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ERIC Number: EJ1118038
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
How to Identify and Interpret Evolutionary Tree Diagrams
Kong, Yi; Anderson, Trevor; Pelaez, Nancy
Journal of Biological Education, v50 n4 p395-406 2016
Evolutionary trees are key tools for modern biology and are commonly portrayed in textbooks to promote learning about biological evolution. However, many people have difficulty in understanding what evolutionary trees are meant to portray. In fact, some ideas that current professional biologists depict with evolutionary trees are neither clearly defined nor conveyed to students. To help biology teachers and students learn how to more deeply interpret, understand and gain knowledge from diagrams that represent ancestor-descendant relationships and evolutionary lineages, we describe the different rooted and unrooted evolutionary tree visualisations and explain how they are best read. Examples from a study of tree-shaped diagrams in the journal "Science" are used to illustrate how to distinguish evolutionary trees from other tree-shaped representations that are easily misunderstood as visualising evolutionary relationships. We end by making recommendations for how our findings may be implemented in teaching practice in this important area of biology education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A