Post-16 module on Darwin's birds

Revealing the biology of inheritance and selection


Year 9 students getting up close to fancy pigeonsThis module uses Darwin’s well known observations of the Galapagos finches and his less well known, but nonetheless crucial work on domestic pigeons to explore and investigate fundamental ideas in genetics and evolution.

Darwin’s observations led him to believe that species are not fixed but capable of change: a radical idea at the time. His work on artificial selection provided some crucial evidence in support of the power of selection and the heritability of traits.

Darwin’s contribution to fundamental concepts in biology was built on by scientists in the 20th Century as the discipline of genetics emerged and continues to inform and inspire scientists now in the molecular age.

This module will examine Darwin’s legacy for contemporary science and our current understanding of inheritance mechanisms, natural selection, artificial selection, and speciation. Darwin’s explanations, the work of early geneticists and current biological research will be examined using a combination of problem-based enquiry, hands-on activities and contemporary case study.

These resources are being finalised.