Using phenotypic characters to construct evolutionary trees.
Phylogentic trees provide a powerful image/metaphor to explain some important evolutionary concepts. In this practical students choose phenotypic characters and score a range of organisms for their presence or absence.
These are fed into a freely available computer programme that draws a tree revealing the similarities and differences between the organisms. The exercise encourages the students to think critically about the characters used and introduces the concepts of homology and analogy. The practical can be delivered in a variety of ways, from the class room through to zoo visits.
You will need three files, the Pars.exe, the drawgram.exe and a font file in the same. folder.