NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ784086
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
The Great Clade Race: Presenting Cladistic Thinking to Biology Majors & General Science Students
Goldsmith, David W.
American Biology Teacher, v65 n9 p679-682 Nov-Dec 2003
Cladistics is one of the most commonly used methods for reconstructing evolutionary ancestries. Developed by Willi Hennig in 1966, cladistics use patterns of shared derived characters called synapomorphies to infer the order of lineage divergences within a group of organisms. Unfortunately, while this methodology forms the foundation of many biological investigations, its principles, goals, and methods are often perceived by students as absolute gibberish. For many students, an introductory lecture on cladistics comes across as an onslaught of strange new terms and opaque jargon. In this article, the author shares a simple puzzle that would allow students to use cladistic thinking without first bogging them down with terminology. The "Great Clade Race" will help students acquire a better comprehension of what cladistics does and why cladistics is used. (Contains 3 figures.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive #110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A