Students "take a trip" to the Greater Antilles to figure out how the Anolis lizards on the islands might have evolved.
Two class periods.
Before beginning this lesson, students should understand that phylogenetic trees (cladograms) are hypotheses of how a set of organisms are related.
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)
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.
- Speciation requires reproductive isolation.
- Occupying new environments can provide new selection pressures and new opportunities, leading to speciation. (LS4.C)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)
- Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)
- Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.
- Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.
- Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)