Vestigiality, flightlessness, Galapagos Island cormorants

single annotated bibliography

  • Read the following paper: Epps et al. 2018Preview the document
  • Complete a single annotated bibliography entry for this paper, as described in the example below. Be sure to follow the example given. Instead of relating this to your topic statement, describe how this paper relates to lecture( *) and readings paper. You only need to include the citation, keywords, and annotation, not a topic statement.
  • In addition to the annotation, include:
  1. one thing you found interesting or surprising
  2. one question you have about the paper. This could be about methods, the study system, etc.


Vestigial wings and the evolution of flightlessness in Galapagos Island cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi)

Keywords: Vestigiality, flightlessness, Galapagos Island cormorants

McNab, B.K., 1994. Energy conservation and the evolution of flightlessness in birds. The American Naturalist144(4), pp.628-642. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

The author examined the hypothesis that energy conservation contributes to the evolution of flightlessness in birds by comparing the factors correlated with basal metabolic rate in flighted and flightless rails and ducks. They found support for their hypothesis in flightless birds, except penguins, which use their wings for locomotion in water. This paper suggests that a lack of selective pressure for flight (lack of predators) combined with a high metabolic demand to maintain flight capability, contributes to vestigiality (reduction of wings and pectoral muscles) in environments where resources are limited.

(*) Lecture material that related to the research paper

  1. Describe how slight differences in fitness can change the frequencies of alleles within a population over time
  2. Explain why natural selection cannot drive dominant alleles to fixation within a population
  3. Explain how selection can act to either reduce or maintain allelic variation within a population
  4. Interpret graphs representing genetic distance among populations



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