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MACROEVOLUTION LESSONS

Collection of Lessons and Resources
That Most Effectively Point to Macroevolution

Mostly found on the ENSI site.

 CLICK HERE for a quick but impressive and effective
Interactive Demonstration of How Speciation Can Occur

SPECIATION / MACROEVOLUTION EVIDENCE

The evidence for "microevolution" (adaptive changes within species) is supported by an abundance of easily observed examples. However, "macroevolution" (including speciation and the formation of all major groups of organisms by that same process repeated over millions of years), is not as obvious to many people. Nevertheless, there are several different lines of evidence that do indeed point to this very convincingly. Take the time to explore the online links mentioned to further extend your understanding, and, more importantly, have your students experience these, too.

Macroevolution & Classification Diagram: Diagram that illustrates macroevolution, and relates it to classification. Includes instructions for its use in class.

CHROMOSOME COMPARISONS: First, there are the very striking similarities between all of our chromosomes and those of the apes. Take a look at this at http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/chro.all.html. For an even sharper version (if you have wideband internet access, e.g. DSL), be sure to scroll to the bottom of that page and download the high resolution PDF file mentioned there. The result is quite suitable for printing copies for your students to study. You might even want to use one of the ENSI interactive lessons that give students a chance to study these more closely, including clear examples of inversions, etc.: The Chromosome Connection, at http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/chr.con2.html, and Comparison of Human and Chimpanzee Chromosomes, at http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/chromcom.html.

Most people assume that chromosome numbers are a constant for each species and that this supposedly prevents functional fertility between species. It turns out that this is not quite true. A particularly revealing article can be found at http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoEvidence.html. It's only about two pages, but be sure to read it all, especially the few paragraphs beyond the chromosome diagrams, regarding chromosome variations within a species, and fertility between species. There are a number of examples where different species, with different chromosome numbers, have produced fertile offspring.

Even more impressive (in that same article, and also discussed on another site: http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/articles/chimp_chromosome.html) is the clear evidence that our chromosome #2 is a result of the end-to-end fusion of two shorter chromosomes (found today in apes: chimps, gorillas, and orangutans), probably very early in our hominin line, after chimps branched off on their own line from our common ancestor. The banding patterns of those chromosomes provide a strong indication of this, and subsequent DNA sequencing further confirms it. This is very compelling, something very hard to explain either by special creation or intelligent design, but easy to explain as an event in evolution.

Our Chromosome Fusion lesson can be used in biology classes for students to find those same DNA sequences using the same internet tools and databases that scientists use. http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/c.fus.les.html An even more recent lesson runs like a mystery story, with PowerPoint presentation and interactive activity: Mystery of the Matching Marks . For a useful reference for questions dealing with the integration of chromosomal changes into a new species, see Chromosomal Speciation Models for Craig E. Nelson discussion with ENSI-using teachers (how chromosomal changes are coninued).

MOLECULAR EVIDENCE: Discover the patterns of molecular evidence that make sense only if macroevolution has occurred. One of several lessons on this site is our Molecular Sequences & Primate Evolution, a comparison of beta hemoglobin in primates). The Pseudogene Suite of 3 lessons shows why the many old inactive genes in our genome only makes sense if we have shared common ancestry with other creatures - i.e., we have evolved..

FOSSIL EVIDENCE: Don't overlook the abundant fossil evidence, much of it pointing clearly to macroevolution. A most revealing resource showing this is "Transitional Fossils", summarized from a much larger article on the Talk Origins site (see link to the original article in that summary), by Kathleen Hunt: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/c.bkgrnd.html .Excellent collection of articles on transitional fossils in the Evolution Education & Outreach online journal - click here for reviews and links. http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/EvoEd.v2n2.html

Check out this article on the TalkOrigins site is "29+ Evidences for Macroevolution at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc. Finally, be sure to check out the long list of actual Observed Examples of Speciation, at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html.

Additional ENSI lessons with examples and mechanisms of macroevolution include the following:
Becoming Whales: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/theor.ch.html
Whale Ankles and DNA: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/wh.a%26d.les.html
Hominid Cranium Comparisons: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/hom.cran.html
Natural Selection - A Cumulative Process: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/ns.cum.l.html
Case of the Threespine Stickleback - Model of Macroevolution (Introduces EvoDevo evidence)
Ring Species Activity (Quickie Interactive for students to "experience" speciation)

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