Skeleton Comparative Anatomy

  1. Skeleton Comparative Anatomy

We can use comparative anatomy to study evolutionary relationships among organisms.  If two organisms have similar structures, it might indicate a common evolutionary origin.  The more similar the structures, the closer the evolutionary relationship.  Use the following link to complete the table below. Once on the site, click on Taxon to choose the different species for comparison. You select the final species to complete the comparison table.

http://eskeletons.org/

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Table 1. Comparison of an Adult Human, Chimpanzee, Orangutan, and Gorilla

Skeleton Part Human Chimpanzee Orangutan Gorilla  

 

Number of rib Pairs

 

         
Total number of Vertebrae  

 

 

 

 

     
Shape and size of clavicle  

 

 

       
Type of thumb  

 

 

   

 

   
Approximate Ratio of arm length to body  

 

 

       
Prehensile foot

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

  1. Molecular Structure and Evolutionary Relationships

Procedure:Use Figure 1 to compare the amino acid sequences of a protein that is homologous for the 20 organisms shown. Theprotein, cytochromec, is an enzyme important in the breakdown of food molecules by a cell. As part of the electron transport chain, it helps release the energy in food molecules so that it can be used by the cell. Each amino acid is represented by a unique letter in the chart.

 

Compare the sequence of amino acids (letters) in human cytochrome c to the sequences for each of the 5 species listed below by counting the number of differences. HINT: Highlight or underline the organism being checked, then circle each amino acid which is different from the one above it in thehuman sequence (use pencil). It helps to use a ruler or other straight edge. Notice that the amino acids showing no differences in any of the organisms are printed in a different color font, so you can just ignore them when you scan the line of letters. When an organism has a “-” instead of an amino acid that means there is no amino acid there. When comparing a “-” to an organism that has an amino acid at the position, it should be considered as a difference. When both organisms have a “-” at that spot, it is not considered as a difference.

 

Table 1. Number of Amino Acid Differences in Cytochrome C Protein

Human and Rhesus monkey: ____________

Human and Horse: ____________

Human and Kangaroo: ____________

Human and Chicken: ____________

Dog and Pig/Cow/Sheep: ____________

 

Bullfrog and Tuna: ____________

Human and Bull frog: ____________

Rabbit and Whale: ____________

Human and Neurospora: ____________

Human and Candida: ____________

 

 

 

Questions:

  1. Cytochrome c in humans is most similar to cytochrome c from what organism?

 

 

  1. Cytochrome c in humans is least similar to cytochrome c from what organism?

 

 

  1. Do the data from the amino acid sequence analysis generally agree with the anatomical data that was used to make the cladogram shown in Figure 2 (e., do organisms with fewershared anatomical traits also have more amino acid differences)? Why or why not?(Figure 2 is in a separate pdf file)

 

 

 

  1. Based on the molecular data, make a general statementabout the “human-kangaroo” evolutionaryrelationshipas compared to the “bullfrog-tuna”

 

 

 

 

  1. Using the molecular data, make a general statement which compares the “rabbit-whale” relationship to the “dog-pig” relationship. Does the cladogram agree with this statement?Explain your reasoning.

 

 

 

 

General Questions:

  1. Would you expect a fossil buried hundreds of years ago to look like a modern-day organism? Why or why not?

 

 

 

  1. How would you recognize the fact that a given species has been evolving since it arose?

 

 

 

  1. Pigs, cows, and sheep have the same sequence of amino acids in their cytochromec protein. Explain how these different species of animals can have identical cytochrome c proteins and still be different species.

 

 

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