found fossil remains of other members, such as Australopithecus afarensis ("Lucy") and Homo sapiens neandertalensis.

Next discuss how the students can use the data to determine the relationships between humans, apes, and other animals. It might not be obvious that closely related organisms share more similarities than do distantly related organisms. Guide the students to the idea that structures might be similar because they carry out the same functions or because they were inherited from a common ancestor. Only those similarities that arise from a common ancestor can be used to determine evolutionary relationships.

Use the transparency of the Morphological Tree, Figure 1, for this discussion. Diagrams called branching trees illustrate relationships among organisms. One type of branching tree, called a morphological tree, is based on comparisons of skulls, jaws, skeletons, and other structures. Look carefully at the morphological tree.

Explain Ask the students to find the part of the morphological tree that shows the relationships between gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. They will notice that there are no lines showing relationships. They should work with partners and develop three hypotheses to explain how these organisms are related. On a sheet of notebook paper, they should make a diagram of their hypotheses by drawing lines from Point A to each of the three organisms (G = gorilla, C = chimpanzee, H = human, A = common ancestor).

Allow the students to develop their own hypotheses. Give them help only if you see they are not making any progress. Three hypotheses the students might propose are shown below (although not necessarily in the same order).

Possible evolutionary relationships:

Instructional Strategy: Part II

Elaborate Modern research techniques allow biologists to compare the DNA that codes for certain proteins and to make predictions about the relatedness of the organisms from which they took the DNA. Students will use models of these techniques to test their hypotheses and determine which one is best supported by the data they develop.

Procedure Step 1. Working in groups of four, "synthesize" strands of DNA according to the following specifications. Each different color of paper clip represents one of the four bases of DNA:

black = adenine (A)

green = guanine (G)

white = thymine (T)

red = cytosine (C)

Students should synthesize DNA strands by connecting paper clips in the proper sequence according to specifications listed for each group member. When they have completed the synthesis, attach a label to Position 1 and lay your strands on the table with Position 1 on the left.

Each student will synthesize one strand of DNA. Thirty-five paper clips of each color should provide an ample assortment. To save time, make sure all strands are synthesized simultaneously. Emphasize to the students that they are using models to test the hypotheses they developed in the first part of the investigation. Following are directions for the respective groups:

  • Group member 1

Synthesize a strand of DNA that has the following sequence:

Label this strand "human DNA." This strand represents a small section of the gene that codes for human hemoglobin protein.

  • Group member 2

Synthesize a strand of DNA that has the following sequence:

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