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3 April 2019 Green Brains & Ground Sloths: A Paleoecology-Based Exercise in Hypothesis Formation
Marcel Robischon
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Abstract

In organismic biology, the formation of ecological and evolutionary hypotheses on the basis of observable morphologies is a central element of research, and by extension of teaching and learning. Often it is necessary to take account of complex combinations of factors, some of which may be far from obvious. In the work described here, hypothesis formation and testing was exercised and studied in a learner-centered and object-based manner using an anachronistic, seemingly “nonsensical” plant, Maclura pomifera (Moraceae), in which the link between structure and function only becomes clear when considering past faunistic environments. The element of the unexpected and the allure of the large animals is thought to add to epistemic curiosity and student motivation to engage in the study of plants.

2019 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.
Marcel Robischon "Green Brains & Ground Sloths: A Paleoecology-Based Exercise in Hypothesis Formation," The American Biology Teacher 81(4), 229-233, (3 April 2019). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2019.81.4.229
Published: 3 April 2019
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KEYWORDS
ecological anachronisms
hypothesis formation
Maclura pomifera
megaherbivores
Object-based learning
Osage-orange
Paleoecology
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