Item EN026002: A population can differ from its ancestors because an environmental change can affect which inherited traits are most helpful and, therefore, which individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce.

A population is a group of individuals of the same species.  Could a population living today differ from their ancestors from many generations ago? Why or why not?

  1. Yes, they could differ after many generations because an environmental change can cause individuals in each generation to try to change some of their inherited traits to ones that are better suited to the new environment.
  2. Yes, they could differ after many generations because an environmental change can affect which inherited traits are most helpful, and therefore which individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce. 
  3. Yes, they could differ after many generations because an environmental change can cause individuals to use some of their inherited traits more than before and pass down better versions of those traits to their offspring.
  4. No, they could not differ after many generations because all members of a population are the same species and therefore have the same set of inherited traits. 
Distribution of responses
Answer Choice
Overall
Grades
Gender
Primary Language
 
n = 1584
6–8
n = 941
9–12
n = 643
Male
n = 768
Female
n = 781
English
n = 1420
Other
n = 120
A. 33% 36% 29% 32% 34% 34% 28%
B. 35% 29% 44% 35% 35% 35% 38%
C. 23% 25% 20% 23% 23% 23% 24%
D. 9% 10% 7% 9% 8% 9% 11%