Activity for Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree
This activity explores the concepts and research on the anole lizards discussed in the short film The Origin of Species: Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree, including adaptation by natural selection, convergent evolution, and the formation of new species.
This film describes how the more than 700 islands of the Caribbean are home to about 150 species of anoles, a closely related group of lizards (genus Anolis) that occupy diverse habitats and niches. Research on these lizards is enriching our understanding of evolutionary processes and illuminating how and why there are so many different kinds of living organisms on Earth.
The “Student Handout” probes students’ understanding of the key concepts addressed in the film. The “Educator Materials” document provides suggested pause points in the film with questions for students, background information, and detailed discussion points; a list of related resources and references; and an answer key for the “Student Handout.”
Student Learning Targets
- Describe and interpret phylogenetic trees.
- Analyze, compare, and interpret data sets to formulate and support hypotheses about evolutionary mechanisms and processes.
- Describe and contrast macroevolution and microevolution.
adaptation, convergent evolution, ecological niche, ecosystem, macroevolution, microevolution, reproductive isolation, speciation, trait
Losos, Jonathan. Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-1, HS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-3, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4; SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1.C, EVO-1.D, EVO-1.E, EVO-1.G, EVO-1.M, EVO-1.N, EVO-1.O, EVO-3.A, EVO-3.B, EVO-3.C, EVO-3.D, EVO-3.E, EVO-3.F; SP1, SP3, SP4, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
5.1, 5.4, C.1
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 2.3, 2.6
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.E, ERT-2.H, SP2, SP4, SP5
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1, CC5; DP1