Evolution: Founding theories and principles

Follow the million-year evolutionary journey of a canid colony as you create random mutations in their DNA and critique biological evidence to build a taxonomic tree that unites all life on Earth.

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  • Description
  • Features

Have you ever wondered how the tiny, friendly Chihuahua is related to the wild and ferocious ancestor canids of prehistory? In this simulation, we’ll explore the evidence that built the Theory of Evolution and the incremental genetic steps taken as one species branches from another.

Building the Tree of Life

Build your own taxonomic tree by comparing the biological differences that discriminate between the major kingdoms of life. To complete your tree, you’ll examine the fossil evidence for evolutionary divergence and assign the defining features to each kingdom.

Examining troublesome species

Once your tree is strong and clear, you’ll experiment with placing troublesome organisms into different kingdoms. Sometime morphology alone can’t discriminate between species, so you’ll need to turn to the phylogenetic evidence to help determine the lineage of a species.

Travel through time with a colony of canids

Evolution takes place over millions of years so experimenting with genetic information is practically impossible! In the virtual lab, you can time jump your way through thousands of years to observe the impact of random mutations you make in an organism’s DNA. Using Hardy-Weinberg theory, you will predict the genetic profile of your colony. How will your creatures look and behave over a million years?

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Follow the million-year evolutionary journey of a canid colony as you create random mutations in their DNA and critique biological evidence to build a taxonomic tree that unites all life on Earth.

Techniques in lab
Taxonomy, Phylogeny
Learning objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to...

  • 1.) Investigate the process of evolution
  • Critically determine how evolutionary processes have contributed to contemporary life
  • Describe how the theory of evolution was derived
  • Explain the concepts of natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation
  • Apply the Hardy-Weinberg principle to demonstrate genetic variance in evolution
  • 2.) Describe and compare the structural and functional organization of the major kingdoms of Life
  • Explain the evolutionary relationships linking and separating the five kingdoms
  • Predict the physiological and anatomical features of organisms within a kingdom and group
  • Explain why viruses are not part of any kingdom
Simulation features

Length: 35
Accessibility mode: Available
Languages: English (United States)

NGSS

HS-LS4-1, HS-LS4-4, Partially HS-LS3-3, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS3-1

IB

5.3 Classification of biodiversity

5.2 Natural selection

1.5 The origin of cells

5.1 Evidence for evolution

AP

Biology Big Idea 1: Evolution