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Lesson summary for:
Similarities and differences: Understanding homology and analogy


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This interactive investigation explains what homologies and analogies are, how to recognize them, and how they evolve.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

30 minutes

Teaching tips:
This tutorial provides many interactive features and does an excellent job of explaining homologies and analogies. You may want to have your class explore the resources Examples of Analogy and Examples of Homology available in the resource database at the main Understanding Evolution Website, evolution.berkeley.edu. There is also a version of this tutorial that is appropriate for grades 9-12.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time.

  • Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today.

  • There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • Traits that are advantageous often persist in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Evolutionary relationships may be represented by branching trees (i.e. phylogenies or cladograms).

Teacher background:

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