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Evolution of the White-Tailed Deer

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Caleb Haverstick

on 14 May 2015

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Transcript of Evolution of the White-Tailed Deer

What is Evolution?
Evolution is a process that occurs over many generations by all organisms. The purpose of this process is to increase an organisms fitness. During evolution an organism changes to adapt to its environment based on its new needs.
Biological Structure of the White-Tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer is a strong and nimble land mammal. Its entire body is averagely about 6 ft long and 5 ft tall. The white tail's legs are nimble and meant for jumping and running. The white tail's fur is thick coarse. The male deer or bucks have strong antler which vary in size due to the age of the deer.
Living Relatives
The white-tailed deer or
Odocoileus virginianus
is one of the three species of deer in North America. The other two species include the mule deer (
Odocoileus hemionus
) and the black-tailed deer (
Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
). These two living relatives of the white-tailed deer have close to the same appearance as the white tail. Both deer are slightly smaller in size, have darker colored fur, and differently shaped antlers than the white-tailed deer. Both the mule and the black-tailed deer have black tipped tails.
Ancestors
The white-tailed deer is one of the oldest living species of land mammals in North America. This species is around 3.5 million years old. Due to the age of this species, ancestors can be difficult to determine. It has been found that the white-tailed deer is closely related to Odocoileus brachyodontus aside from some minor differences. It can also be connected to some ancient species of elk with the help of DNA.
Evolutionary Advantages
The white-tailed deer is one of the most adaptable mammals in North America. The main reason that this species has survived as long as it has is due to its fitness. When the Ice Age occurred many organisms could not stand the rapidly changing environments, but the white tails thrived. The white-tailed deer developed many adaptations to help it survive which include: stronger leg muscles, larger antlers, warning displays, and color changing fur.
Environment
The white-tailed deer are generally found in midwestern North America. These deer can live in virtually and conditions but prefer mountainous areas with deciduous forests. They also prefer to have access to open fields that are surrounded by trees or tall grass as they would be able to scout out the fields for predators before they enter to feed.
Evolution of the White-Tailed Deer
Human Interactions
Humans have a history of hunting white-tailed deer
American Indians hunted them for their resources and for sport
Hunting white-tailed deer is a tradition for many people
Other people hunt deer for their antlers or meat
256,697 white tails were killed last year
Protecting the White-Tailed Deer
In the 1930's there was controversy over the commercial hunting of the white tails
Due to a significant decline in the population certain organizations stepped in to regulate the harvest of these mammals.
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