You are here

Icons of Evolution? Figures

Figure 1

Researcher(s)

Year

Reactants

Energy source

Results

Probability

 Miller

1953

CH4, NH3, H2O, H2

Electric discharge

Simple amino acids, organic compounds

unlikely

Abelson

1956

CO, CO2, N2, NH3, H2, H2O

Electric discharge

Simple amino acids, HCN

unlikely

Groth and Weyssenhoff

1957

CH4, NH3, H2O

Ultraviolet light (1470–1294 Å)

Simple amino acids (low yields)

under special conditions

Bahadur, et al.

1958

Formaldehyde, molybdenum oxide

Sunlight (photosynthesis)

Simple amino acids

possible

Pavolvskaya and Pasynskii

1959

Formaldehyde, nitrates

High pressure Hg lamp (photolysis)

Simple amino acids

possible

Palm and Calvin

1962

CH4, NH3, H2O

Electron irradiation

Glycine, alanine, aspartic acid

under special conditions

Harada and Fox

1964

CH4, NH3, H2O

Thermal energy (900–1200º C)

14 of the “essential” amino acids of proteins

under special conditions

Oro

1968

CH4, NH3, H2O

Plasma jet

Simple amino acids

unlikely

Bar-Nun et al.

1970

CH4, NH3, H2O

Shock wave

Simple amino acids

under special conditions

Sagan and Khare

1971

CH4, C2H6, NH3, H2O, H2S

Ultraviolet light (>2000 Å)

Simple amino acids (low yields)

under special conditions

Yoshino et al.

1971

H2, CO, NH3, montmorillonite

Temperature of 700°C

Glycine, alanine, glutamic acid, serine, aspartic acid, leucine, lysine, arginine

unlikely

Lawless and Boynton

1973

CH4, NH3, H2O

Thermal energy

Glycine, alanine, aspartic acid, β-alanine, N-methyl-β-alanine, β-amino-n-butyric acid.

under special conditions

Yanagawa et al.

1980

Various sugars, hydroxylamine, inorganic salts,

Temperature of 105°C

Glycine, alanine, serine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid

under special conditions

Kobayashi et al.

1992

CO, N2, H2O

Proton irradiation

Glycine, alanine, aspartic acid, β-alanine, glutamic acid, threonine, α-aminobutyric acid, serine

possible

Hanic, et al.

1998

CO2, N2, H2O

Electric discharge

Several amino acids

possible

Figure 1. A table of some amino acid synthesis experiments since Miller–Urey. The “probability” column reflects the likelihood of the environmental conditions used in the experiment. Modified from Rode, 1999.

Return to article


Figure 2

Book

Miller-Urey/Origin of life

#pages

#words

corrects atmospheric compostion

 experiments with updated atmospheres. Alternate sources Wells’s grade
Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1/2

109

No

No

No

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Orlando. 895p.

1

125

Yes, but does not give composition.

No

No

D

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

2

103+

box

No

No

No

D

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1/2

134

Yes

Yes

Yes

D

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

1/4

58

Yes

Yes

Yes

F

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1/4

152

No

Yes

No

F

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

1/4

82

Yes

No

No

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

2/3

194

Yes

No

No

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

1

+1/4

330

+56

Yes

Yes

Yes

D

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

1 1/3

129

No

No

No

F

Figure 2. Textbooks’ treatment of the Miller–Urey experiment. Textbooks listed in order of increasing detail (college level books highlighted, note that Futuyma is an upper-level college/graduate textbook).

Return to article

Figure 3Figure 3

Return to article


Figure 4Figure 4

Return to article


Figure 5Figure 5

Return to article


Figure 6

Book

Darwin’s “Tree of Life”

#pages

#words

mentions Cambrian

Wells’s grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

3/4 (1)

148

No

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart &Winston, Orlando. 895p.

(8)

NA1

Yes

F2

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1 (15)

105

Yes

F3

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1(10)

302

Yes*

F4

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

(31)

NA5

Yes

F6

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1 (24)

111+7

No

F

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

(15)

NA8

Yes

F9

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

(19)

NA

No

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

NA10

NA10

Yes

D

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

1+11

>200

Yes

D


Figure 6. Evaluation of Wells’s grading of Textbook Icon #2 “Darwin’s tree of life. Parenthetical notations reflect the number of phylogenetic trees shown in the book.

1. Johnson contains no specific section for a “tree of life”; some phylogenies appear in the text.

2. Johnson discusses the rapid origin of major animal body plans in the Cambrian, though he does not call it an “explosion.” A “D” would be a more appropriate grade.

3. Wells grade is an “F”; however, the book discusses the Cambrian in the “History of life” section (p. 406), although it does not explicitly call it “explosion.” A “D” may be a more appropriate grade on Wells’s scale.

4. The text explicitly discusses the “Cambrian Explosion” by name on p. 601; it also discusses problems with rooting the universal tree on p. 326. A “D” would be a more appropriate grade, perhaps even a “D+.”

5. Much like Campbell et al., Starr and Taggart integrate phylogenies throughout the text and use them to structure the diversity of life section.

