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This lesson teaches students about evolutionary (phylogenetic) trees and how to read and use them. Students are first introduced to the concept using a three generation family tree. (It’s actually a portion of my family tree, but identifying indicators have been removed.) They have to answer questions based on the family tree. One such question is, “Is Jay (Grace’s cousin) the ancestor of Grace?”
Once students are comfortable with the family tree, the powerpoint moves on to the evolutionary tree. Be sure to explain that evolutionary trees ARE family trees, only extended for millions (or billions) of years instead of just a few generations. A lot of emphasis is placed on the principal “extant taxa aren’t ancestral.” (Only I don’t use those words!)
Finally, students answer questions on their own using two more evolutionary trees.
Zip file contains: 1.Powerpoint 2.PDF, to guarantee formatting and for easy printing, 3.Word document, to make it easier to edit.
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