Students construct an evolutionary tree of imaginary animals (Caminalcules) to illustrate how modern classification schemes attempt to reflect evolutionary history.
Two class periods
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. (LS4.A, LS4.D)
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- During the course of evolution, only a small percentage of species have survived until today.
- An organism’s features reflect its evolutionary history.
- The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.
- The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.
- The fossil record documents patterns of extinction and the appearance of new forms.
- Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)
- Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.
- Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence.