Nature of Science

Submitted by Juli Uhl on

An ecologist observes the diet of a bird species consists primarily of large grass seeds, less on medium seeds and nearly no small seeds.  She hypothesizes that birds choose the larger seeds because they have a higher concentration of protein than smaller seeds.  To test this hypothesis, she analyzes protein content of the seeds and indeed finds that large seeds have a higher concentration of protein than medium or small seeds. 

a.  Did she prove her hypothesis to be true?  Why or why not?

b.  Can she conclude that the birds select the larger seeds due to their higher concentration of protein?  Why or why not?


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DUE grants: 1438739, 1323162, 1347740, 0736952 and 1022653). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.