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Darwin and Malthus

Student question: "I retook Quiz 3 til I received a 100 just like you suggested in the instructions, but I found what I think might possibly be an error so I just wanted to let you know. PDF attached."

This might appear to be a "technical difficulty" or "quiz error" question. It is not. This is a biology knowledge question.

Apparently this question is available online. The top of the figure above is from the quiz in this class, the bottom is somewhere online. I will discuss this for "tutor" reasons, hopefully not giving away the answer "too bluntly"...

I used this question already when STC had an older version of Blackboard -- a long time ago, so I am not sure where I found it. Probably in the biology textbook we used then, authored by Sylvia Mader. The answer used for the quiz is the correct answer, the answer apparently available online is INCORRECT.

While all three answers ARE part of the scientific concept of evolution, only two were available to Darwin -- from two different sources, with Malthus book "An Essay on the Principle of Population" being ONE of them.

Age of the Earth: Darwin got the idea that the Earth is much older than was previously thought from geologist Charles Lyell's book "Principles of Geology", published in 1830. He brought this book on his voyage around the Earth.

Allele Recombination: The scientific field of genetics was born in 1900, when Mendel's pea experiment notes was discovered. Darwin did not know about alleles (genes), but he did have ideas about inheritance of characters -- much learned from his own breeding experiments with pigeons.

Available Resources: Malthus discussed population growth, and what prevented living organisms from experiencing runaway exponential growth. He concluded that it was the limitation of essential resources (e.g., food and suitable habitats), and deprivations (e.g., climate, predators, crime). If Malthus had an idea that the earth was older than originally thought -- really a geology topic, he did not discuss it. Malthus was a historian, political economist and demographer. Malthus published the book "An Essay on the Principle of Population" in 1798, about 30 years before Lyell's idea about an older Earth was published.

Dr. Nilsson