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Table 1 List of key-concepts of evolution and alternative concepts including criteria for analysis

From: What can student-generated animations tell us about students’ conceptions of evolution?

E1—Variation between individuals

Any differences in phenotypes–phenotypic variation. Indications of variation present

E2—Origin of variation

Variation arises at a genetic level. Coupling between mutations and the variation of traits is necessary

E3—Inheritance (including reproduction)

Offspring inherit traits from parents and pass them on to successive generations

E4—Differential survival

Not all individuals in a generation survive to reproduce for reasons such as limitations in resources or predator attacks

E5—Change in population

Favourable traits become more frequent in populations over generations


Directed evolution where a new trait appears after a change in the environment. Indication that changes occur because of an ultimate goal or by human-like intentions and ability to plan for a distant future


Transformation of all individuals within a population. Unifying essence instead of variation

A3—Natural selection as an event

Major evolutionary changes occur in less than threea generations

T1—Organizational levels

Connections between organizational levels, from genes to population


Illustration/manipulation of tempo. (Fast forward or slow motion)

  1. aWe deemed that two generations are too short of a time for evolution, equivalent to an event. When both inheritance and change in populations after at least three generations were shown, we judged it as an illustration of that mating in several generations is needed for a new property to manifest