6. The text discusses the Cambrian, although it does not refer explicitly to an “explosion.” A “D” would be a more appropriate grade.

7. Guttman devotes one paragraph to describing what phylogenetic trees are. Trees appear throughout the book when discussing evolutionary relationships of different organisms.

8. There is no single “tree of life” section in the text. Phylogenetic method is discussed in detail in the “Classification” chapter (chapter 28; p. 491–506) and phylogenetic trees appear throughout the text.

9. The Cambrian is discussed in the “History of life” section (chapter 20; p. 333) but is not called an “explosion”. A “D” may be a more appropriate grade.

10. Phylogenetic trees are integrated throughout Unit 5 (p. 490–665) , and there is no single treatment of the “tree” in the evolution chapter.

11. Futuyma has a section titled “Tree of life” in the “History of life” chapter; however, phylogenetic trees appear throughout the book.

Return to article


Figure 7

    Book

Homology

#pages

#words

separates homology from phylogenetic reconstruction

Wells’s

Grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1

309

No

D

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Orlando. 895p.

1

110

No

F

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1

298

Yes

D

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1

116

No

D

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

1/4

(1)

100

(320)

No

D

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1

380

No

D

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

1/2 (1/3)

+1/3

118 (241)

+280

Yes, but not strongly

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

1/4

(1/2)

127

(207)

No

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

3/4 (1/4)

+1

193 (362)

+348

Yes

D

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

2

>400

Yes

D


Figure 7. Examination of grades applied by Wells for Icon #3. Parentheticals refer to additional coverage. Plus (+) numbers reflect secondary treatments of homology and convergence in phylogenetic reconstruction sections.

Return to article

Figure 8Figure 8

Return to article


Figure 9Figure 9

Return to article


Figure 10Figure 10

Return to article


Figure 11

    Book

Embryology

#pages

#words

Embryo representation

Wells’s Grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1/4

108

redrawn (w/correction)

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Orlando. 895p.

1/4

78

drawing

F

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1/2

96

drawing

F

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1

324

drawing

F

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

1/2

282

redrawn

F

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1/2 +1

265

Haeckel/Draw/ photos

F1

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

1/4 +1/3

109 +86

Photo/drawing

D2

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

1/4 +1/3 +1/2

83 +170 +271

photo/

drawing/

redrawn

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

3/4 +3

247 +3

photos/

drawings

D3

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

26

(1.5)4

5614

Haeckel (in context)

F5


Figure 11. Grades for Embryology sections of textbooks.


1. Guttman devotes 2 chapters specifically to developmental processes. A nice up-to-date treatment (Chapter 20, 21 pp. 397-441) which discusses some of the “early stage differences” that Wells's grade suggests it does not.

2. Mader uses the term “pharyngeal pouches” rather than the much maligned “gill slits.” However, the grading scheme does not really have a way to take this into account.

3. This book also contains an entire chapter of developmental biology. (Chapter 47 p.936-960) in which it discusses some of the “earlier stage differences” that Wells's grade suggests it does not.

4. Futuyma devotes an entire chapter to “Development and evolution” (Chapter 23 pp. 651-676) in which he devotes 1.5 pages to Haeckel, explicitly.

5. Futuyma's treatment of Haeckel is placed in historical context, largely discussing why Haeckel was wrong. Even though the offending diagram is used, it is in historical context. It also clearly states that “gill slits” or “arches” do not develop into gills, and the they never have anything approaching “gills” during their development. Wells's grading scheme has no way to take such contextual issues into account.

Return to article


Figure 12Figure 12

Return to article


Figure 13Figure 13

Return to article


Figure 14

Book

Archaeopteryx

#pages

#words

evolution chapter

diversity chapters

dinosaur link

Wells’s grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1/8

54

No

Yes

No

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Orlando. 895p.

1/3

112

No

Yes

Yes

D1

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1/2 +1/3

164 +61

Yes

Yes

No

C

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1/3 +1

160 +420

No

Yes

Yes

D

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

1 +1/8

>500 +46

Yes

Yes

Yes

F

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1/2+1/4

298 +129

Yes2

Yes

Yes

D

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

1/4 +1/8 +

58 +52 +11

Yes

No

Yes (but not strongly)

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

1

466

No

Yes

Yes

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

3/4

+1/4

256

+79

No3

Yes

Yes

B4

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

1.5

>600

Na5

Na5

Yes

D


Figure 14. Textbooks’ treatment of and Wells’s grades for Archaeopteryx.


1. Discusses Archaeopteryx as an example of a genetic modification in evolution (scales – feathers); however, the discussion contains numerous errors.

2. Johnson does not “hint” at a controversy over Archaeopteryx’s transitional status. An “F” would be a more appropriate grade.

3. Archaeopteryx is discussed in the introduction chapter of the book under the topic of evolution with a picture of the Berlin specimen.

4. Wells gives a “B”; however, this makes little sense given that the book clearly presents Archaeopteryx as a transitional form, and plugs the “dinosaur” hypothesis, in all but the last 2 sentences. A “C” or “D” may be more appropriate on Wells’s scale.

