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Determining the Variation in Gestation Periods and Adult Weight Among Twenty Different Organisms in the Phylum Chordata

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Carly Jensen

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Faculty Advisor: Dr. Deby L. Cassill

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An animal’s gestation period is the time between conception and birth. This period varies significantly between animals and is determined by many factors; such as predation, environmental influences, maturation of the young, and structural components of the animal. Prior to this study, there was little research done to determine whether or not the animal’s body weight is the determining factor in how long an animal is pregnant. This may explain why an elephant’s gestation period is much longer than that of a mouse. It was hypothesized that as an animal’s body weight increases, the gestation period of the animal is also increased. The average adult weights and gestation periods of twenty species in the phylum Chordata were analyzed, in which a statistical t-test was performed in order to support or reject the null hypothesis. In relation to the hypothesis, the p-value was calculated to be 0.002, which is sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. In conclusion, the gestation period of animals in the phylum Chordata (and most likely other species), is dependent on the size of the adult. Future research should be conducted to determine if this is common to other species outside of the phylum Chordata.

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Determining the Variation in Gestation Periods and Adult Weight Among Twenty Different Organisms in the Phylum Chordata

An animal’s gestation period is the time between conception and birth. This period varies significantly between animals and is determined by many factors; such as predation, environmental influences, maturation of the young, and structural components of the animal. Prior to this study, there was little research done to determine whether or not the animal’s body weight is the determining factor in how long an animal is pregnant. This may explain why an elephant’s gestation period is much longer than that of a mouse. It was hypothesized that as an animal’s body weight increases, the gestation period of the animal is also increased. The average adult weights and gestation periods of twenty species in the phylum Chordata were analyzed, in which a statistical t-test was performed in order to support or reject the null hypothesis. In relation to the hypothesis, the p-value was calculated to be 0.002, which is sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. In conclusion, the gestation period of animals in the phylum Chordata (and most likely other species), is dependent on the size of the adult. Future research should be conducted to determine if this is common to other species outside of the phylum Chordata.

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