all of these offspring, and why? Explain your reasoning with

at least a full sentence. (1 points)

One of the researchers, Lhindsay, comes back excitedly from the forest: “The two parent

tarsiers had a baby!” Being a top tarsier researcher, she already has a sample of the newborn’s

DNA to test. The results show that the offspring with the genotype


. Lhindsay’s mind reels

from the possibilities of this young tarsier. “What if the


baby grows up and mates with



tarsier?! What types of offspring are possible?” You work to answer Lhindsay’s question by

making another Punnett square. You start with the parents’ separated alleles in the gray

squares and then work to fill in the four white squares with the offspring’s genotypes:




Parent 2




What would be in each of the white squares in the answer sheet showing the possible

genotypes of the grandchildren if the baby


tarsier grew up and mated with another


tarsier? (1 points)


For each of the genotypes from question #12, what would be the resulting phenotype or

actual fur color? Fill in each the correct phenotype for each white square in the Punnett

Square with either the word ‘


’ or ‘


’ based on the genotype from #12. (1 points)


Based on your results, which phenotype (brown or silver) would be more likely to appear in

the grandchildren? Explain your reasoning in at least a complete sentence, explaining what

you see in your previous answer. (2 points)

“Thank you!” Lhindsay exclaims. She runs off to tell Jherry and the other researchers the good

news, along with your additional information.

Part Five

The researchers are grateful that you have gotten this work done for them so that they can keep

conducting fieldwork in the forest. One day, the researchers find a family of tarsiers with red fur!

A new allele in the fur color gene must have appeared due to a change in the DNA of one of the

tarsiers. This new allele then got passed to the next generation. Lindsay is very excited by this

new discovery: “The red fur allele must have been created the… oh, what is the force of

evolution that is the only source of new alleles?”


Help out Lhindsay: what is the force of biological evolution that is the only source of new

alleles? (1 points)




Observations of the red fur tarsiers show that

they blend in better with the reddish brown

tree trunks in the environment compared to


the brown and silver fur tarsiers. This

means that the red fur tarsiers are less likely

to be caught and eaten by the tarsier-eating

hawks that patrol the forest.


Given the above pattern over many

generations, would the red fur tarsiers be

more or less common compared to the

brown and silver tarsiers? (1 point)

You start documenting these results for the

team, but you need to recall the best vocabulary term to describe what is going on.


The change in fur color trends of the tarsier population, due to each color affecting

reproductive success differently, is an example of which force of evolution? (2 points)


You know that there are tarsiers living on the other side of the river where you found the red

fur tarsiers. Due to the rapid current of the river, the tarsiers on one side rarely meet the

tarsiers on the other. Is this an example of




gene flow between these two

groups? (1 point)




{ Caption: The newly discovered red tarsier (still

fictional for this assignment!). }

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