Moorpark College Anthropology Sock Monkeys Evolutionary Changes Discussion

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Read the scenario below, then write a response to the question that you see below the scenario. 


Sock monkeys live in a forest. They are brown with bright red stripes on the tops of their heads. They are arboreal and they are omnivores, eating many different kinds of fruits, leaves, and insects. They spend most of their time in the middle or lower branches of trees, but when they are in ambrosia trees they will sometimes carefully climb to the very tops because this is where most of the ambrosia fruit grows. This particular fruit is much sweeter than any of the other fruits — or anything else — the sock monkeys find to eat in the forest, and they like the sweetness.

Now imagine that a new species arrives in this forest. It is the hungry hawk, a carnivorous species that hunts from the sky. It uses sharp, color vision to spot small animals on the ground or at the tops of the trees, and swoops down to catch them in its claws. It mostly feeds on small rodents. Most sock monkeys are light enough for the hawk to be able to snatch up and carry away as a meal, too. The largest sock monkeys, however are too big for the hawks to carry away.


Based on natural selection theory, describe (in complete sentences) how sock monkeys might evolve over time in response to this new predator:

  • First, describe three evolutionary changes that might take place in the sock monkey population, due to natural selection, and caused by the hungry hawk’s arrival in the forest. For each one explain:
    • how the trait that evolves will be different from the old trait, and
    • why this new trait increases the ability of the sock monkeys to survive.
    • Note that you do not need to explain the process of natural selection here — you’ll do that in the next section!
  • Next, choose one of these evolutionary changes and give a step-by-step description of how this evolution would take place according to the theory of natural selection. Be sure to lay out the process in thorough detail and complete clarity!


You must double-space your paper.

You must write your paper in complete sentences.

There is no official minimum length. However, if your answer is less than about 300 words, it’s likely your answer is not providing an adequate level of detail or explanation. (I tried answering the question myself, and it took 344 words.)

Format your paper as seen below — include the section headers and numbering highlighted in yellow, exactly the way you see here — meaning actually include the words and numbers you see highlighted. (You do not need to highlight them, however.)


1. (Then write about the first one, as instructed.)

2. (Then write about the second one, as instructed.)

3. (Then write about the third one, as instructed.)


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