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In this lesson, students read and discuss selected and edited excerpts from the essays of Stephen Jay Gould on the subject of contrivances. Students learn that many features of modern organisms reflect the structure of their ancestors in ways that are not adaptive. They also learn that one of the best indicators of evolution is not the examples of perfect adaptations, but of the relatively imperfect contrivances, structures modified and used for functions quite different than the ancestral functions of those same structures.
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