5. Futuyma is entirely about evolution so there is no “diversity of life” chapters. Archaeopteryx is discussed under “evolving lineages in the fossil record” section, which catalogues many fossil examples of evolution.

Return to article


Figure 15

Book

Peppered Moths

#pages

#words

Wells’s grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1.5

440

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart &Winston, Orlando. 895p.

1

245

F

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1/3

117

X

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

1.5

500

F

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

3/4

346

F

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

3/4

299

F

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

1 +1/2

364 +80

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

2

>500

D1

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

-

-

N/A

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

1/4

121

D2

Figure 15. Grades for peppered moths.


1. While the text does not call the photos “staged,” it does mention the questions surrounding the daytime resting places of the moths, and it discusses the possibility of “other” selective factors. A “C” would be a more appropriate grade.

2. Futuyma clearly states that the photos are staged, but does not say that moths do not rest on trunks. A “C” may be a more appropriate grade.

Return to article


Figure 16

Book

Darwin’s Finches

#pages

#words

Darwin’s inspiration

as adaptive radiation

Grant’s work mentioned

Wells’s Grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, seventh edition. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

1/2

115

Yes

No

No

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Orlando. 895p.

3/4

237

Yes/no

No

No

D1

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH. 1119p.

1/8

25

No

Yes

No

F

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, fifth edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

2 1/2

580

No

Yes

No

F

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, eighth edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

1/2 +1/4

184 +107

No

No

No

F2

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 1175p.

1/4

147

Yes

No3

Yes

X4

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, sixth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston. 944p.

3/4 +1/4

213 +116

No

No5

No

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, fifth edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

2

>500

No

Yes

Yes

D6

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology,fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

1/4 +1/2+1

42 +340 +239

No

Yes

Yes

D7

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. 761p.

1+8

436 +1012

No

Yes

Yes

D9


Figure 16. Grades given to textbook treatments of the Darwin’s finches. Plus numbers refer to additional treatments of finches.


1. Johnson makes no mention of beak shape variation and may hint that the finches were inspirational to Darwin. An “F” would be a more appropriate grade.

2. Starr and Taggart accurately represent the finches role in Darwin’s research, a “D” may be a more appropriate grade.

3. Guttman discusses the finches as an example of natural selection in action, along with other examples, in that section it mentions the finches as “influential to Darwin’s thinking”.Guttman uses Hawaiian honeycreepers as an example of adaptive radiation.

4. Finches are not called an example of adaptive radiation but are considered influential to Darwin. The “X” grade makes litte sense overall, should be an “F.”

5. Mader discusses the finches in the context of niche partitioning along with other examples. Mader Uses Hawaiian honeycreepers as an example of adaptive radiation.

6. Raven and Johnson accurately discusses the Darwin-Gould finch connection, and mentions that the beak shape oscillates. A “C” would be a more appropriate grade.

7. Campbell et al. receive a “D” from Wells, however, the text clearly states that beak shape oscillates, and in no way implies that Darwin used the finches as his inspiration. A “C” would be a more appropriate grade.

8. Futuyma discusses the finches in 9 separate sections of the text. One page(436 words) is devoted to the Grants work specifically.

9. Futuyma discusses the the finches are dealt with in great detail and mentions that beak size oscillates. In no way does Futuyma imply that the finches played a role in Darwin’s inspiration. Therefore, a “C” may be a more appropriate grade.

Return to article


Figure 17

Book

Level

Evolution first mentioned on page

# pages devoted to evolution

Wells's overall grade

Schraer, W. D. and H. J. Stolze. 1999. Biology: The Study of Life, Seventh Edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 944p.

HS

130(1)

571

44

(38)

F

Johnson, G. B. 1998. Biology: Visualizing Life. Holt, Rinehart &Winston. Orlando 895p.

HS

17

99

(66)

F

Biggs, A., C. Kapinka, and L. Lundgren. 1998. Dynamics of life. Glencoe/McGraw Hill Westerville, OH 1119p.

HS

20

103

(48)

D-

Miller, K. R. and J. Levine. 2000. Biology, Fifth Edition. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1114p.

HS

268

150

(53)

F

Starr, C. and R. Taggart. 1998. Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, Eighth Edition. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont CA. 920p.

C

10

143

(87)

F

Guttman, B. S. 1999. Biology. WCB/McGraw-Hill. Boston. 1175p.

C

AP-HS

3

>200

(81)

F

Mader, S. 1998. Biology, Sixth Edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston, 944p.

C

4

109

(83)

F

Raven, P. H. and G. B. Johnson. 1999. Biology, Fifth Edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill Boston. 1284p.

C

8

226

(125)

F

Cambpell, N. A., J. B. Reese, and M. G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology, Fifth Edition. Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, CA. 1175p.

C1

AP-HS

9

>300

(61)

D+

Futuyma, D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates. Sunderland, MA. 761p.

C*

0

NA

D-


Figure 17. Grades given to textbooks in comparison to the coverage of evolution given in the text. Advanced texts are lightly shaded; college texts are heavily shaded. Parenthesized numbers under the topic “number of pages devoted to evolution” refer to the number of pages in the “evolution” chapter.

Return to article