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figure 16-7

Males sometimes display extreme traits, such as the large tail of this peacock, Pavo cristatus. This trait is favorable if it attracts females and increases the reproductive fitness of the male.

Materials unlined paper, colored pencils, 25 colored candies

Evaluating Selection

Materials unlined paper, colored pencils, 25 colored candies

Procedure

1. Fold a sheet of unlined paper in half, top over bottom. Using colored pencils, decorate half the paper with different colored circles. Make each colored circle about the size of a quarter.

2. Scatter your "population" of candies over the undecorated half of the sheet of paper. Count and record how many candies match the background color.

3. Now, scatter the candies over the decorated half of the sheet of paper. Count and record how many candies match the background color.

4. Candies that match the background color are camouflaged. Calculate the ratio of camouflaged candies to uncamou-flaged candies in steps 2 and 3.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 two times, and average your results.

6. Exchange paper with another group, and repeat steps 2-5.

Analysis Was your population more successfully camouflaged on the white background or on the colored background? How did color diversity affect your population's success on the colored background? Based on your results, predict which type of selection might increase your population's fitness in a multicolored environment.