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This activity uses a simple puzzle to get students to use cladistic thinking without bogging them down with terminology.
American Biology Teacher
This is a great introductory activity for a unit on phylogenetic.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.
- Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.
- Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution.
- Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.
- The principle of parsimony suggests that the phylogenetic hypothesis most likely to be true is the one requiring the fewest evolutionary changes.