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Table 4 Selected excerpts from students who used non-adaptive factors in clinical oral interviews

From: Students’ Mental Models of Evolutionary Causation: Natural Selection and Genetic Drift

Participant Non-adaptive terms used Example use of term Scientific NAF Score for item excerpted (0–1 scale) Overall interview score (−1, 0 or +1)
A Bottleneck, founder’s effect “It could be the bottleneck effect or the founder’s effect, like the ancestor species could have had like a nat-, disaster, like a, calamity, so only a few of the, uh, individuals survived and those individuals like maybe had like a dwarf gene, or like a, like a gimp tail I guess. And then eventually it started being more prevalent in the, in the new species that started from there.” 0.5 0
B Bottleneck “Or, um, if there were opossums with shorter tails and something happened to like bottleneck them or something, and it didn’t have, uh, an advantage or disadvantage they could just go away randomly.” 0.5 1
C Founder’s effect (defining the word) “Um, it’s like when, uh, part of the population gets isolated and, uh, um, it’s like alleles get uh, a rare allele becomes dominant.” 0 1
D Founder effect, bottleneck “Um, I guess that would be a founder effect I think, or a bottleneck. Um, so the species without petals not necessarily that it was favored but because it was in greater variety or greater, uh, it was in greater number than the ones without, that had the larger petals, it eventually, uh, I guess it was eventually derived to a species without petals, in the living species today.” 0 1
E Genetic drift “I always forget the definition of genetic drift. Um, it’s kinda just like, uh, a swing towards one extreme instead of where it was before, but I guess, so I guess that kind of takes away from what I was going towards, I guess, kinda contradicted myself.” 0 1
F Bottleneck, founder’s effect, genetic drift “I guess with genetic drift what would happen is, um, like a random grouping of like, let’s say out of a hundred only four of these just happen to have, like, this mutation…so over time, like, their genes were the ones that were being passed down randomly, um, into the population, and it just happened to be that as time went on, it was their genes that caused the population, like, not really caused the population but, um, is what the population formed into.” 0 1
G Gene drift, genetic drift “you’ve got your random genetic drift option where there was variation in the presence or absence of teeth in the first species, and then randomly, you know, maybe due to natural disasters, or just certain members got lucky in breeding, you’d have the fixture of the lack, or the presence of teeth.” 1 1
H Genetic drift “I think the way genetic drift influence it, is that through time and passing on of traits and genes, that it was affected, oh gosh, I feel like I’m rambling and I’m not really saying anything. (long pause) I can’t really think of what I want to say with genetic drift.” −1 0