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Tree thinking basics


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Tree thinking, or phylogenetics, is an important way of understanding evolutionary relationships. Reading trees correctly can pose some challenges. This video introduces the basics of three reading and addresses common problems in tree reading.
This resource is available from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Grade level:

6 minutes

Teaching tips:
Use this video as a quick introduction in class or a review for students who might need a brush up on tree-thinking. In class, make sure that you leave time for discussion and questions afterwards.

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

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.

Teacher background:

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