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ERIC Number: EJ899786
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Interpreting Evolutionary Diagrams: When Topology and Process Conflict
Catley, Kefyn M.; Novick, Laura R.; Shade, Courtney K.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v47 n7 p861-882 Sep 2010
The authors argue that some diagrams in biology textbooks and the popular press presented as depicting evolutionary relationships suggest an inappropriate (anagenic) conception of evolutionary history. The goal of this research was to provide baseline data that begin to document how college students conceptualize the evolutionary relationships depicted in such noncladogenic diagrams and how they think about the underlying evolutionary processes. Study 1 investigated how students (n = 50) interpreted the evolutionary relationships depicted in four such evolutionary diagrams. In Study 2, new students (n = 62) were asked to interpret what the students in Study 1 meant when they used the terms "evolved into/from" and "ancestor/descendant of". The results show the interpretations fell broadly into two categories: (a) evolution as an anagenic rather than cladogenic process, and (b) evolution as a teleological (purpose-driven) process. These results imply that noncladogenic diagrams are inappropriate for use in evolution education because they lead to the misinterpretation of many evolutionary processes. (Contains 1 table, 7 figures and 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A