Translator Disclaimer
1 May 2016 Rethinking Tree-Thinking: Cladograms, Ancestors & Evidence
Andrew V. Z. Brower
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

I offer comments on two recent articles in The American Biology Teacher by Davenport and colleagues addressing the interpretation and construction of phylogenetic trees. The “tree-thinking” literature suggests that students need to acquire a clear understanding of the meaning of phylogenetic tree diagrams. To this end, I provide clarifications of terminology and address the problematical status of “ancestors.” Cladograms are not genealogies viewed from a distance, but empirical hypotheses of relationship based on the distribution of shared derived character states. I describe an exercise employed in an introductory systematics course that emphasizes the empirical activities of character delimitation and formation of groups based on those characters.

© 2016 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints
Andrew V. Z. Brower "Rethinking Tree-Thinking: Cladograms, Ancestors & Evidence," The American Biology Teacher 78(5), 380-384, (1 May 2016). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2016.78.5.380
Published: 1 May 2016
JOURNAL ARTICLE
5 PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top