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ERIC Number: EJ796379
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Phylogenics & Tree-Thinking
Baum, David A.; Offner, Susan
American Biology Teacher, v70 n4 p222-229 Apr 2008
Phylogenetic trees, which are depictions of the inferred evolutionary relationships among a set of species, now permeate almost all branches of biology and are appearing in increasing numbers in biology textbooks. While few state standards explicitly require knowledge of phylogenetics, most require some knowledge of evolutionary biology, and many scientists and educators would hold that it is impossible to really understand evolution without an ability to accurately interpret phylogenetic trees. Research suggests that students hold significant misconceptions about trees and that these views may be deeply held and persistent. Therefore, the challenge faced by teachers, most of whom have had little exposure to phylogenetics, is significant. In this article, the authors provide a brief overview of some important principles of tree-thinking and a list of specific skills in which high school and college students should become proficient. They also discuss strategies for bringing trees into the broader biology curriculum. (Contains 1 table and 10 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: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A