Definitions of key words:

Successful/Positive mutations: Being able to produce offspring that will reproduce.
Natural Selection: The theory that the better adapted animal will live longer and reproduce more; death of the least fit. Mutations occur independently of the environment, but if the mutation is positive (by giving the animal a better chance to reproduce), then that trait will be passed on through its offspring.
Evolution: The long-term effect of natural selection. Over a long period of time, mutations will allow the animal to adapt to its environment to reach the resources.
Random Mutation: Mutation that is unplanned, doesnt have a definite reason to occur, and is undetermined by the animal.


Mutations happen all the time, mutations occur independently from rational or subconscious thought. In nature, we only see the positive mutations because the mutations that hinder an animal will probably cause the animal to die, therefore not passing on the specific trait. Animals seem to be mutate to better achieve resources because better mutations are favored, as in a lucky mutation that allows a bear to climb to eat birds will cause that bear to produce more offspring because it can live longer. Therefore, that trait will be passed on to the next cub.


Mutations are completely random and the animal does not choose the mutation.

Evidence showing the positive effects of genetic mutations:

The different species shown in this video probably aren't 100% accurate, but they assumed a small bit based off the fossils they found. (Same reason we can't figure out what color the dinosaurs were; we only have their fossils.) This particular mutation allowed for a whole new species to sprout up because it changed a land mammal to a sea one.

Evidence showing the negative effects of genetic mutations:

Not very often are genetic mutations positive. There have been countless reports of genetic mutations hurting or hindering an animal or person. Some of the genetic mutations are enough to make you shudder, so I will attempt to avoid those specific photos.
Now, this next one may seem actually productive, but remember the frog can't use those mutated legs. Therefore, they only slow him/her down.

Another example of a negative mutation that could occur would be a tail-less cat. See, cats use their tails for conveying emotions to humans. but this is not their only function. A cat will use it's tail for balance. For example, if a cat turns to the right, it will turn it's tale to the left to re-shift his body's center of gravity. Cats will also use their tails to distract their prey.

Concept map:



Basically, we have determined that animals, as well as humans and other organisms, do not choose their mutations, nor do they have any control over when they happen or how they happen. Mutations are completely random. In some cases they can be beneficial (as in the whale becoming a water mammal), but the majority of them are harmful to the organism and most of the time result in death (such as with the frog with many legs).


-Jake, Brenna, and Karissa.