Evolution Extra Credit - Due Monday, April 14

Evolution Extra Credit Choices     

All options are due on _Monday, April 14, 2014_

Below are 3 options for extra credit.  Points earned can be used to supplement a low quiz score, replace points lost on missing work or simply add to an existing grade.  (*Note:  Point maximum will be based on total points in cardmarking so values shown are approximate.)  Work will be graded according to the rubric and quality of work, so spend time and focus in order to get the maximum score! 

Note the maximum points for each assignment

  • Piltdown Essay (*15 points possible, 5 research + 10 essay; 2 additional for preapproval of thesis)
  • Vestigial Features Poster (*10 points possible)
  • Atavism Research (*5 points possible)        *See above note about point values.  These may change.

Details are below.  Have fun and do a good job!

Extra Credit 1: Piltdown Man Essay – up to 15 points

Science is based on evidence.  What happens when the evidence is a fake

Background:  One of the most famous fossils in evolutionary history is the Piltdown man.  The fossil skull and jawbone of this supposed early hominid species were named after an area in England where it was “found.”  However, forty years after its “discovery” it was determined that the whole thing was a hoax – the fossil was a fake!  Explore this in the following 2-part activity.

Part 1:  (required; up to 5 points) 

Do research about the Piltdown man.  You must use at least 3 different sources.  Details you might like to find out are:  What was Piltdown man?  Who/What/Where was it found?  What else was going on in evolutionary study at the time?  How did Piltdown’s discovery change our understanding of primate evolution, or what effects did it have on science at the time?  For how long did it affect us?  Were there consequences for the perpetrators?  TURN IN:  A copy of the notes you took or highlighted printouts of references you used.  At least 3 references must be utilized and cited. 

Part 2:  (up to 10 points, must have completed Part 1 first)

After researching, think about the aspects of the Piltdown hoax.  Write an original thesis statement and then construct an organized essay in which you support your thesis.  This is not a research summaryThis is an essay!  You must take a point of view

Here are some sample questions that you might be able to turn into thesis statements. 

  • Should there have been a punishment for the person/people who created Piltdown man? Why/who should have decided the punishment?  Was there anything illegal?  Was there anything immoral?  Who decides?
  • What motivates people to dishonesty and how does science respond to that?  Who was hurt by Piltdown man?  Who was helped?  What were the broader consequences of the Piltdown hoax on scientific understanding?
  • Should we still trust science when events like the Piltdown hoax have occurred?

Note:  These are not thesis statements yet, they are just directions to consider.  It is strongly recommended that you get your thesis statement approved before writing your paper.  **If you get preapproval on a good thesis, it will be worth an extra 2 points!

Other notes: The paper should be typed 12 point font, Times New Roman, double spaced.  All work should be original.  Absolutely no plagiarism.  Essay should clearly state a thesis/point of view and be long enough to have multiple, valid, “sturdy” supporting concepts (aka “table legs”). 

Extra Credit 2:  Vestigial Features Collage/Poster – up to 10 points

Collect images of vestigial features and create a poster or collage.  Follow the guidelines below.

Collect at least 10 images of vestigial features.  Paste them to a paper or board that is at least 11” x 17” (two pieces of paper together).  Add labels to say the name of the organism, the vestigial feature it has and what the feature may have been used for in a past ancestor.   Pictures can be downloaded from non-copyrighted internet sources, or your may hand draw the pictures, or cut them from magazines.  Note:  If using internet images, please cite your source websites for each image on the back of the poster or on the picture itself. 

As long as the minimum requirements are met, the organization and aesthetics of the poster are open for student interpretation.  Color is always recommended.


  • Minimum size: 17’’ x 22’’ (that is two sheets of printer paper together)
  • Poster should have a title
  • At least 10 different vestigial features represented by pictures or images
  • For each vestigial feature, state/label
    • The name of the organism
    • The vestigial feature it has
    • What that structure may have used for in an ancestral species 

Extra Credit 3:  Atavism Research –  up to 5 points

Research and summarize at least 2 different examples of atavism that have been documented in the last 10 years.  Cite sources.  Include pictures if possible.  Write a paragraph explaining what atavism is and how it relates to evolution.

Checklist:  ___ 2 examples    ___Recent (in last 10 years)    ___Pictures?    ___Paragraph   ___ Sources

Weekend Extra Credit – DUE 4/20/2015


Part 1:

1. Research the “evolutionary family tree” (phylogeny/cladogram/Y diagram) of EITHER the modern-day elephant/mastodon OR tiger/saber-toothed tiger (*other species must be approved by Ms. LaSovage).

2. Find a good diagram or illustration showing the evolutionary relationships.  (We saw two examples of the horse and the whale in class. Your diagram must be similar/along the lines of the ones we have used in class.)

3. Write down the source(s) you used.

Part 2:

4. Write at least 5 GOOD questions that are relevant to the diagram AND to the current topic.

5. ANSWER your 5 good questions with CORRECT answers.


This is due Monday.  It should be typed if at all possible.  Both parts must be completed.  References must be cited.  Low quality questions or questions with missing or incorrect answers are not guaranteed credit.  This is extra credit for QUALITY work and though. 




Remember - You must follow directions in order to earn credit. 

Failure to follow directions or meet requirements is a choice to not earn points. 

Have a great break!  See you on April 14.