In this web-based module students are introduced to cladistics, which organizes living things by common ancestry and evolutionary relationships.
UC Museum of Paleontology
Two to four class periods.
This module was developed for high school students, but has been used successfully with middle school students as well.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- 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.
- The patterns of life's diversity through time provide evidence of evolution. (LS4.A)
- Fossils provide evidence of past life. (LS4.A)
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms. (LS4.A)
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Scientists use anatomical features to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)
- Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.