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Bringing homologies into focus


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There's more to homologies and analogies than the iconic examples (e.g., the tetrapod limb) found in every high school textbook. This article goes beyond the basics to explore the many evolutionary scenarios that result in homoplasies and the many levels at which homologies might occur.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Evolution: Education and Outreach

Grade level:

30 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article is written for teachers and comes with links to additional examples, supplementary information, and classroom tips.

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

  • Features sometimes acquire new functions through natural selection.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution. (LS4.A)

  • Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • Developmental similarities of living things often reflect their relatedness. (LS4.A)

  • Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution.

Teacher background:

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