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Making Cladograms: Phylogeny, Evolution, and Comparative Anatomy
This lesson introduces students to the building of cladograms as evolutionary trees showing how "shared derived characters" can be used to reveal degrees of relationship. Given some groups of organisms and some of their distinguishing characteristics, the students will construct a cladogram. Given a cladogram, the students will properly interpret and analyze that cladogram in terms of recognizing the concepts of common ancestry and degrees of evolutionary relationship; and given a cladogram of vertebrates and some new unclassified vertebrates, the students will show where the new animals would be placed.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
  • Biology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1999 ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes). This material may be copied only for noncommercial classroom teaching purposes, and only if this source is clearly cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-797
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
        • Form and function
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes

Author: Beth Kramer

Contributor: Larry Flammer
Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes